George Mason’s Paul Hewitt quick to make ‘32-4’ message point

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There’s Copes, who is as physically imposing as nearly anyone in the CAA and should be one of the league’s supreme shot-swatters. Williams reshaped his body during his redshirt year and possesses the footwork to be a factor inside and the jump shot to be a nightmare on the perimeter. Arledge showed promise in several areas last year.

Maybe there won’t be a star quite like Pearson. Yet his departure could be mitigated if there is steady production from several frontcourt pieces.

“I feel as though we have a deep bench,” Williams said. “We have players that can shoot, we have players that can post up and we have players that just play hard. I think as a post player and as a team, we all have to find that monster inside of us so we can play a lot harder.”

Mason would like this season to unfold in a vastly different fashion than its unexpected final act. If it doesn’t, it won’t be as if they didn’t receive enough reminders.

“We’ll see if they got the message,” Hewitt said. “There’s going to be a game this year where we’re going to find out. Someone’s going to come and throw a big punch at us. Let’s see what we do. Are we going to stay down until they get to 32-4 again?”

It’ll take smarter play and more capable ball-handling, especially in the crucible of the conference tournament. Yet before then, the entire roster (including the new-look frontcourt) will be tested.

One thing is clear: It’s a group eager to atone for its sour exit.

“I was on the bench dying inside, but you learn from your mistakes,” Copes said. “I think we did.”

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