George Mason enters Atlantic 10 Conference

By: Katie O’Bear – Staff Writer

Joining the fray for the 2013-2014 basketball season, the University of Dayton and other member schools welcome the newest university to join the Atlantic 10 Conference, George Mason University.

Located just outside Washington, D.C., GMU boasts a variety of schools and colleges including a law school and a school for public policy.

Founded in 1957, GMU is located in Fairfax, Va. and is named after the famous founding father, George Mason. He drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which later became a model for the Bill of Rights.

GMU is a large and diverse school with over 32,961 students enrolled.

Its mission is to be “an innovative and inclusive academic community committed to creating a more just, free, and prosperous world,” according to George Mason University’s website.

The school’s mascot is The Patriot and its university’s colors are green and gold.

Until last year, George Mason originally belonged to the Colonial Athletic Association, which includes James Madison University, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and the College of William and Mary.

GMU last year was 22-16 (10-8 CAA), and finished in fifth place in the conference. It bowed out to top-seeded Northeastern University in the semi finals of the CAA Tournament. The team ended up competing in the postseason, being invited to the College Basketball Invitational Tournament, falling in the best-of-three final to Santa Clara University in three games.

A rivalry between the two universities named after founding fathers in the A-10, George Washington University and George Mason, is already underway for the newly created Tri-Corner Hat Trophy. The trophy will be given to the school that earns the most points, designated by wins against one another, amongst the 16 sports both schools offer.

One of its former CAA rivals was also a founding father university, James Madison, which is located just 95 miles away from GMU.

GMU is predicted to finish eighth in this year’s A-10.

The head coach of GMU is Paul Hewitt. Hewitt is in his third season as head coach, and he has earned the most wins ever by a coach in his first two seasons at George Mason. He previously was a head coach at the Georgia Institute of Technology and has gone to the NCAA Tournament five times.

Predicted by many sports fans, GMU’s hardest games this year will be during the Diamond Head Classic, a three-day invitational tournament held in Honolulu, Ha., Dec. 22 through Dec. 25. The team opens with a game against Iowa State University, and could potentially be playing teams such as Oregon State University and Boise State University.

GMU also will get an early preview of conference play in a previously scheduled game against a fellow A-10 member in the University of Rhode Island Nov. 30. It will be played as a non-conference match up and not count in the conference standings.

For the 2012-2013 basketball season, the team was led by senior guard Sherrod Wright and senior forward Jonathan Arledge, who were both the leaders in scoring for the Patriots. Arledge scored an average of nine points per game and played in every game with 22 starts. Wright scored an average of 16.6 points per game and set a new school record by starting in all 38 games.

Additionally, Wright was one of 21 athletes selected for a preseason award in the A-10, being named second team Preseason All-Conference.

The Patriots welcome freshman guard Marquise Moore and junior transfer forward Julian Royal as its two newest players this season. Royal will redshirt the 2013-14 season though due to NCAA transfer rules.

Additionally, redshirt freshman forward Jalen Jenkins will return, after being redshirted last year.

The A-10 recently lost major competitors in the league including our former rival, Xavier, as well as Butler, Temple and Charlotte.

Dayton will be playing its newest annual competitor at 7 p.m., Feb. 5th at George Mason. It will be the fifth all-time meeting between the two schools, which UD leads 3-1, and the first since a 73-67 Dayton win Dec. 29, 2010 at UD Arena.

George Mason opens its season against American University Fri, Nov. 8 at home.