Now is the time for fine A-10 wine

Posted In News - By Chris Jollay On Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 With 1 Comment


There is a lot of palpable excitement around Mason hoops right now, and it has reached a fever pitch. It’s finally time to play some basketball.

It’s about time. This has seemed the longest offseason in basketball history, although I’m fairly sure we played in some basketball tournament last year into April. In the meantime we’ve ditched the CAA and joined the A-10, landed a nice transfer from Georgia Tech plus three other guys for 2014-2015, and even already gotten a guy suspended even though we haven’t stayed at a hotel yet. Plus, if you’re a season ticket holder, you’ve gotten a pretty sweet ticket book in the mail with some sharp-looking tickets. Did you catch those ads in there? That there is Mason upping its game for the A-10, and collecting a few extra spending dollars for the program. Nice.

Lanyard

$144.78 for this?

Things are getting exciting. As usual, unscrupulous capitalist merchants are taking advantage of this excitement by jacking prices around the DMV for all things Mason. I get a $50 “arts & crafts” budget from my wife every month, so last week as usual I headed over to Michaels to buy glitter and wood and stickers, this month to make a birdhouse. I thought I might even purchase some Mason stuff as well, thinking perhaps I could make a pretty Mason college collage if I had some leftover money. But I soon found that Michaels had already priced me out of the college collage market.

Mason items

This masterpiece can be yours, for just $325!

Now, $144.78 to me seems a little excessive for the Mason shirt with a lanyard (right) in a cheap frame. It only got worse from there, though. $278.70 for the Mason baseball shirt (bottom left) and frame? Over $325 for the Mason flag and foam finger in the frame? Come on!I tried reasoning with the employee at the counter. I said it would take seven months on my arts & crafts budget to buy the flag and foam finger; could they please just sell me the items out of the frame for an affordable price? “One hundred and twenty dollars,” said a man. I laughed and walked away.

While these prices are outrageous, this is to be expected as we join the seventh or eighth or ninth-best basketball conference in America. We’ve been drinking Boone’s Farm in the dorms for quite some time with Tom Yeager and the CAA–it’s kind of exciting to be able to crack open a semi-expensive domestic bottle of red wine to eat with our Jay Marsh burgers now.

But with great something comes great somethings or another. That something is a boat-load of pressure on Paul Hewitt. Granted, the expectations placed on him by fans after Larranaga have been nothing short of ridiculous. He’s coached to mixed results so far with a team that was really not his own, with younger guys he didn’t recruit that were lacking a whole lot of experience.

But now things are different. Hewitt really hasn’t had an opportunity to bring in too many guys that fit his system yet, but this is his third year with talented and now experienced guys that he inherited. Plus he does have players he brought in like PH, Marko and Jenkins (probably) that should play central roles for the 2013-2014 Patriots. Erik Copes, who Hewitt brought in with his uncle should as well, unless he gets axed for good for littering and…littering and…whatever he is most recently guilty of this time.

The A-10 is still a good conference despite the losses it suffered this year. The Patriots don’t have to finish even in the top four for it to be a successful season. But to be honest, they can’t finish where they’re predicted to in the conference, either (eighth). The A-10 isn’t that good. I mean, we did beat Richmond (picked seventh) in Richmond last year, and they lose talented leading scorer Darien Brothers plus one other starter. Your George Mason Patriots lost zero starters, and (no offense to them) little that can’t be replaced with Vertrail and Paris. Finishing behind Richmond in eighth would be disappointing, period.

The heat is on in Hewitt’s third year. He came alive somewhere around the Homecoming debacle last year and started to show more fire on the bench while coaching the maddeningly inconsistent Patriots. It was appreciated by at least this fan, and the results showed as George Mason started to put things together late. This year I believe Hewitt needs to make the NIT and at least push the top four in the league standings-wise. That would go a long way toward convincing Mason fans that the classy head of Mason basketball can do more than recruit.

But for now, let’s just get excited for Friday’s opener versus American. Even without Copes we should crush the Eagles, who have a new coach and three new starters from last year, when they weren’t very good at all. (It will be good to see John Schoof from W.T. Woodson play in the Pat Center though, his dad is a respected AAU coach in the area).

I’ll be watching from behind the bench as usual. And at halftime, I’ll be savoring the taste of the better-than-Boone’s A-10 wine back in the hospitality room. All. Season. Long.

(Actually I’ll drink beer)

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About - My name is Chris Jollay. I like George Mason so I went to college there in the 1990's. I majored in History there and built the pond outside the arts center. One time I was on the news for being homeless and another time I got to meet Mikey the Chimp. I like my two dogs, "Patrick" and "Holloway" very much but I don't like most people from VCU very much at all.

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  1. Andrew says:

    Great article! And great “About Chris Jollay” section.

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