After the George Mason Patriots struggled during their exhibition victory over Division II Bowie State last week, the team didn’t have a ton of positive energy flowing through the basketball facilities in Fairfax.
Now, the Patriot faithful have to stomach more bad news from head coach Paul Hewitt’s club, but this time in the form of suspensions. Today, the team suspended sophomores Erik Copes and Vaughn Gray for Mason’s first three regular season games for student-athlete conduct violations.
Copes, the 6-8 Philadelphia, PA product, scored 13 points in the team’s exhibition contest. The forward/center is expected to be a big contributor to Hewitt’s club this season. Gray, who saw plenty of floor time in the exhibition as well, is also expected to be a key frontcourt contributor this season after playing in all but one game in 2011-2012.
The suspensions include the team’s home opener against Virginia on November 9, a road game at Bucknell on November 13 and a contest vs. Mercer on November 16, the opening game of the Paradise Jam.
Both Copes and Gray will be eligible to play in the second game of the Paradise Jam, a three-game tournament in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
After already being down last season’s stars, Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson, the loss of two key rotation players will definitely add another setback to the Patriot’s attempt to rebuild team chemistry and climb towards the top of the Colonial Athletic Association standings.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.