George Mason men’s basketball sophomores Erik Copes and Vaughn Gray have been suspended for the Patriots first three regular-season games for student-athlete conduct violations. The suspension includes the home-opener against Virginia on November 9, at Bucknell (Nov. 13) and against Mercer (Nov. 16) in the opening game of the Paradise Jam.
While this team has good depth, this is still a huge blow. Especially when you consider what beating Mercer in the Paradise Jam tournament could do for the team’s resume.
The loss of Copes essentially eliminates the team’s advantage they had in the front court over these opponents, especially on the defensive end. Bucknell has one of the better centers in the country in Mike Muscala, so that game could be interesting now. Gray is an important wing shooter on a team that doesn’t have great three-point shooting in general. Also this team will be trying to form a new identity from last year’s squad and this just threw a monkey wrench into things.
Let’s hope Marko is the real deal.