For the second consecutive season, George Mason junior forward Erik Copes will begin playing later than the rest of his teammates. On Friday the school announced that the 6-foot-8 Copes has been suspended for the Patriots’ first six games of the season due to a violation of athletic department policy.
Copes posted averages of 5.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in 2012-13, a season that began with a three-game suspension due to “student-athlete conduct violations.” Copes is the leading returning rebounder for a team that returns all five starters from last season, when the Patriots won 22 games and reached the finals of the CBI.
Copes started all 34 games in which he played last season, playing an average of 25 minutes per contest. In a loss to Towson on February 26 Copes accounted for 13 points and 15 rebounds, and about a month later he scored a season-high 14 points in George Mason’s win over the College of Charleston in the first round of the CBI.
Copes will miss games against American, Lamar, Northern Iowa, Saint Francis (PA), Iona and Princeton before making his season debut in a non-conference game against fellow Atlantic 10 member Rhode Island on November 30. That game was scheduled prior to the Patriots making their move from the CAA to the A-10, hence the “non-conference” designation.
Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.
The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.
Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.
With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.
“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”
Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.
While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.