Mason Madness rocks the Patriot Center

Video: C2M's Steph Longueira recaps the night full of musicians, performers and scrimmaging that has become a Mason tradition at the start of the basketball season.

The men and women Patriots put on a show at the annual Mason Madness event Friday night at the Patriot Center, officially jumpstarting this years’ basketball season.

“Mason Madness has a great impact here,” senior guard Cam Long said. “You can tell because a lot of students show up.”

The lights dimmed in the area as the player introductions began. One-by-one, the men and women made their way onto the hardwood, each doing their own dance.

“When we go out there and get introduced, we just get a great feeling of the environment,” Long said. “We can feel the love between the crowd and us.”

The microphone was then passed to juniors Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson. They kicked off the evening sporting dress shirts tucked into their green gym shorts. They are both high-intensity guys in the paint, and they tried to pass that intensity on to the Mason Nation.

“I love the energy the crowd brings,” Morrison said. “I just try to perform for them and give them the best show possible.”

First to perform was Mason’s dance crew UrbanKnowledgy 101, clothed in all black and neon green attire.

Peter Rabbit, a street bucket drummer from New York City, followed the dancers. His up-tempo style generated lots of enthusiasm from the crowd.

Doc Nix and the Green Machine, the Masonettes, and the cheerleaders performed throughout the evening as well.

The madness continued as the players split into teams for the scrimmage.

Instead of actually running plays, the game turned into a dunk fest for the men and a shooting contest for the women. Both the men and the women were running the ball up and down the court with little defense involved.

“We’re pretty talented, so are our girls,” Long said. “So this is a thing we can all look forward to.”

Finally, there was the dunk contest. The men were split into teams based on class year.

For the third straight year, juniors Morrison, Pearson and guard Andre Cornelius defended their title. Sophomore wing player Luke Hancock was on the team as well.

They wore JabbaWockeeZ masks and even had Doc Nix throw an alley-oop, confirming their dunking dynasty.

“My favorite part of Mason Madness is the dunk contest for sure,” Hancock said.

Despite the laid back nature of the event, Head Coach Jim Larranaga sees something in this years’ squad that he didn’t see last season.

Not only did the men’s squad get one year older, they have developed a bond beyond anything they felt last year. Over the summer, they had a 10-day trip to Italy where they had a chance to spend a lot of time together on and off the court.
“I thought last year we had a very young team, we experienced some growing pains,” Larranaga said. “I’m very excited about the progress I think we’ll make this year.”

The home opener is Nov. 13 against Harvard, a team that went 21-8 last season.


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