Video of Mason Madness captures the insanity

Cheerleaders, Masonettes, Doc Nix and of course the Patriots basketball players filled the Patriot Center Friday night for Mason Madness. This video is also posted on the YouTube channel (Jake McLernon).

The annual Mason Madness event once again electrified the Mason Nation Friday night in the Patriot Center. Although it didn’t kick off until 9:30, the loyal fans surrounded the gym hours early, anticipating their first exposure to the 2011-12 men’s and women’s basketball teams.

The festivities included performances by the Masonettes, the cheerleaders, Doc Nix and the Green Machine, UrbanKnowlegy, New York City bucket drummer Peter Rabbit, and dancer Snap Boogie from “America’s Got Talent.” The acts were spread throughout the evening, and several of the groups actually performed together. Even the basketball teams joined the fun and did a little bit of dancing.

Mason Madness may be intended to simply provide entertainment to Patriots fans, but it also symbolizes the start of basketball season. It marks the first official practice of the year, and allows the fans to see the new players for the first time.

Newcomers from the men’s side include guard Corey Edwards, wing player Vaughn Gray, forward Anali Okoloji and center Erik Copes. Copes is the highest rated recruit the Patriots have ever acquired.

“I’ve never played in something like this before, there’s about 7,000 people out there,” Copes said. “I’ve never played in front of that many people.”

Newcomers from the women’s team include Annie Lawler, Rachel McNair and Talisha Watts.

In previous years, the event included a dunk contest and a scrimmage-like game in which the teams played little defense. This year, however, the women’s team participated in a skills challenge and the men played a legitimate green-yellow scrimmage with official referees. Although there were no high-flying dunks during the game, the crowd was able to get a better idea of what to expect this upcoming season under new head coach Paul Hewitt.

Hewitt got the fans on his side right away, making his first appearance in the Patriot Center wearing the same suit, shades and cane as Doc Nix. If the Mason Nation grows to like Hewitt as much as they do Doc Nix, he will be just fine.

“I’m pleasantly surprised with the high level of fan interest, “ Hewitt said. “People around Fairfax and really in Washington, D.C., everywhere I go, people recognize me, much to my surprise.”


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