Mason Madness to kick off basketball season

Mason cheerleader Anthony Loria cheers on the crowd at last year's Mason Madness. (Peter Flint) 

Alley-oops, behind the back passes, long-range three-pointers and high-flying dunks.

The annual Mason Madness will hit the hardwood this Friday, Oct. 15, officially kicking off the basketball season for both the men and the women Patriots. The Patriot Center will host the event for the 14th time.
“I can't wait for Mason Madness,” sophomore wing player Luke Hancock said. “It’s always a lot of fun. It’s a chance for people to come out and get excited about the season.” 
The doors open at 9 p.m., and the players will make their entrance at 9:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
Coaches Jim Larranaga and Jeri Porter will address the audience briefly prior to the action on the court.
“It gives some guys and girls a chance to show off what they have been working on, and it gets us excited to start practicing,” Hancock said.
Performers include street bucket drummer Peter Rabbit, the Mason dance group UrbanKnowology and the Masonettes. Doc Nix and the Green Machine will be rocking the Patriot Center as well throughout the evening.
“It’s fun because we just throw alley-oops and kind of let people score,” sophomore forward Johnny Williams said.
Unlike the past two seasons, Larranaga has a roster full of veteran players. Seniors Cam Long and Isaiah Tate, along with juniors Andre Cornelius, Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson, will provide leadership for the team.
Last year, the team had seven freshman and three sophomores on the depth chart. That lack of experience showed down the stretch in a tough CAA schedule.
“The team isn’t as young as last year, but we still have young players,” Williams said. “We are more mature as a team and have experience.”
With two new arrivals, guard Bryon Allen and forward Jonathan Arledge, to go along with an already strong sophomore class, excitement is once again on the rise for Mason basketball.
They open the season with a home exhibition game against Bowie State on Nov. 3. The first regular season game is home against Harvard on Nov. 13. 

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