Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
The Patriots have suspended two sophomore forwards, Erik Copes and Vaughn Gray, for student-athlete conduct violations. The duo will miss the first three games on the season, including the opening game of the Paradise Jam against Mercer.
After a strong freshman year, especially on the defensive side of the ball, Copes was expected to be the man in the middle for the Patriots this season. He turned in a 14.2 DEF100 score last year coming off the bench thanks to an uncanny knack for blocking shots.
Gray was less of a factor for Mason last year. In a little over 11 minutes per game off the bench, he averaged 3.4 points, but was of little impact on the defensive end.
The loss of the two forwards leaves the Patriots somewhat thin inside for the opening contests against some bigger squads. George Mason opens against Virginia, followed by a game against Bucknell and Mike Muscala. The third game of the suspension is against Mercer in the opening round of the Paradise Jam.
Given that the Patriots barely defeated Division II Bowie State with Copes and Gray on the floor, you have to think they are looking at three losses to begin the year without them.