Bradley vs. Southern Illinois Game Recap: Braves Need Mason Alwan as Mascot

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Bradley recently voted to try out having a mascot again. But maybe the voters weren't given the right choice in the poll. Maybe they needed something with a little more inspiration as they had Friday night.

Bradley is going to get a new mascot coming up in a couple of weeks. The Gargoyle.

Oh they will still be the Bradley Braves, but they will have a big grey gargoyle patrolling the sidelines. A stoic, stone creature. That is what will attempt to fire up the fans at Carver Arena.

Sounds perfect right?

Only it doesn't sound perfect. It doesn't sound like it will do the trick at all.

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Instead, they should make a giant, oversized version of Mason Alwan. I know that sounds totally ridiculous. But let's think about this.

First off, Alwan has awesome sideburns. In other words, he has that kind of facial feature that will stand out on a mascot. It is the kind of thing that makes those giant heads walking around on the sidelines loveable. So that is out of the way.

The second reason is that you have a player in Alwan that already excites fans, just as he did Friday night in Bradley's 66-60 win over Southern Illinois.

He wasn't the top scorer for the Braves; that was Walt Lemon Jr.

But Alwan put his body on the line time after time in the game. He hustled more than almost any player on the floor. And that hustle has a tremendous impact on the game. Imagine that: a player scored 12 points, just scored four times, and yet his willingness to go all out made all the difference.

Alwan didn't even need to score in order to get the crowd fired up. With the Braves up just two points late in the game, Bradley missed a series of shots close to the hoop, the last of which was taken by Alwan.

It was the way Alwan took the shot though. He came flying in from above the arc, and grabbed a rebound that he had no right to get. There were plenty of bigger bodies around the hoop, yet here was the guy going all out to grab the ball. And then here was that same guy, in the same motion, tossing the ball up.

The crowd's voice rose in unison. They wanted to will the shot to go in. Because this was Alwan. He had conditioned the crowd over the course of the game. They wanted him to do something amazing, because he already had.

He ran into the defense and while getting hammered, knocked down a shot that shouldn't have gone in. He made 3-point shots that kept pushing Bradley just out of the reach of Southern Illinois. When the Salukis would come back, Alwan was the one who made sure it wasn't a true comeback.

So when that shot went up, as crazy as it was, the crowd rose and cheered, and were ultimately left wanting. But man, for that minute, they were ready to go over the top.

Now just imagine what an outsized Mason Alwan could do if he moved among the crowd all game. The outsized sideburns, the overenergetic action. This could have the ability to excite the crowd and propel the Braves to more than just wins over teams at the bottom of the standings along with them. They could help them win against the Wichita States of the world.

Keep in mind that Alwan was ready to do this again. When Austin Barnes made a 3-point shot with a little over a minute left to seal the win for Bradley, Alwan was ready to go all out again. Barnes had the open shot at the elbow of the arc, and in the replay, as the shot is going up, what do you see?

Alwan. Rushing in. Flying in. Ready to strike to do what he does best: excite that crowd.

Now isn't that better than a gargoyle?

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