Let the (Basketball) Madness Begin!

Posted: October 13, 2013 at 8:31 pm

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By Justin Lafreniere

Mason Madness

Mason Madness at the Patriot Center. Photo by Alexis Glenn

Before the George Mason University men’s basketball team takes on Virginia Commonwealth University in conference play to open its Atlantic 10 era, and before they travel to Honolulu to play in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic and before they play American at home on Nov. 8 in their first game of the season, there will be the annual insanity that is Mason Madness.

The opening of the basketball season commences with a grand-scale pep rally with doors opening at the Patriot Center at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18. The event is a highlight of Family Weekend and open to the public.

“Mason Madness is wonderful tradition that brings students, faculty, staff, alumni, and all fans together to launch the new basketball season,  support our coaches and teams, and get our voices warmed up for a season of cheering,” says Chris Clark-Talley, associate vice president for Alumni Affairs. “The celebration has become a ‘don’t miss’ event. But it’s not just about basketball. It’s about spirit and community and, most important, pride!”

Promising to be full of surprises, Mason Madness will feature the return of hip-hop dance group Urbanknowology and the ever-rocking, electrifying stylings of internationally infamous Doc Nix and the Green Machine.

As one of the best pep bands in the nation, George Mason’s Green Machine promises an incredible show. Viral successes with their “Rage Against the Machine” mash-up and Jay-Z and Alicia Key’s “Empire State of Mind” have created high standards for them, but they always deliver and there promises to be something new this year.

Doc Nix and the Green Machine

Doc Nix and the Green Machine perform at the Patriot Center. Photo by Alexis Glenn

Urbanknowology brings an electrifying dynamism each time they perform and guarantee to do so again this year. Other appearances include the Masonettes and the Mason cheerleading squad, and of course, the presentation of both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Men’s head coach Paul Hewitt will address the crowd to kick off his third season at Mason, and women’s basketball coach Nyla Milleson will make her Mason Madness debut. It will be Milleson’s first year coaching at Mason after leading Missouri State to three women’s National Invitation Tournament berths in six years. She also previously coached a national championship runner-up team for NCAA Division II at Drury University.

The evening will also play host to the Green vs. Gold men’s basketball scrimmage.  It will be the first opportunity for the Mason faithful to see their team in action in a season that sees all five starters returning, including senior Sherrod Wright, who was selected as Second Team Preseason All-Conference, and Erik Copes and new players such as freshman Marquise Moore.

Prior to the event, the Office of Orientation and Family Programs and Services will host activities outside the north entrance of the Patriot Center, including face painting and giveaways for fans.

This will be the 17th year that Mason Madness has kicked off the basketball season.

Write to Robin Herron at rherron@gmu.edu

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