FAIRFAX, Va (WDVM) — There is a lot of excitement surrounding the George Mason men’s basketball team heading into the 2021-2022 season.
New head coach Kim English comes in from Tennessee, bringing his flavor of basketball, as well as some new faces. However, some of the old faces that have been at George Mason are still apart of the team, and have bought in to what English is preaching.
“We are building a competitive nature,” said junior forward Josh Oduro. “We are building a brotherhood. We’re building a really good team. Division, player development, and just stuff like that. That’s the reason why I decided to stay.”
Oduro and guards Jamal Hartwell II, Xavier Johnson, and Ronald Polite are the only players who played decent minutes for the Patriots last year.
The team brought in some talented transfers from schools all over the country, such as DeVon Cooper (Morehead St.), Davonte Gaines (Tennessee), D’Shawn Schwartz (Colorado), and Blake Buchanan (Wake Forest). Many of these players are already beginning to build a strong chemistry with the rest of the team.
“It happened really quickly, and it was easy to connect with the guys because they are so selfless,” said Davonte Gaines. “They care about each other. So, it was good for me and the transfers and freshman coming in to just gel with the guys that were already here.”
Wednesday was the first official practice, but the team is already beginning to find their identity and are ready to change the culture.
“We are going to play extremely hard and making sure that fact is cultivated every single day and every single thing we do,” said English. “We are going to play really hard, we’re going to compete, we’re going to be tough.”
“All we talk about is we got to win, we are going to change the culture,” said Hartwell II. “Do what we go to do to take it to the next level.”
“[Coach English] is just preaching family and toughness, and those are things that we take as Gospel here,” said Gaines. “Just put it into our games and just try to be together and build this program to where we want it to be.”
The Patriots begin their 2021-2022 season on November 9 at home against Stony Brook.