BY DOMENIC ALLEGRA ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
With the addition of University of Virginia (UVA) center Jarred Reuter, as well as the addition of three new freshmen, Mason looks to move forward this year after last year’s step back.
According to the Atlantic 10 coaches’ preseason poll, Mason was picked to finish fourth in the conference this year. Head coach Dave Paulsen mentioned that they still have high hopes for this season.
“The hope is to maximize your potential to be as good as you can possibly be,” Paulsen said. “There are expectations, which is great, we want those expectations to fuel us and make us feel more together.”
After finishing 9-9 in Atlantic 10 play and 7-8 in nonconference play last season, the Patriots look to improve upon their record to possibly receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in the spring.
Senior Otis Livingston II, who was also named to the All-Atlantic 10 First Team, wants this season to be different from all of his others.
“We want to improve every game, I feel like that’s a big goal for us, in the [nonconference] and through the A-10,” said Otis Livingston II.
Livingston continued, “We want to make it to the A-10 tournament and the NCAA Tournament. I feel like we want to do as good as we can in nonconference [games] and get off to a really good start, to give us some momentum going into the conference [games].”
When it comes to motivating and leading his teammates to reach these goals, Livingston said, “We got talent. We have guys that like to work hard. They’re all competitive, so it won’t be that hard. I don’t have to motivate them or anything, [because] they’re already motivated. Whether you’re the first one in the gym or the last one to leave, being vocal with them and helping them out throughout the season.”
Jaire Grayer, another standout senior, talked about how he could help this year’s squad.
“[I can] help lead these guys each day, make sure we bring that energy,” Grayer said. “[With] me being an older guy I got to step up to the plate and lead these guys for what’s to come for this season.”
Grayer continued, “[You] make sure you bring it every single day, bring that energy, that focus. Every. Single. Day. [There are] no days off.”
After undergoing an offseason foot procedure, Grayer said after the scrimmage on Oct. 27 that he felt good and “I think I’m back to 100 percent.”
AJ Wilson, a redshirt sophomore, talked about his hopes for the season, stating, “Our main [goal] is to definitely get better than we were last year. Every year we have the goal to get better. Our second [goal] is for everyone to get better individually to better help the team.”
Mason will return all of their scoring from last year, the only program in the country to do so.
However, there was a new face to the team this year other than the freshmen. It was UVA transfer Jarred Reuter. Paulsen, in an interview with GMUGiantKiller, went so far to say that Reuter would be one of the top five players in the A-10 this year.
With the help of Reuter and the freshmen, the Patriots will look to compete for a spot in the NCAA Tournament this year. Only time will tell.