On the opposite side of the spectrum from the freshman, of course, are the seniors, and they have been the lifeblood of the Patriots for this entire season so far.
When it comes to leadership, there has been no parallel to what Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison have brought to this team. These two are the clear cut emotional and physical leaders of the team. They're constantly yelling on the floor, keeping their teammates fired up throughout the game, and even when they're taking a break on the bench, they're up and cheering on their team.
Off the floor, Morrison and Pearson have been just as good, saying all the right things to the media and giving a great example to the younger players on how to act off the court and how to win. Clearly these younger players are taking notice too, as guys like Erik Copes have claimed that he has learned from the seniors how to win in certain CAA venues.
From a production standpoint, the seniors have been nothing short of amazing. Andre Cornelius has made an immediate impact since his return, both as a three-point threat and a strong perimeter defender.
Mike Morrison is averaging 10 points and seven rebounds a game, and has shown an array of new big-man moves Patriots fans have never seen from him. Coach Hewitt consistently praises Morrison's work ethic and desire to get better, and the results have been clear, particularly at the free throw line, where he is shooting the best percentage of his career.
Ryan Pearson has continued his campaign to be the CAA's player of the year, leading the team in both points and rebounds, adding in eight double doubles already this season. Pearson has shown that he can take over a game, and can be near unstoppable when he gets hot.
What has impressed me most about the seniors, however, is their sheer determination to win this year. They understand that this is their last chance to win a CAA title, and they do not want to let it slip away without a fight.
Earlier this year, the seniors talked about how badly they wanted to win at ODU before they graduated, and they went out and dominated the Monarchs on their floor. They refused to lose that game, and ended up turning in one of their best performances of the year.
It is this determination and drive that has led to Mason leading the conference at the midway point, and is the same reason why I feel Mason will be a favorite to cut down the nets in Richmond come March.