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Around the Rim: Holiday Wishes
Courtesy: George Mason Athletics
Release: 12/21/2012

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Paul Hewitt arranged for the George Mason men’s team to spend an afternoon Wednesday at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, not that the coach wants to publicize the visit. The team got a tour of the facilities, interacted with soldiers recovering from war wounds, including wheelchair basketball athletes, and put in a two-hour practice on the grounds.

    “It’s one of those things where we try to give back,” Hewitt says. “But as always when you ‘re involved in an experience like that, you come away learning a lot more and gaining a lot more. The soldiers we had a chance to talk to were extremely brave. They have to work extremely hard to get their lives back to where they feel they’ll have a normal life.”

   Since the Patriots have given of themselves this holiday season, it’s only fair that they receive something in return. Here are some gift wishes for Hewitt and the team:

  • An offense that realizes Hewitt’s vision of drive-and-dish attack with balanced scoring as a result of smart passing. As Hewitt noted earlier in the year, good passing become contagious and the Patriots are at their best when they’re moving the ball and finding the open man.
  • A respite from close games. Last year there were 15 games decided by six points or less. This year there have been seven out of 10. May the Patriots become a little more ruthless and put games away early when they have the chance.   
  • Better shooting from the foul line from the big men. Johnny Williams (14-20), Erik Copes (8-14), Marko Gujanicic (10-19) and Jon Arledge (8-15) are a combined 40-for-68, 58.8%. The Los Angeles Lakers would be ecstatic if Dwight Howard could compile those kinds of numbers. But the Patriot posts look better than Howard at the line. The good news is Gujanicic has gone 9-for-10 after starting the season 1-for-9.
  • Continued evolution and improvement from Bryon Allen and Corey Edwards at point guard. Both have had stretches where they’ve looked good and stretches where they haven’t. Hewitt has made no secret he wants better play at the position.
  • For Sherrod Wright, Patrick Holloway and Anali Okoloji to get some help in three-point shooting. The trio is a combined 33-for-80 (41.3%), which makes opponents take note. If Vertrail Vaughns (25.0%), Gujanicic (28.6) and Vaughn Gray (33.3%) can increase their volume and percentage of threes, then opponents will start to worry.

     If the Patriots get most of those gifts, they’ll have a nice 2013 portion of the season.