Short stack: Boys basketball preview

This year's Mustangs try to live UP to last year's squad


The boys varsity basketball team stands in line for the national anthem. Although there are many new additions to the team this year, the chemistry looks promising. Photo by Caleb Parnell

Caleb Parnell

As the George Mason boys varsity basketball team prepares to play their fourth game of the season tonight against Loudon County tonight at 7:30 in the pit, it’s important to notice the drastic difference in the team’s lineup this year. While the team sports some of the same talent as last year, it may face challenges due to the loss of several Mason graduates. In particular, take note of how tall (or not) the team is.

After a 15-10-0 season last year, the Mustangs lost some key graduating seniors, including Thomas Creed, Anish Chatterjee, Biruk Teshome, David Miller, Ethan Rosenberger, Nick Robbin-Coker, and Tim Andrianarison, all having their own impact to the team’s success.

Head Coach Chris Capannola said that these roster changes bring about the challenge of on-court chemistry for this year’s team.

“We have to find that chemistry which is so important to a good team. We have new faces playing in new places and we have totally changed our defensive philosophy, so it will take time to gel and figure everything out.  There will be some bumps in the road, especially in December with our tough non-league schedule,” Capannola said.

Another challenge for the season will be rebounding, as the team lost some of their top rebounders in Thomas Creed and Anish Chatterjee.

Junior forwards Johnny Goodwin, Daniel Miller, and senior Seid Lejlic will have larger roles this year as they will need to supply the team with rebounds, as well as dominate the paint as the team’s tallest players.

“Our greatest challenge is going to be rebounding. We need to focus on good ball movement and finding open shots because we’re not going to get too many second-chance shots,” said Goodwin.

While the team may be facing these challenges, some new changes to the roster seem to be bringing promise. Sophomore guards Ryan Fletchall, Deven Martino, and Bobby Asel joined the team this year, as well as junior forward Daniel Miller. These players are reportedly bringing new life and enthusiasm to the team.

“The new guys bring a new energy and a different vibe that helps motivate the team,” senior guard Jay Nesson said.

Along with the new players, Coach Mike Gilroy has joined the team as the new assistant coach. With the experience of coaching the girls varsity basketball team the previous three years, Gilroy is bringing a lot to the table this year.

“He’s been a really big help this year bringing new ideas and a new perspective than last year. His high basketball IQ adds another dimension to our team and he’s going to be a big part of our success” senior guard Max Ashton said.

With these changes, the Mustangs have started their season off strong. After losing a tough road game to Riverside, the ‘Stangs bounced back and routed Brentsville in a district game, winning 78-26.

According to Coach Capannola, the team has had success in supporting one another and being close as a team. He predicts that this will be a factor later in the year when facing tough competition.

“The guys really seem to like each other and are very willing to share the ball. That’s so important if you want to get through the inevitable rough times that every team goes through, knowing you can count on the guy next to you. We have twelve guys who can play and that keeps the competition level high in practice,” Capannola said.

In terms of a season goal, the team is motivated to reach the state tournament. The team fell just short of this feat last season, losing in the regional finals by a buzzer beater.

“I think a realistic goal is to get to the state tournament this year. We were one basket short last season and I think the guys remember how close we were, and would really like to get to that next step” Capannola said.

As the team currently holds a record of 2-1, anything can happen this season. This new group can have success if they are able to overcome the new challenges and capitalize on their new opportunities.


(All regular season home games for the 2018-2019 season are as followed. Games are held in the Main Gym/Pit)

December:  Tonight (red out), 14th, and 20th

January: 8th, 11th, 15th, 23rd, and 28th

February: 5th