During their initial meeting, Cody Norman was granted something by Mason men’s basketball coach Paul Hewitt that sports reporters prize above all else: unfettered access.
“The first thing he did was give me his cell phone number,” recalls Norman, who will undoubtedly be dialing the coach often once the basketball season ramps up this fall.
Norman, a junior majoring in sports journalism through New Century College, is the sports editor for the Broadside, Mason’s student newspaper. He also has his own online blog that he uses to further feed his hunger for sports reporting. Called Courtside Seats, the blog is a reservoir of news and opinion on Norman’s favorite sports topic at Mason: the men’s basketball team.
Because Mason was the closest big school to Norman’s hometown of Fredericksburg, Virginia, he was already kind of a fan of the team. “But when I came here, I fell in love with Mason basketball,” he says.
Norman created the blog in March as a project for the sports journalism class he was taking. Liking that the forum allows him to ask questions that interest him and infuse his opinion into his work, he kept the blog active even after the course concluded. He plans to use it extensively during the upcoming season. “I like doing it,” he says.
Regarding the team, Norman expects big things from returning stars Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison, but he also says not to overlook new recruit Erik Copes, a 6’8” freshman out of Philadelphia.
“He has great work under the basket,” says Norman. “He works hard and he comes up with about every rebound under the rim.”
As for the coaching staff, Norman was admittedly disheartened when Jim Larranaga decided to leave Mason for the University of Miami. “I was a huge Coach L fan,” he says.
And while Norman says he still occasionally wears his “Coach L for President” T-shirt, he likes the university’s choice of hiring Hewitt.
“I think he brings a lot of things to the table offensively,” Norman says. “With Hewitt, it’s run up and down the floor and see how many good shots you can take.”
With a high-scoring offense coupled with the tough defensive style instilled into the returning players by Larranaga, Norman expects the team will not miss a beat this season.
“We could possibly be better than last year,” he predicts. “And we were pretty damn good last year. There is no telling how far we could go.”