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George Mason suspends sophomores Vaughn Gray and Erik Copes

Nov 6, 2012, 3:34 PM EST

Erik Copes AP

George Mason coach Paul Hewitt has suspended sophomores Erik Copes and Vaughn Gray for the first three games of the 2012-13 regular season for unspecified “student conduct violations,” the school announced Tuesday.

Copes, a 6-8 native of Philadelphia, averaged 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 15 minutes per game last season. Gray, a 6-5 native of New Jersey, averaged 3.4 points per game in 2011-12.

The suspension covers the Patriots’ home opener against Virginia on Nov. 9, GMU’s first road game against Bucknell on Nov. 13, and again at home versus Mercer on Nov. 16.

The two would be able to return for the second game of the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Copes and Gray will continue to practice with the team, but will not play in games.

George Mason enters its second season under Hewitt picked to finish third in the CAA, behind conference favorite Drexel and popular underdog Delaware.

Their biggest challenge will be to compensate for the loss of leading scorer and rebounder Ryan Pearson, who graduated after averaging 17 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in 2011-12.

To help fill the void, Hewitt welcomes a two-man recruiting class to Fairfax, guard Patrick Holloway and forward Marko Gujanicic.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_