Press Break The Post's Rundown of Local and National College Basketball
News Feed - November 25, 2008

George Mason Coach Jim Larranaga is pleased to announce the signing of five players to national letters-of-intent.

Paris Bennett, a 6-foot, 6-inch forward from St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J., Luke Hancock, a 6'5" forward from Hargrave Military Academy and a native of Roanoke, Va., Rashad Whack, a 6'2" guard from Bishop McNamara High School and a native of Hyattsville, Md., Johnny Williams, a 6'8" forward from Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Tenn., and Vertrail Vaughns, a 6'2" guard from Mesquite High School in Mesquite, Texas make up the class for the Patriots that will be eligible for the 2009-10 season.

"What we like most about these young men is that they have all played for tremendous coaches and have experienced a lot of success," Larranaga said. "They have all been a part of winning programs and have made sacrifices to put their team first. We look for this attitude in all of our recruits."

Bennett was named the top small forward recruit in the CAA by and he was rated three stars by both and Playing for Kevin Boyle, he averaged better than 10 points per game for St. Patrick as a junior. He is rated as the #65 small forward in the nation by Kent State and Siena were also recruiting Bennett.

"Paris plays for one of the top high school programs in the country," Larranaga said. "He has a great feel for the game and he has the ability to make those around him better. He has played at a high level and is extremely versatile. He will be well prepared for the high level of competition in the CAA."

Hancock averaged 14 points and seven rebounds last season as a senior at Hidden Valley High School. He's currently enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy and plays for Kevin Keatts.

"Luke is a real competitor and has been involved with successful programs in high school and prep school," Larranaga said. "His ability to play multiple positions is a real asset. He can shoot with range and has a very good floor game."

Vaughns plays for Brian Curts at Mesquite High School and as a junior, he averaged 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. He was rated the 25th best player in Texas by and he earned three stars from He was rated #58 in the nation at his position by and Colorado and Wichita State were also recruiting him.

"Vertrail reminds me of Jason Miskiri who had a tremendous career here," Larranaga said. "Vertrail is very fast and plays with a lot of energy. He is gifted at getting to the basket off the dribble and has the ability to apply great pressure on the defensive end in our up-tempo style of play."

Whack, who was also recruited by VCU, James Madison, Marist and St. Bonaventure, scored 17 points per game as a junior playing for Marty Keithline at Bishop McNamara. He was named the top shooting guard prospect in the CAA by and rates him as the #59 shooting guard in the nation.

"Rashad will join our long line of terrific guards from the state of Maryland," Larranaga said. "He is one of the best shooters in the area and is fundamentally sound. He has been extremely well coached and will come here with a tremendous background by playing in the highly competitive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference."

Williams plays for John Harrington at Briarcrest Christian School and as a junior he averaged a double-double. He is rated the top power forward prospect in the CAA by and he earned three stars from both and He is the second-highest rated recruit in the CAA according to and it rated him #36 in the nation at power forward. Williams selected Mason over Oklahoma State and Alabama.

"Johnny has the ability to become a dominant player," Larranaga said. "He has a nice touch shooting the ball and can catch everything thrown in his direction. He can score, rebound and defend at a high level in high school and we look forward to him doing the same here."

By Matthew Rennie  |  November 25, 2008; 8:20 AM ET
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