It’s 9:15 a.m. and the RAC is nearly empty, save for a few dedicated weightlifters. But upstairs, the Cage Gym is alive with the 10 or so students who have shown up for Physical Education 120, better known as Introduction to Basketball. And who better to head such a class than two George Mason University icons?

The course is instructed by former Mason basketball coach Joe Harrington with the help of current superstar guard Cam Long, a player Harrington says, “is like having another instructor. He’s so smart and so talented.”

Varsity athletes and ordinary students alike run Harrington’s drills, from 3-on-2s to layup lines, some more successfully than others. The level of inexperience does not bother Harington, however.

Sophomore Rin Yan admitted, “I didn’t know how to watch a basketball game before” – a problem Coach Harrington hopes to remedy with his course.

“We go over George Mason’s plays so they know what’s going on when they play,” said Harrington. This reflects the mission of this course as the former coach and the current star hope to instill an understanding as well as an appreciation for the game of basketball. If that’s the lesson, then there is no better instructor than Harrington, a well-travelled basketball mind.

A former Mason head coach, Harrington has also coached at the NBA level as a member of the Toronto Raptors organization and has coached alongside legends such as the University of Texas’ Rick Barnes.

His journey has seemingly come full circle, but teaching this class is no downgrade for his career. He is as giddy as a coach can be when Yan’s awkward jump shot splashes through the net, sending her opposition – the losing squad of a three-on-three game – to the baseline for some wind sprints. At the end of the day however, the students and the instructors alike are here for the love of a game that has provided a profession for some, but enjoyment for all.