Mason basketball student-athletes demonstrate they mean business when it comes to learning

Mason men's basketball players, Blake Buchanan, left, and D'Shawn Schwartz
Mason men's basketball players, Blake Buchanan, left, and D'Shawn Schwartz. Photo by Shelby Burgess/Strategic Communications

George Mason University men’s basketball players D’Shawn Schwartz and Blake Buchanan, both School of Business graduate students, say their friendship helps keep them focused on their studies.

“I would describe Blake as a lifelong learner, and it’s always interesting and motivating to talk to him,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz, who is working on a graduate certificate in business analytics, and Buchanan, who is pursuing a master’s degree in management, are suite-mates and say they often find themselves deep in conversations about politics, about movies, about anything.

“People push the idea that athletes don’t have other interests, but that’s far from the truth,” Buchanan said. “The majority of our conversations have nothing to do with basketball. We could end up talking about a history documentary or economic theory or any number of other topics that interest us.”

Schwartz is in his final season of athletic eligibility.

Mason men’s basketball head coach Kim English says that Schwartz and Buchanan’s leadership and emphasis on academics are crucial to the team’s culture of excellence.

“It’s very important to me that our student-athletes’ education extends beyond the classroom, and both of these student-athletes exemplify excellence in education,” English said. “As coaches, we look at ourselves as being a part of the higher education process. In recruiting, we target and seek out well-rounded, bright individuals who possess a growth mindset in both their athletic pursuits and as learners.”

Schwartz, 22, a 6-foot-7 forward, graduated from University of Colorado in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an emphasis in marketing, as well as a certificate in music technology.

Schwartz is second on the Patriots in scoring this season and led Mason with a game-high 24 points in the team's upset win at #20 Maryland on Nov. 17.

In December, Schwartz was named one of 30 candidates for the NCAA’s Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes student-athletes who achieve success both on and off the court. The award recognizes excellence in character, community, classroom, and competition.

Besides basketball and business, Schwartz is passionate about music and spends much of his spare time working on songs. Schwartz plans to work as a music producer after his basketball career is done. Samples of Schwartz's music can be found on Spotify.

“I’m learning a lot this year in my studies about how to use statistics and data to make predictions, along with ways to sell to different demographics,” Schwartz said. “This year has also been a great way to explore Washington, D.C., and take in all the museums and experience a more urban lifestyle than I am used to.”

Buchanan, a 6-foot-5 guard, graduated from Wake Forest University in May 2021 with a degree in economics and a minor in entrepreneurship. He participates in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Buchanan said that studying management has allowed him to make good business connections and learn about concepts, translating them into “real-world settings.”

“My plan is to apply the knowledge I’m gaining toward a career in consulting or fundraising,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan, 21, has played in several games and is a critical part of Mason’s scout team helping in game preparations.

“I’m incredibly excited to see what both these men achieve in life and how they impact the world,” said English. “One thing is for certain—wherever they end up, Mason is going to be very proud that they are alumni. I know that they will have taken much from their time in Fairfax.”