After turbulent career, Mason priming for life after St. John’s

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm Anthony Mason Jr. hopes he has found his way.He didn’t have the most conventional childhood. He hasn’t had a very common college basketball career, either.The son of a former NBA player, Anthony Mason Sr., the St. John’s forward knew what stardom was all about at a very young age. Growing up, the younger Mason went through his share of ups and downs. With his father traveling around the country during his playing career, Mason Jr. was primarily raised by his mother. During his own playing career, he has continuously suffered through tumultuous injury after injury.Now, with his career on the brink of its conclusion following St. John’s 57-55 loss to Marquette in the Big East tournament Wednesday, Mason hopes all of that has prepared him to achieve success in life after basketball.Sylvester Ford, Mason’s high school coach, believes the St. John’s forward will be able to succeed in whatever that may be. He was there for Mason’s grassroots maturation.A half-decade ago, Ford coached Mason at Fairley High School in Memphis, Tenn., where he averaged 20 points per game as a senior. He became a legitimate Division I prospect with a slew of schools to choose from. But as Ford recalls, Mason didn’t become cocky. It simply wasn’t in his nature.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘He was real humble,’ Ford said. ‘You couldn’t tell that he was different because he wouldn’t show it. He mixed well with the kids and didn’t act like he was somebody else. He was quite a gentleman.’After leaving Ford, Mason chose to play his college basketball at St. John’s. Having watched his father play on the Madison Square Garden floor while in the NBA, his decision was a relatively easy one. It didn’t hurt that Mason’s father had attended high school with St. John’s head coach Norm Roberts years earlier.As a top-100 recruit, it seemed everything was coming together for Mason Jr. Now all he had to do was play the game he loved.In Mason’s first two seasons with the Red Storm, he was solid. His junior season was his true coming out party. Mason averaged 14 points per game and was an honorable mention All-Big East selection. The sky seemed to be the limit for the younger Mason. The NBA potential was there.But then he came down with a season-ending injury thanks to a torn tendon in his foot three games into his senior season. After starting the season strong, he was forced to miss the rest of the year. Mason took a medical redshirt during the 2008-09 season, preserving a year of eligibility and watching from the bench. He was without his passion; he could no longer contribute to his university and his team. However, it was during this stretch that Mason pursued one of his other interests. That interest that he hopes will be ready after basketball, as a television producer.As Mason was rehabbing, MTV’s ‘True Life’ — a reality-TV series — chronicled his recovery. For the communication arts major, it was an opportunity to get his feet wet despite the grim situation.‘I believe it was a very positive experience for Anthony,’ said Mark Fratto, St. John’s director of athletic communications. ‘The experience of being part of a behind-the-scenes show was extremely valuable. And he was able to make some great contacts in the world of television.’Upon his return from surgery in 2009-10, Mason wasn’t able to put up the impressive numbers that he once did. His torn tendon took that from him. After missing the Red Storm’s first 14 games for yet another injury, he ended the season scoring just 6.6 points a game.Depending on the Red Storm’s NIT fate, Mason may have played his last collegiate game. He didn’t have the storybook ending, and his future in basketball remains unclear.Dave Telep, the national recruiting director for Scout.com, believes Mason will have to find his basketball career outside of the United States if he is to continue playing at the professional level. For the time being, an NBA career doesn’t seem likely.‘He’s probably a guy who’s going to have to carve out a niche overseas,’ Telep said. ‘He’s probably going to have some opportunities. I imagine those opportunities will be overseas in some of those leagues.’But those trials from Memphis all the way to St. John’s have perhaps readied him for the big stage. This time, the goal is Hollywood.And Ford believes that the high school kid that he was so impressed with more than five years ago will be ready. Despite the injuries, Mason has become something.It just remains to be seen exactly what that is.‘I see him excelling at anything he desires to do because he’s an outstanding young man and he’s very articulate,’ Ford said when referring to Mason’s career after basketball. ‘He’s dedicated to working hard, and he’ll do a wonderful job.’Player to watchCarleton ScottIn the place of injured forward Luke Harangody, junior forward Carleton Scott came up big for Notre Dame (22-10, 10-8 Big East) last week. Scott kept Notre Dame’s NCAA hopes alive as he scored 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a 58-50 victory over Connecticut (17-15, 7-11) on March 3. Three days later in the Irish’s final home game of the regular season at Marquette (21-10, 11-7), Scott’s late 3-pointer tied up the contest and forced it into overtime. Notre Dame won the game, 63-60, and Scott finished up with 14 points and 13 boards.Game to watchBig East tournament quarterfinals: No. 8 seed Georgetown vs. No. 1 seed SyracuseToday, Noon, ESPNNo. 3 Syracuse (28-3, 15-3) and No. 22 Georgetown (21-9, 10-8) will meet for the third time this season today in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. Syracuse, which had a bye to the third round, hasn’t played since Saturday, when it was downed by Louisville (20-11, 11-7) for its first road loss of the season. Georgetown will play at Madison Square Garden for the second day in a row, having defeated South Florida (20-12, 9-9) handily by the score of 69-49. SU won both games between these teams during the regular season, beating the Hoyas at the Carrier Dome on Jan. 25 and then again in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 18. bckallet@syr.edu center_img Commentslast_img

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