ALL GROWN UP

Like father, like son…or so the saying goes.
For Anthony Mason Jr., son of former New York Knicks all-star bruiser Anthony Mason, the legacy his father left in New York cast a large, daunting shadow over his 2005 freshman campaign at St. John’s. Escaping the constant comparisons and mentioning of Mason Sr. required major development, both in the gym and on the court.
Boy, how he has made his father proud.
The 6’7″, 203 lb. Sophomore swingman recently led a group of Northeastern NCAA All-Stars to a 7-0 record in a recent tour of the Bahamas. Mase led the team in scoring, averaging 18.3 points per game.
“It was a really good experience to play with other players that you normally compete against,” Mason said. “To see what they’re like, watching them play, I got to see how their games are.”
Mason, St. John’s fourth leading scorer last year, joined Red Storm co-captain and leading scorer Lamont Hamilton and St. John’s assistant coach Fred Quartlebaum in the overseas tournament. The Bahamas tour included players from St. John’s, Syracuse, Memphis, Virginia, Rutgers and Fordham.
Considering Mason’s stellar performance throughout the tournament, including a trio of games in which he scored over 20 points, it will be interesting to see just how far Mase has developed going into his second season in the basketball powerhouse that is the Big East.
“I plan on doing whatever it takes to help my team out,” Mason said. “We have been hitting the gym every day, working hard to get ready for the season. We’ve been lifting weights, working hard in the gym, working on our individual moves and our shots so that we get better going into the season.
“Whatever my coach tells me to go out there and do I’m going to do it.”
Head Coach Norm Roberts and the Red Storm are banking on improvement, and fast. Mason’s expectations for next year are lofty to say the least; some might even say unrealistic.
“My goal for our team is to make it to the Big East tournament and to go to the NCAA tournament and go as far as we can,” Mason said. “My goal is to win it. I can’t lie, I want to win it.”
Whether Mason expects to win the Big East tourney or the Big Dance, experts would undoubtedly label those kinds of goals as mere pipe dreams.
But then again, so is making a name for yourself in the world’s most famous arena, especially when your dad played professional ball there for seven years.
With senior captains Daryl Hill and Lamont Hamilton entering their final year at St. John’s, and a stellar incoming recruiting class, look for Mason to take on a bigger scoring role next year and to lead St. John’s back to Big East contention.