Antoine Mason joined the Auburn team last summer as a graduate student transfer from Niagara University and was the leading returning scorer in college basketball going into the 2014-15 season.
The guard’s father, who was 48 years old, was selected in the third round of the 1988 NBA Draft by Portland after playing at Tennessee State. He spent 13 seasons in the NBA and averaged 10.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
In 1994-95 the power forward was named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year and he led the NBA in minutes played per game during the 1995-1996 and 1996-1997 seasons.
Antoine Mason has been a key player for the Tigers this season despite suffering an ankle injury in the opening game that has kept him at less than full speed most of the season. The six-foot-one guard has averaged 17.4 points per game during his last seven games and is averaging 15.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per season.
The guard noted that he and his dad had a very close relationship going back to the days when Antoine was a youngster spending time around NBA arenas with Anthony and his teammates.
The Auburn senior has been able to spend time with his senior since the heart attack. Commenting on going back and forth between Auburn and his home, last week Mason said, “It has been tough traveling back and spending as much time as I can with him and trying to focus on the season. It is rough. I know the one thing he wants me to do is focus on the season. That is what I have been trying to do and try to find a joy.”
His father regularly attended his games at Niagara and Auburn. Commenting on what it was like not seeing his dad at his games in recent weeks, Mason said, “The cool thing is certain games, if I mess up or doing something I can picture him and his facial expressions and I will start laughing and get into a comfort zone. That is one thing. We have a deep connection. He does not have to be here for me to know that he is watching me and listening to me.”
Antoine Mason is shown as a member of Coach Bruce Pearl's first Auburn team.
Mason said he decided to transfer to Auburn to play at a higher level of competition in the SEC to help his chances of following in his father’s footsteps as a pro player.
With Auburn looking for players who could immediately help for the 2014-15 season after Bruce Pearl was hired as head coach, the Mason family contacted Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person about the possibility of transferring to Auburn. After the father and son visited AU’s campus, they decided the move to the SEC would be a good one.
“Coach Chuck and my father played together in Charlotte so they had a connection,” Mason told Inside the Auburn Tigers. “They talked for a couple of hours. Actually one of the things I wanted to work on was shooting and Chuck is known as the ‘The Rifleman’ for the way he shoots. I knew if I came here he could help me.”
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