Mason is a talented player, but he is looking to a season of individual frustrations come 2002-03. Already on display was freshman forward Elton Brown complaining to the media about his lack of playing time. J.C. Mathis was the apple of the Cavaliers eyes toward the season's end. But at the conclusion of the season, neither played with regularity. Gillen went to his seniors and played them until their eligibility ran out.
Adam Hall and Chris Williams depart with their eligibility depleted. That would leave Roger Mason Jr in a lineup with dickering & discontent individuals complaining over playing time while showing lack of respect for the veterans who had underachieved and lost the big games.
Travis Watson would return to the center position. In 2001-02, he was besieged with fouls and unable to create his own shot against 2-3 zone. This was the undoing of the Cavs and more of the same seemed to be ahead.
Magestic Mapp should return to the lineup. His injuries have been slow to heal, but he is not a bull's-eye shooter from the perimeter. Ball handling and shooting will be the woes of UVa for another season. Keith Jenifer is not the decision maker for the point.
All signs pointed toward Mason as having to carry even more of the load, particularly at crunch time. His stock has risen as high as it will. The season ahead of defenses geared to stopping him would decimate his numbers. The months of interaction with individuals who are not part of a team but a group of individuals arguing over playing time make for a fine time to depart.
Even as a late 1st or 2nd round pick, Mason can enjoy the life of a millionaire. This certainly is better than risking his future to an injury on a team on its way down, which is precisely where his stock would go if he stayed.