On Wednesday, Niagara guard Antoine Mason (son of former Knicks player Anthony Mason) announced that he was going to transfer. Having graduated this past year with one season of eligibility left, Mason will be able to enroll as a grad student and play immediately for a Division I program.
Did I mention that Mason is the nation's top returning scorer with 25.6 PPG?
No one has mentioned Syracuse has a potential destination yet. In fact, no one has mentioned any potential destinations, except that Mason will not be allowed to transfer to a school that plays Niagara next season (sorry, St. John's). What we can assume is that Mason is looking for a grander stage to showcase his wares.
Should Syracuse chase the high-scoring guard for one season of glory?
Let's pro/con this thing.
PRO: 25 points per game, guys. Obviously, he was doing this as a one-man-scoring-threat on a terrible basketball team and his numbers will likely drop if he goes to a better program, but, still. It's not like Syracuse is going into the 2014-2015 season with a whole lot of proven scoring options. In fact, you could argue SU is going into the season with...none. And the last time SU had a guy who averaged over 20 PPG? Hakim Warrick in 2005.
CON: Mason, like many shooters, isn't always a value scorer. Sometimes, it's an Iverson-esque war of attrition for him. There's a lot of 8-for-21 and 9-for-22 performances last season. Also, his scoring suffered as the season went on. He was good for 30-a-night in November but by February he was more likely to put up 15 then 35. We've already got one streaky shooter who needs as many looks as he can get...do we need a second one?
PRO: A huge question mark for Syracuse is guard depth. The most likely scenario is Kaleb Joseph at PG, Trevor Cooney at SG and Michael Gbinije coming in off the bench. And that's it. Cooney can score a ton or he can score nothing. Gbinije will probably improve but by how much? And who knows what Joseph will bring to the table. Adding Mason into that mix suddenly turns a question mark into a strength, takes a lot of pressure off of Cooney and allows Boeheim to get creative with his substitutions and position choices.
CON: Man, how's Trevor gonna feel about this? He's already prone to long stretches where it seems like his confidence (and the team's confidence in him) is kaput. What message does it send to him if we bring in a ringer to basically usurp his role? Not to mention what it does to chemistry to bring in a one-year guy who is clearly going to want a certain amount of shots and playing time. This could backfire for sure.
PRO: Mason's a New York guy. Queens, specifically, which is when you really have to wonder if St. John's was the obvious destination if not for unfortunate timing (his brother went to SJU, too). So if Mason wants to stay close(ish) to home, doesn't Syracuse make sense? We're going to play two games at MSG this season and, uh, we're Syracuse. You get to play Duke, North Carolina, Villanova and Louisville. You want a big stage? You've got one.
CON: As far as I can tell, Syracuse didn't recruit him out of high school. At least not seriously enough to offer him. He might hold that against us.
I have no idea if Mason is on Syracuse's radar or vice versa, but it's an interesting proposition. Personally, I'm not opposed to the idea but I'm going to wait and see how it plays out. If we find out Boeheim and Co. haven't extended interest, well then we'll just have to assume they have a good reason for doing so. And if they do, well, we can start getting excited about the possibilities.
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