December 27, 2006

Justin Mason - Exceeding expectations

Justin Mason signed with Texas in the fall of 2005 flying under the radar in a class with superstars Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin. In the spring when Damion James signed with Texas, it added another highly thought of prospect nationally. Mason was regarded as a solid prospect by most, but not a name that rolled off the tip of the tongue when talking about Texas basketball.

Eleven games into the 2006-07 Longhorn season, Mason has become Mr. Consistency and a name receiving mention nationally. With the reputation of a tough on the ball defender and a slasher, the 6-foot-2 guard was thought of as a player that could play the role of defensive stopper and occasional scorer for the 2006-07 Longhorns team in the mold of a young Royal Ivey.

Mason had other ideas and has taken off with his play since being inserted into the starting line-up in the fifth game of the season. In seven starts, Mason is averaging 12.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists (2/1 assist/turnover ratio) in 28.4 minutes of action. The freshman is converting at a 47.8 percent rate from the field in the seven starts, including an unexpected 43.8 percent from the three-point line. With a 77.8 percent free throw percentage in the same span, the combo guard has proven to be an all-around difference maker for the Longhorns.

While some young players don't maintain the same consistency against top-flight opponents, that has not been the case with Mason.

In four starts against the top teams Texas has played in Mason's seven starts, the results have garnered the nickname Mr. Consistency.

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