Anthony Mason was a fan favorite for the New York Knicks during his time in the Big Apple from 1991-96. Now his son is hoping to develop his skills so he can one day follow in his fathers footsteps and play in the NBA. Anthony Mason Jr.'s journey to the NBA will continue this season as a part of the Knicks' D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks.
Anthony Mason Jr. is a 6'7", 213 pound shooting guard/small forward. He played college basketball for St. John's and is the son of former New York Knicks enforcer Anthony Mason. This season he'll be continuing his journey to the NBA as a member of the New York Knicks' affiliate, the Erie BayHawks of the NBA D-League.
Mason played five seasons for St. John's University. One was a medical red-shirt year. In 99 career games, with 86 starts, he averaged 10.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 29.2 minutes a game.
He was also able to shoot 40.8 percent from the field, including 32.0 percent from three-point range and 71.9 percent from the free-throw line. After connecting on 120 three-point shots, Anthony Jr. ended his college career fifth on St. John's all-time three-point field goals made list.
However, he's struggled with recovering from injuries and it's cost his development as a player. Through his struggles, Anthony Jr. has learned how to fight for his dream and rehab like a professional.
That being said he is a player that teams have paid attention to. Before the 2010-11 season, the Miami Heat had signed him but he was eventually cut. He then went on to join the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the D-League to work on his game.
“It’s one of the strangest things about being the minor leagues,” McHone said. “You have a guy that playing in the minor leagues, where the travel is harder. He might even play 48 minutes. So you’re playing more minutes, the travel is 10 times harder – everything is 10 times harder. He has no problems with his injury, but in their mind in the NBA he’s injury-prone so they don’t give him a chance.”
So Mason will work. And he’ll surround himself in pain – in the acid singe of a long workout and the anger at being overlooked – so that he can own it, understand it and finally rid himself of it.
“He’s a really good all-around player, and like all D-League guys his defense can pick up,” he said. “He’s such a good athlete, that if in his mind he decided he wanted to be the best defensive player on the floor there’s no question he could be, but he doesn’t see himself in that light.
“I think he’s got every bit as much talent if not more than guy like Bruce Bowen, who at one stage in his career said if ‘if I’m gonna make it, this is what I gotta do,’ and he changed over from a scorer to a defensive guy and ended up making a lot of money.”
Anthony Jr. is a very athletic player. It's clear that his body has held back his development and kept him out of the NBA thus far. However, it's also clear that he's very close to an NBA-level player. It's really a matter of getting him focused on certain aspects of his game.
This signing isn't only a good PR move for the Knicks but also a good job of collecting talented prospects for their D-League roster. Anthony Jr. shouldn't be the only player of the BayHawks with a family member who has been on a Knicks roster because it's very likely that J.R. Smith's brother Chris will also find himself playing for Erie this season.
Anthony Jr. is now an NBA D-League veteran of two seasons. Thus far, on that level, he's averaged 16.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal per game all with the Skyforce. While playing for Sioux Falls he shot 50 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range.
Anthony Mason has been seen attending several games at Madison Square Garden. He isn't shy about answering the phone when the Knicks call him to appear at charity events or take part in special nights like when J.R. Smith was given his Sixth-Man of the Year award. Now every time he sees a call coming in from the organization he'll be hoping it's to come see his son get called up and follow his footsteps wearing orange and blue.
Now it's up to Anthony Jr. to prove he can stay healthy and develop his skills enough to convince the Knicks that, if they need an injury replacement, he's ready to play on the NBA level.
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