Coach Pitino landed his second recruit of the 2014 class.
I'm officially committed to a University of Minnesota! Go Golphers!!!!!! #blessed— Nate Mason (@NateMason_2) October 25, 2013
Nate Mason is a skilled guard who saw his stock rise considerably over the summer.
The Facts are These
Home: DeCatur, Georgia
High School: Montrose Christian (in Maryland)
AAU: CP3 All-Stars (runner-up at Peach Jam)
Rank/Stars: consensus 3-star, top 150 for 247sports.com and top 175 for Rivals
Mason is an interesting grab for the Gophers in that he is more of a scoring guard who appears to be in a point guard's body. But I think players like this are good fits into Pitino's system that will rely heavily on at least two guards up front and Mason will have the opportunity to score as well as bring the ball up when appropriate.
I think it essentially comes down this, Mason has great handles and a scorers mentality.
Playing for one of the elite AAU teams of the summer Mason played along side guys like Theo Pinson (5-star, North Carolina commit), LJ Peak (4-star Georgetown), Gary Clark (3-star, Cincy), Shelton Mitchell (4-star, Wake). But Mason didn't just play "with" those guys, he was a focal point. In the Peach Jam title game Mason scored the team's second most points (21) and lead the team with 7 assists to just 2 turnovers. In an earlier game CP3 faced Howard Pulley and won 90-73 and Mason's line was 19 points, 5 assists and 3 turnovers against the Tyus Jones led Panthers.
All of that to say that this 5-11 guard showed throughout the summer that he can play with and shine with some of the elite recruits in the class of 2014. What that means for his college days is yet to be determined but I like what he is bringing to The Barn and I think Mason has the chance to be a real impact player.
This is the second commitment for the class of 2014 and the first in the backcourt. I am breathing a huge sigh of relief that we have a commitment from someone who can play the point as this was a big need in the 2014 class. Below is the current roster/scholarship matrix. You can see that next year's recruiting class is going to have a lot of holes to fill, so the more balanced this year's can be the better for 2014. Landing a big power forward (cough *Reid Travis* cough) and a true scoring wing (Rashad Vaughn anyone?) would be the perfect way to round out the class of 2014.
This appears to be a very nice pick-up for Pitino and staff. A kid with quickness, handles, confidence and the ability to score. Welcome to Gopher Basketball in the Pitino Era.