Chattanooga-(WDEF) Mocs forward Z Mason is just eight points shy of 1,000 career points.
The 6'5 senior is enjoying a monster season, and he has helped muscle UTC into first place in the Southern Conference.
Mocs coach Will Wade doesn't hold back when discussing Z Mason's talent.
"I think he is the best player in the league."
And Wade has been telling Mason that before the season even started.
Said Mason,"Maybe mid-summer or something like that. He just told me he thought I was the best player in the league. Yeah, it definitely feels good to hear that your coach has that much faith in you. He believes in me a lot. I just want to do the best I can to make him happy."
Mason is making his coach look smart. He's third in the SoCon in scoring, averaging nearly 19-points a game. He also leads the league in both rebounds and blocked shots.
Said Wade, "There's two or three rebounds every game that he gets that nobody else on our team can go get. Those are usually critical rebounds for us."
Said guard Rico White,"To be honest, I just think he's more efficient. He was real good last year, and he's really great this year. Just to improve that efficiency on the court."
Mason is a big reason why UTC has won 10 straight.
Said Wade,"I don't think there's anybody in the league that affects his team winning as much as Z does for us. That's why I think he's the most valuable player in the league."
Said White,"Just the fact that he's leading us, and we are winning. I know it sounds kind of cliché. He wouldn't get this much notice if we weren't winning."
Mocs face perennial SoCon power Davidson on Thursday, and Mason will be expected to mix it up in the paint with the Wildcats De'Mon Brooks.
Said Wade,"We need Z to impose his will down there and be a real strength for our team down there in the post."