With the loss of Dontay Hampton for the rest of the year, Mocs coach John Shulman believes Z Mason needs to step up his game. Said Shulman,"You're the Southern Conference player of the week. You had two straight double-doubles last weekend. And I'm sorry, we need more. We need more."
Being the team leader will be an adjustment for the former Ole Miss tight end. Said Mason,"I wouldn't say I feel comfortable because that's not my character. I definitely see that's what is necessary right now. That's what the team needs right now." Added Shulman,"I don't think Z came here thinking he was going to be the man. I think he came here thinking he was going to get out of the sun, and not get hit by a 250-pound linebacker. He has become a really good player. So he needs to change his mentality. We need more from Z."
Mason currently leads the Mocs in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots. Said Shulman,"He can do things on the court that none of the rest of the guys can do. So he can lead by example."
And don't let Mason's size fool you. He's 6'5 and weighs 240-pounds, and yet he's one of the team's best three point shooters. Said Shulman,"Last year when he came, it was like the YMCA. If he was open, he was going to shoot it. I said Z, if you are going to shoot it, you are going to work on it." Said Mason,"At the beginning of the preseason, I worked on my outside shot a lot. It has always been something comfortable for me. And now that Coach Shulman has a lot more confidence in me to shoot it, it has been a lot easier."
Getting more out of Mason's tank will be key as UTC closes out the year. Said Shulman,"We are going to have to ride him no doubt, but he's a talented guy."