There are two factors that will often inflate the value of a transfer: Being eligible to play right away instead of sitting out a year and hitting the market late when teams are most desperate to fill holes in their roster.
Thus, it's easy to imagine the feeding frenzy created when the nation's second-leading scorer last season announced Wednesday that he intends to transfer.
Niagara guard Antoine Mason has one season of eligibility remaining and earned his degree in finance last week, which makes him able to play immediately at his new school. The son of former NBA power forward Anthony Mason averaged an eye-popping 25.6 points per game as a junior, second only to national player of the year Doug McDermott of Creighton.
It's too early to know which schools will target Mason but it's already clear which programs cannot have any contact with him. Per the New York Post's Zach Braziller, Niagara will not release Mason to any program on its 2014-15 schedule, which means he would have to pay his own way to attend any MAAC school or hometown St. John's, where his older brother played.
“I know Antoine enjoyed playing here, and I’m sure this was a difficult decision for him and his family,” Niagara coach Chris Casey said in a news release. “Antoine played a big role in our basketball program for the past four years, and we are proud that he earned his bachelor’s degree from Niagara University.
“Now is the time for us to move forward with players who are committed to continuing the tremendous legacy of the Niagara University Purple Eagles.”
Whichever school lands Mason will be getting a player who had to do virtually everything for a Niagara team that was otherwise woeful last season.
Niagara went 7-26 last season and finished last in the MAAC despite Mason's prolific scoring numbers and respectable 44 percent shooting from the field. The 6-foot-3 guard was the only Niagara player to average double figures.
It's probably a safe bet Mason will look for a higher-level program with a better chance to contend for the NCAA tournament next season. And it's probably a safe bet the list of suitors will be long as well.
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