Yesterday, I made the case for Gee McGhee to win Freshman of the Year. Tonight, I'll attempt to make an equal case for Z Mason to be 1st Team All SoCon. I think a case could be made for him to be SoCon Player of the Year, but that is an unlikely event given that Z is not playing for one of the big three schools in the SoCon this year.
Z Mason is one of just three players to be in the Top Ten for the season in points and rebounds. He is tenth in points and fourth in rebounds. Mike Groselle of The Citadel is fourth in points and third in rebounds, while Nathan Healy is ninth in points and second in rebounding. Mason is twelfth in the league in field goal percentage and tenth in blocked shots. So, it's easy to see that Mason is consistently near the top of the league statistically.
In SoCon games only, only two players rank in the Top 4 in points and rebounds. Mason is tied for fourth in scoring and tied for fourth in rebounding. Healy is tied for fourth in points with Mason, and is first in rebounding. So, again, Mason has clearly established that he is one of the top players in the league. Just for the record, Healy probably deserves to be on the first team as well.
But that does not tell the whole story. The fact is that this year's Mocs team desperately needed leadership. Mason had to really take control of the team. He had to become the vocal leader on this club, and it appears that is exactly what he has done. He went out and worked hard and made sure that the Mocs worked hard.
Yes, this Mocs team has been blown out, and has struggled at various times, but the effort has been there most nights. That is thanks to Mason, who has been one of the ultimate leaders.
He is one of the big favorites to win the SoCon Player of the Year next year. I hope he gets the recognition he deserves this year for 1st Team All SoCon, and possibly Player of the Year. He has been a leader on the floor, and a leader off the floor, for a team that was picked to finish eleventh in the SoCon preseason, and is guaranteed to finish higher than that (although how much, no one knows, yet).