It was bound to happen to Yale’s arising basketball star, Makai Mason. After coming into his own in the latter part of his freshman year, he has been named Ivy League Player of the Week following his first conference test of the current campaign.
Mason hit for a game high 20 points last Saturday when Yale (10-5) defeated Brown, 77-68, at the Lee Amphitheater. Included were six crucial free throws in the final three minutes, after Brown had reduced a 17-point deficit to five.
The 6-1 sophomore point guard, from Greenfield, Mass., finished with five baskets (including 3-5 three pointers) and 7-of-9 from the free throw line. He also had three steals.
Over the entire schedule, he has scored at least 20 points in five games, compiling an average of 16.0 ppg. His free throw percentage is .778, and he has 4.1 assists per game.
Although this is the first POTW honor for Mason, it should be far from the last. He earned one Rookie of the Week selection last year, when he had to come off the bench because Yale had two veteran starting guards in Javier Duran and Jack Montague.
In the dramatic Ivy League NCAA play-in game, which Yale lost to Harvard, 53-51, he was a near hero when he climaxed a Bulldog comeback by grabbing a loose ball in a scramble for an offensive rebound and making a jumper in the lane to put Yale in front, 49-48, with 1:40 remaining.
Earlier this season, Yale had a near-miss loss against still undefeated SMU, whose acting coach, Tim Jankovich, said after the game “Mason’s a tremendous guard. Boy, he’s impressive. We haven’t played a lot of guards last year that impress me more than him. He makes plays, makes tough shots, makes floaters, makes free throws, makes threes.”
The Ivy League is not surprised to hear that.