Last season Rick Barnes brought in two new shooting guards in JD Lewis and Craig Winder. Both were transfers with a history of scoring and success at the junior college level. Neither has panned out. Coach Barnes will try again next season. This time we will try high schoolers. Texas adds two shooting guards with the potential to contribute next season. The first is Justin Mason.
Mason is a 6'3" 175 lb. senior at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo, Texas. According to Rivals.com, Mason is a four star recruit. He is ranked as the eighth best player in the state and 79th best in the country. Mason has the ability to play both shooting guard and point guard but will play primarily shooting guard at Texas. He led his 4A high school to the state semifinals his junior year before losing to the eventual state champion, South Oak Cliff. His senior year, he led the Dons to an undefeated district record and back into the playoffs. Palo Duro lost in the third round of the playoffs 71-70 to Plainview. Mason averaged about 24 points, six rebounds, five assists, and four steals during his All State senior season.
Justin Mason received scholarship offers from Texas Tech, Texas A&M, New Mexico, SMU, and Colorado State but chose the Longhorns last June. Mason was the second in this class to choose Texas but did so before even taking his official visit. He verbally committed last June but didn't take his official visit until the fall.
According to Scout.com, Mason is a strong defender who can use his long arms and athleticism to pressure the basketball. He can quickly turn defense into easy offense. According to his coach, he is a solid all around player with a history of hitting the big shot. He can score off the dribble and has increased his range as a jump shooter but still is more comfortable penetrating than shooting threes.
Mason is not from the hoops hot beds of Houston or the DFW Metroplex, but he has played against solid competition in AAU ball and in the state playoffs. Mason probably won't be asked to score as much at Texas. Instead Mason may be the defensive stopper Barnes had hoped Winder would become. All indications are Daniel Gibson is staying for next season. Mason, along with Harrison Smith, will fight for backup minutes at the two spot behind Gibson.