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He's in hospital, but Antoine Mason says dad not far away
Feb. 23, 2015

Antoine Mason has taken his game to high level while thinking of his dad

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Anthony Mason, the former NBA standout, would watch his son play, positioning himself just so in Auburn Arena for his son to run past him on and off the court.

Anthony Mason hasn't been with his son the last several weeks. He's in a New York hospital after complications from a heart attack. But his son, guard Antoine Mason, says his dad is never really far away.

"The cool thing is in certain games, if I mess up or do something, I can picture him with his facial expression, and I start laughing and get into a comfort zone. We have like a deep connection. He doesn't have to be here for me to know he's watching me," Mason said.

Anthony Mason would have smiled in Rupp Arena if he had seen his son play at Kentucky in person last Saturday. The younger Mason scored 29 points, the most against the Wildcats this season. Indeed, Antoine Mason has been hot lately while splitting his time with his father in New York and basketball courts across the Southeastern Conference. He'll be looking for more when Auburn plays host to LSU at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Auburn Arena.

Mason is averaging 19.3 points over the last six games, bringing his season average to 15.6. He has traveled to New York twice since his dad's heart complications.

"He's getting better. He's still in critical condition. But he's getting better," Mason said.

"As long as he gets out of there healthy, which I can't wait for, I'll be happy."

Mason hasn't missed a game, and returned to his basketball team to finish out the season before playing at Georgia on Feb. 14.

"It's very important. It's a team thing, first and foremost," Mason said. "I know he'd want me to finish the season. I came here to play the season, and I want to finish it off and give my team the best chance."

Auburn coach Bruce Pearl and Kentucky coach John Calipari both spoke highly of Mason's effort in last Saturday's 110-75 loss in Lexington. Twenty-nine against No. 1 and unbeaten Kentucky is noteworthy.

"I am big on history and I am big on honoring the game," Pearl said. "For Antoine to put up 29 points at Kentucky, that is the highest scoring from anybody and that might even be the highest scoring all year long at Kentucky. He owns that. That is a neat accomplishment. 

"He is doing it while shooting a good percentage. He has done a nice job with his volume. The game plan every night is to make somebody other than Antoine and KT beat you and score. Both of those guys were still able to score efficiently. 

Calipari, who knows talent, said Mason and fellow Auburn guard KT Harrell "can play with anybody in our league," and that Kentucky was geared to stop them, which the Wildcats did early before they finished with a combined 46 points.

"He has demonstrated," Pearl said of Mason, "that he can score, and score against the best teams."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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