Fighting Scot becomes Highlander

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, November 7th, 2018 at 6:28 PM
Fighting Scot becomes Highlander by Madi Gross
Photo: Madi Gross

Throughout his years playing basketball at Edinboro University, Jaymon Mason became a household name in the community. 

Mason began playing basketball at a young age after being influenced to play by his father. He continued playing throughout high school and college, and now he’s continuing his career in Canada, playing for the Cape Breton Highlanders.

Ever since he was young, Mason had his eyes set on playing professionally, and after graduating from Edinboro in the spring of 2018 with a degree in sports administration, he focused on making his dream a reality. It wasn’t long until Mason got “the call.”

“I know it’s going to be a lot of growth and learning for me at the beginning, but I’m setting the bar high. I know what I’m capable of,” said Mason when asked about the next step. “I’m going to go in there and do my best, and hopefully everything else will just take care of itself.”

By the end of his collegiate athletic career, Mason was recognized several times for his athletic achievements. His career was bookended by PSAC West Freshman of the Year honors in 2015 and Senior Athlete of the Year honors for the 2017-2018 season. He was also named to the All-PSAC West team three years in a row. It was during his senior year that Mason became the all-time leading scorer for Edinboro University, a record previously held by his father.

“That really wasn’t something that was on my mind when I got here, when I committed here. Everybody was talking to me about it, but it wasn’t my goal [to] go for this record,” Mason explained. “It didn’t really come to me until this past year, really when I saw my points and I was like, ‘I could probably really do it and break it.’”

Mason noted that breaking the record was in his top three most memorable things about his collegiate career. He also listed his last season, specifically the team making it to the semifinals of the PSAC tournament. 

“Obviously it didn’t end the way that we wanted it to, but it was a great experience and a great thing for our team — for the program here at Edinboro. So that’s definitely another big thing on my list,” Mason said.

“Enjoying the process with all [of] the teammates that I had and with Coach Bess and Coach Cleary,” Mason listed as another memorable factor of his collegiate career. “It’s been a lot of fun times in those four/five years that I’ve been here. It’s something you’re never going to get back.”

As Mason is now in Canada getting ready for his first season with the Highlanders, the Fighting Scots are gearing up for their 2018-2019 season. After speaking with a few of the current Fighting Scots, Mason’s hope “to keep all of those friendships and memories alive” is already evident.

“I was talking to him (Mason) last week,” said Pat Cleary, head coach of the men’s team. He continued: “Our first practice was Oct. 15 and Oct. 15 was the first time as a head coach that I’ve ran a practice without Jaymon there, and it wasn’t the same.”

Although the lack of Mason’s presence is missing on the Edinboro court, his former teammates and coaches noted how proud they are of the alumnus and all he has accomplished over the years.

“It’s awesome to see them move on, to see Jaymon go from the quiet kid that came here from General McLane High to leaving here as a 2,000-plus scorer and signing a professional deal. It’s awesome,” exclaimed Cleary. He continued: “I’m really proud of him, just to see the growth of him as a person, and then obviously all of the success that he’s had.”

Seniors Anthony Coleman and Jack Frank also expressed their excitement for Mason and his endeavors. Frank played with Mason all four years of his career at Edinboro and Coleman played with him during the 2017-2018 season.

“[I’m] definitely proud of both of them,” stated Coleman about Mason and another former standout player from last season, Keshawn Liggins. Liggins was drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 NBA G-League draft by the Grand Rapids Oct. 20, but was waived before the regular season.

“Hopefully it works out for both of them. I know both of them love playing,” expressed Frank. “This has been their goal and they’ve reached it, and hopefully they can continue it and reach more success.”

Mason said he is grateful for the support system he has had throughout the years. 

“All of my family and friends, they’ve been pushing me since I was in high school, saying I can be something if I just keep on working,” Mason explained. He also thanked his coaches throughout the years, including his high school coach Andy Schulz, along with Bess and Cleary for supporting him, teaching him and for pushing him to work harder over the years.

Among many other things Mason noted, he said he knows he will miss the community he grew up in and has lived in for 20 years. 

“I’m definitely looking forward to it but [I’m going to] miss the community; everybody is so close and everyone supports each other,” he said.

He explained that although he will be continuing his career in Canada, Mason plans to stay in touch with his friends and family back in the states, specifically the Fighting Scots basketball team. 

“I’m going to try to watch as many games [as] possible for the guy’s team this year, try to keep up with them and stuff,” Mason said. “I’m going to definitely try to always be in contact.”

As Mason gears up for his first game as a Highlander on Nov. 16, he reflected. “It’s definitely a dream come true and I’m looking forward to everything. It’s going to be new, obviously, but I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge.”

Madi Gross can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com.

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