In the months leading up to the 2017-’18 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the 'BTPowerhouse 25,' which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
At No. 3 in our BTPowerhouse player rankings, we bring in Minnesota star point guard Nate Mason. Mason was voted to the Preseason All-Big Ten team and is coming off a fantastic year for the Gophers and with some talented and experienced players returning, he will look to expand upon that and break out this upcoming season.
'BTPowerhouse 25' - #3 Nate Mason:
- Eligibility: Senior
- Career Totals: 80 games, 2,912 minutes, 1,214 points, 294 rebounds, 382 assists
- 2016-’17 Averages: 34.5 min, 15.2 pts, 3.6 rebs, 5.0 asts, 0.1 blks, 1.4 stls
- Positional Role: Point Guard
Mason has had a stellar three years thus far at Minnesota and has quickly become a top player in the Big Ten. After looking at his career statistics for the Gophers, the main stat that jumps out is the 2,912 minutes played. That means through his first three years, he has averaged 31 minutes played per 40-minute game.
The coaching staff has had a strong confidence in Mason since he arrived, and it has yet to waiver, with him averaging the fourth most minutes played in the Big Ten last year and it is not a far jump to believe he will be in the top three during his senior campaign.
As I stated above, one of Mason’s key strengths is his fitness and energy. He can give you 100 percent at all times on the court and he does not leave the game often. With him leading the offense and showing this to his team, he gives them an extra boost of energy and confidence and fuels them all the way to the end. He is also a very consistent scorer and has great vision, which helps him keep the defense on their toes and opens up lanes for other scorers like Amir Coffey and Jordan Murphy.
With an experienced team, look for Mason’s points to go up and assists to go up immensely. He also has been working and improving every year, especially in his free throw shooting. His Freshman year he was 61 percent from the line, his sophomore year he was 78 and last year he was 81. His points, rebounds and assists have also gone up every season, as has his workload.
Areas for Improvement
Mason is a great overall player, but every collegiate athlete has their things they need to work on. For Mason, that would be his shooting. He is a solid scorer, but he was only 37 percent from the field last year and 35 percent from three. These numbers are not bad, but they can certainly improve to help his efficiency on the court.
These are also the only statistics that have gone down as Mason has gotten older, as he was 40 percent from the field and 38 percent from three his freshman year. If he improves on these numbers, he will quickly be on the national watch, if he is not already.
Mason is going to be the experienced leader for a Minnesota team that figures to be near the top of the Big Ten this season. If he can build on what he has done over the last few seasons, hopes should be high. Mason will have a great shot to repeat as a first team All-Big Ten player and an outside shot at Big Ten Player of the Year.
‘BT Powerhouse 25’ Rankings:
- #26-31 - Players That Just Missed The Cut
- #24 - Juwan Morgan (Indiana Hoosiers)
- #24 - Dakota Mathias (Purdue Boilermakers)
- #23 - Jordan Bohannon (Iowa Hawkeyes)
- #22 - Anthony Cowan (Maryland Terrapins)
- #21 - Reggie Lynch (Minnesota Golden Gophers)
- #20 - Kevin Huerter (Maryland Terrapins)
- #19 - Carsen Edwards (Purdue Boilermakers)
- #18 - Robert Johnson (Indiana Hoosiers)
- #17 - Isaac Haas (Purdue Boilermakers)
- #16 - Tyler Cook (Iowa Hawkeyes)
- #15 - Justin Jackson (Maryland Terrapins)
- #14 - Jaren Jackson (Michigan State Spartans)
- #13 - Corey Sanders (Rutgers Scarlet Knights)
- #12 - Jae’Sean Tate (Ohio State Buckeyes)
- #11 - Tony Carr (Penn State Nittany Lions)
- #10 - Scottie Lindsey (Northwestern Wildcats)
- #9 - Amir Coffey (Minnesota Golden Gophers)
- #8 - Jordan Murphy (Minnesota Golden Gophers)
- #7 - Nick Ward (Michigan State Spartans)
- #6 - Bryant McIntosh (Northwestern Wildcats)
- #5 - Moritz Wagner (Michigan Wolverines)
- #4 - Vincent Edwards (Purdue Boilermakers)
- #3 - Nate Mason (Minnesota Golden Gophers)
- #2 - to be continued...