Jefferson Mason, who played at Minnesota State University, Mankato from 2009-11, is set to be inducted to the Minnesota State Hall of Fame individually as well as with the 2010-11 Men’s Basketball team next month.
Mason recalls his most memorable game he played during his time at MSU was the championship game against Fort Lewis in the NCAA Division II Central Region finals in 2011 hosted at MSU’s home court in Bresnan Arena (Taylor Center).
“It was standing-room only in the gym. People were lined up all the way down the street for the game,” Mason said. “Not only was the community there for us, not only did we play really good basketball, it also propelled us to our first elite eight and eventual final four. It was also one of the last games I played in the Taylor Center and one of the biggest in school’s history.”
During that game Mason had a total of 26 points and 17 rebounds, his career. He later received 2010 NSIC Defensive Player of the Year. That game brought in a crowd of 3,926 fans while the team ended up playing in the NCAA Division II Final Four for the first time in Maverick history. The team ultimately fell to the Bellarmine Knights in SpringField, MA.
Originally from Crystal, Minn., Mason started to play basketball seriously around age 12. He began his collegiate career at Northern Colorado, then later transferred to MSU in 2009.
After his time at MSU concluded, Mason, a 6-foot-6-inch All-American, went on to play professionally in Germany, Romania, Luxembourg and also NBA D League for the Dallas Mavericks.
Coming full circle, Mason said he was surprised when he received a phone call from Paul Allan earlier this year.
“I was ecstatic when I found out and It brought me to tears because it was a combination of the work I did in my basketball career from a youth level, to high school, to college to then playing professionally,” Mason said. “To be inducted into the hall of fame shows the time, effort, and energy you put in. I’m excited for the event and to know I’ll be etched in history forever is just a surreal feeling.”
Creating everlasting memories with the community and teammates that historic season, Mason is proud of many things his team accomplished.
“The biggest thing I’m proud of is the memories we’ve created for the city of Mankato. I’m 34 almost 35 and I’ve had some students who are actually at Mankato now and are like, ‘Hey I watched you when I was 12-years-old.’ So those memories that were created for the younger athletes through our team and coaches I think are the most impactful and the best thing that came out of it.”
Still impacting the community today, Mason spent time coaching basketball after his professional career.
“All throughout my years playing professionally I always coached when I came back and that initially started with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx Youth Academy. I directed camps for them and their pro players for five to six years,” said Mason.
When he retired from his professional career Mason went on to pursue Dr. Dish Basketball where he currently holds a seat on their leadership team and works as the Director of Basketball Experience.
“My role is to create amazing basketball experiences, whether that’s skills and drills, social media content, or gaining partners like Luka Doncic and other NBA and WNBA players that bring credibility to our company.”
Mason says he’s excited to reunite with his team.
“I found out first that the team was going to be inducted and I was even more excited to hear that, than the individual induction, because I was always a team guy. All the individual stuff I received has come from team success,” said Mason.
Now over a decade later Mason, along with six other individuals and his teammates are set to be inducted into the Minnesota State Hall of Fame back on MSU’s campus Sept. 23.
Header Photo: Jefferson Mason played at Minnesota State University, Mankato from 2009-11. Himself along with his teammates on the MSU 2010-11 Men’s basketball team will be inducted into the Minnesota State Hall of Fame on Sept. 23. (Courtesy Photo)
Write to Julia Barton at Julia.Barton@mnsu.edu