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The Porter Moser era has begun for Oklahoma Sooners basketball, and Blue Valley Northwest senior Alston Mason is the first sign of the revolution that’s come to Norman.
Mason announced his commitment to the Sooners via Twitter Wednesday evening.
“I just know that Oklahoma just loves basketball,” Mason said. “Their fans are amazing and the environment is amazing. Also, it’s not too far away from home so it’s a great situation for me.”
The environment surrounding OU basketball isn’t all that drew Mason to the Sooner State. New head coach Moser was also driving force in securing the three-star point guard’s commitment.
Moser accepted the head coaching job at Oklahoma on April 2, ending a 10-year stint at Loyola-Chicago, during which he famously took the Ramblers on a Cinderella run to the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four in 2018 as an 11-seed.
Moser had initially extended an offer to Mason when he was still at Loyola. But in the interest of full disclosure, he also told Mason then that he might not be in Chicago much longer.
“I was kind of confused. I was on the fence between Loyola and New Mexico State,” Mason said. “I knew that since he was going to a new job I was going to have to make a decision soon, and I didn’t know if it was going to be Loyola or another school, like New Mexico State.”
A few days after that conversation, the 52-year-old coach was back on the phone with Mason, telling the senior that was he heading to Oklahoma and wanted Mason to join the Sooners.
Mason decided to accept the offer, opting for Oklahoma over interest from other schools, including Wichita State, Colorado, Kansas State and Iowa State.
Former Blue Valley Northwest standout and Loyola starter Clayton Custer also played a key role in bringing Mason to OU.
Custer transferred to Loyola under Moser in 2015 after a year at Iowa State. Custer scored just 13 points in 12 games for the Cyclones, but became a major component in Loyola’s Final Four run and has since joined Moser’s staff as OU’s director of player Development. (Blue Valley Northwest graduate Ben Richardson also played for Loyola during the Final Four run.)
Custer is set to remain on Moser’s coaching staff in Oklahoma and has been in close contact with Mason.
“I know that he’s a good guy to look forward to and look into about all that stuff,” Mason said. “So I talked to him all the time about what Coach Moser does, what he looks into in plays.”
Oklahoma fans are excited about landing the 6-foot-1 guard, and rightfully so. Although he’s a true point guard, Mason also possesses the ability to play shooting guard. He said he has been told by Moser that he will probably play both roles at Oklahoma.
Mason finished his senior year at Northwest averaging 22.4 points on 53% shooting from the field and 44% from three-point range. His efforts earned him MVP honors on the All-Eastern Kansas League’s first team.
Because of COVID-19, however, Mason was unable to compete in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, relegating one of Kansas’ hottest prospects to relative anonymity. The website 247Sports ranked Mason 264th in the nation and just the seventh-best prospect in Kansas.
“I feel like my name should have been way higher,” he said. “I didn’t get to play in the EYBL season, so I didn’t really get a chance to show everyone what I could do.”
Now, Mason has the chance to make a real name for himself.
Performing in the Big 12, underneath some of the brightest lights in college basketball, figures to be no easy feat. But Mason has already talked to Custer about the challenges of playing in the Big 12 and has been reassured by the 2014 BVNW graduate that he has the skill-set to thrive.
“I’m excited,” Mason said. “I like having a challenge. I think it’s a good challenge for me, so I’m excited to get ready and get playing in there on one of the biggest stages in one of the best conferences.”