Auburn coach Bruce Pearl might not be able to recruit yet because of his NCAA show-cause, but the Tigers have picked up perhaps their biggest target yet on the recruiting trail. Niagara graduate transfer point guard Antoine Mason announced on Wednesday that he will be headed to Auburn next year.
Mason was the second-leading scorer last season at 25.6 points per game, and after the graduation of Creighton's Doug McDermott, he'll be the leading returning scorer in college basketball this year. But Mason, the son of former Knicks star Anthony Mason, did a lot more than score last year. That made him one of the most fascinating transfers on the market, as I wrote in late May.
Niagara went 7-26 in 2013-14, but their entire offense ran around Mason. He wasn't all that efficient - finishing with a solid, but not great 47.9 percent effective field goal percentage - but he did almost everything for the Purple Eagles. He was ninth nationally in percentage of available minutes played (94.1 percent), 31st in usage and 21st in shot percentage, according to KenPom. He was also a very good ball-handler and tremendous at drawing fouls - he drew eight (!!!) per 40 minutes to rank sixth nationally.
Scoring wasn't the Tigers' problem last year, and they ranked a respectable 88th nationally in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com. However, Mason will provide Auburn with a quality go-to player on offense. The Tigers also picked up Marshall transfer Kareem Canty to play point guard, but since Mason is eligible immediately and for only one season, this sets up perfectly for Pearl and company.