May 21, 2014, 5:26 PM EDT
Chris Casey’s first season at Niagara was a difficult one, with the Purple Eagles’ lack of depth resulting in the team winning just seven games and finishing last in the MAAC. One bright spot was the presence of redshirt junior guard Antoine Mason, who averaged 25.6 points per game and was a second-team All-MAAC selection.
Unfortunately for Casey and his staff they won’t get a second year to work with Mason, as it was reported by Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports that the guard will be transferring. The school later made its own announcement regarding Mason’s departure. With the guard having his bachelor’s degree, he’ll be eligible to play immediately at the school he chooses to attend next season. And given his ability to score, Mason will receive his fair share of attention on the transfer market.
But his departure is a tough one for Niagara, which loses its most consistent source of offense from a season ago.
“I know Antoine enjoyed playing here, and I’m sure this was a difficult decision for him and his family,” Casey said in the statement. “Antoine played a big role in our basketball program for the past four years and we are proud that he earned his bachelor’s degree from Niagara University.
“Now it is time for us to move forward with the players who are committed to continuing the tremendous legacy of the Niagara University Purple Eagles.”
The question for Niagara: how will they go about accounting for the loss of the nation’s second-leading scorer? Mason’s a big loss obviously, and his decision means that the Purple Eagles will lose three of their top four scorers with the lone returnee being forward Ramone Snowden (8.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg). Another returnee of note is point guard Wesley Myers, who was already needed to step forward with Tahjere McCall transferring at the end of the season.
Niagara’s added two freshmen thus far in guard Matt Scott and forward DayJar Dickson.
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