6:45 PM PST, January 10, 2013
Sitting at the top level of the gymnasium bleachers, Harvey Mason Jr. leaves no doubt about his joy as a father watching his son, Trey, play basketball for Los Angeles Loyola.
Yes, he has been nominated for Grammy Awards, is recognized as one of the world's most accomplished music producers and songwriters, gets to hang out with the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Aretha Franklin and Justin Timberlake, and once averaged 28 points for his high school basketball team in the 1980s, but the elder Mason looks so content just playing the role of proud dad.
"Sitting in the stands is definitely a great thing for me," Mason said. "I get the chance to both appreciate as a dad and look back at what it was like for me being on the court and looking up at my dad in the stands. And then also seeing the hours of hard work Trey has put in, all the mornings before school, the thousands of jump shots that he has shot. And when he does it in a game after we've just worked in the gym, it's one of my proudest moments."
The 6-foot-2 Mason has surpassed his father as one of the best three-point scoring threats in Southern California in his senior year. He's averaging 16.9 points and has made 44 three-pointers in 14 games. Opponents have begun to use box-and-one defenses against him, something his father faced during his days at Crescenta Valley High in the 1980s, when he was a three-time All-CIF player and there was no three-point line. The senior Mason was more of a slasher and scorer and went on to play four years for Lute Olson at Arizona.
The younger Mason takes his shots when open and is beginning to develop physically, just like his father, who grew two inches after high school to be 6-4.
"I love to see how things are turning out for someone who's worked so hard," Harvey Mason said.
Patience has been a strength of the younger Mason. As a seventh-grader, he went almost a whole year without shooting from long range as he worked on changing his shooting motion from starting at his chest to getting it above his head.
"It's a process a lot of shooters have to go through," Trey said. "It took about a year of just shooting nowhere beyond the free-throw line. It was a long and tough year. I didn't do a lot of scoring that year. I was a facilitator and worked real hard to improve my shot."
Every step of the way, his father was there to help him. They spent hours in the gym together.
"He's been working with me every day since I've been 11, 12, 13 years old," Trey said. "All the credit is to him for making me the player I am today. The biggest thing he's instilled in me is my work ethic. And my desire to get better as well as him teaching me the skills and fundamentals of basketball."
Said Harvey Mason: "Finally, he got his strength and slowly started being able to shoot from a distance. I said, 'It's going to pay off. Stick with it. Stick with the fundamentals,' and now as a shooter in high school, he has pretty good fundamentals, and it definitely paid off."
Suddenly, it's the son beating the father in games of one-on-one.
"He's far surpassed me," the father said. "He can jump higher than I can, he's faster than I ever was and is a better shooter from a distance. It's hard losing to him, but I'm happy every time I lose, because that means he's getting better."
Said Trey: "He was able to impose his will a little bit and use his strength. Now I'm getting to the point I'm a little bit stronger, a little bit bigger and he has a hard time keeping up with some of my moves. It's always a close game, though. He can hang in there."
Sports is big in the family. Trey's sister, Mia, played for Los Angeles Marymount's state championship girls' volleyball team as a sophomore. His mother, Jeannine, played volleyball at Arizona.
But Trey doesn't have the musical expertise exhibited by his father or grandfather, Harvey Mason, a noted jazz drummer.
"I love music," Trey said. "It's my second passion behind basketball. I just don't think I got that musical gene like my dad. My dad says [my mom] is tone-deaf, so I probably got it from her."
Harvey Mason Jr. produced Hudson's recording of "One Shining Moment" that was played so often during the 2010 NCAA tournament.
Now the son is having a season of "Many Shining Moments."
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