Dec. 12, 2013
By Jon Cooper
Blocking guys out comes naturally for Shaquille Olajuwon Mason — with that first and middle name it kind of should, even if he prefers football to basketball. Mason has been good at it since age six, when he began playing football.
There are few who do it better, on Georgia Tech or in the entire ACC, than the 6-1, 305-pound junior from Columbia, Tenn., who will be making his 25th consecutive start and playing in his third bowl game on Dec. 30, when Georgia Tech takes on Ole Miss in the 2013 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
Sting Daily recently chatted with Mason, aka “Shaq,” aka “Diesel,” about getting through Finals Week, getting to continue what’s become a Georgia Tech tradition and getting to share playing time up front with another NBA legend — at least name-wise.
Mason Significant Facts:
Games Played: 37
Games Started: 25
First Start: 9/1/11 vs. Western Carolina
First Start: 12/31/11 vs. Utah in Hyundai Sun Bowl
FIRST DOWN: How did Finals Week go?
MASON: It went pretty good. I’m just glad they’re over with, honestly, and I can get my focus back on football. We basically have to [balance football and studies] all year so we manage it well but Finals Week is a little harder to manage because it’s the big part. It’s the one that counts the most.
SECOND DOWN: How’d you celebrate it being over?
MASON: Out there on the field today (laughs)
THIRD DOWN: You were named First-Team All-ACC, making it seven straight seasons Georgia Tech has had a member of the O-Line make it. How does it feel to uphold that tradition?
MASON: It’s truly an honor, no doubt. We all come out here and work hard. So it’s an honor. I guess you could say it’s a tradition but it goes back to just working. Hard work every day paying off, camp, film, all of that just comes into play when you see that at the end of the year.
FOURTH DOWN: You’ll be the senior member of the offensive line next year. Who did you learn from when you first came to Tech?
MASON: Most definitely it’s [Omorgie] Uzzi. He brought me in freshman year. He was my host when I was in high school. I came in freshman year and he took me under his wing. He taught me all the do’s and don’t’s. He was really just like a big brother while he was here. I talk to him daily. He said he was proud of me. He said it didn’t surprise him at all.
EXTRA POINT: Georgia Tech has a Shaq and a Chamberlain on the offensive line (redshirt sophomore Bryan Chamberlain). Are there any other NBA legends you’d like to join the Tech O-Line?
MASON: Man, it would be nice to have a Russell out there. (Laughs)
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