The conversation among Forest Park junior guard Breyana Mason and the University of Virginia women’s basketball coaches after the Cavaliers’ home game Sunday was pretty much like their many other talks. Recent games, the recruiting process. The usual.
This time, though, the coaches did not ask Mason if she were any closer to making a college decision. They had learned by now that she was taking a deliberate approach.
“It was like, guess we’ll see you next time,” Mason said.
Right before she left, Mason decided to share some news: She told the coaches she was committing to the Cavaliers, choosing them over Georgetown, Maryland, Miami, Virginia Tech, Penn State and Louisiana State.
“I think they were surprised,” said Mason, who cited her “immediate connection” with first-year Cavaliers Coach Joanne Boyle and her staff as a main factor in choosing Virginia. “When I told them, they were just shocked and so happy.”
It was quite an eventful weekend for Mason. On Friday night, her Bruins lost a key Virginia AAA Cardinal District game by blowout at Potomac. On Saturday, she scored a career-high 39 points in 72-63 win over St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) at McNamara, a Tina Thompson She Got Game Classic record. And then Sunday she committed.
Had she not announced her choice Sunday, the recruiting of Mason might have further intensified after her performance Saturday night, when she shot 71 percent from the floor in a dazzling all-around performance.
“I just wanted to go ahead and make my decision,” Mason said. “I wanted to choose a school that was recruiting me from the summer time and that I could truly feel was interested in me and wanted me to come there.
“I feel like I’ve had a big weight lifted off my shoulders in a sense. I can just focus on my game and this season and on getting better and on academics.”
The courting of the 5-foot-9 Mason, who carries a grade-point average over 4.0 and is projected as a point guard, got a huge bump in August when she was named to the all-tournament team at the U16 Nike Nationals championships in South Carolina. Her Fairfax Stars team, coached by Aggie McCormick, lost in the championship there.
After that, colleges began peppering Forest Park Coach Rebecca Tillett with calls.
“As the interest rolled in after the invitational, U.Va. was immediate, like how fast can we get her down here,” said Tillett, who was heavily involved in the recruiting process and accompanied the Masons on their visits. “They were very patient with her. They’ve wanted her since the day they offered.”
“She just knew that it was time,” Tillett said. “She really wanted to do it in person, which I think speaks to her character.”