Roger Mason Jr. refused to place any blame on the league or his team for the mishap on Friday in Milwaukee that resulted in him suiting up, playing, scoring and then getting ejected because he wasn’t eligible to play.
The problem began at the league office, which submits official rosters for teams before each game. Mason wasn’t on the active roster list and neither the Wizards’ public relations staff nor Coach Flip Saunders caught the blunder. Saunders signed the document despite it having just 14 names on the 15 available spaces and accepted blame after the Wizards lost, 102-81, to the Bucks.
“A technical glitch occurred and the omission was not picked up in a timely manner by team and game personnel,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank said.
Frank also denied a report that the error occurred because the league was installing a new data system and still had Mason listed with his former team, the New York Knicks.
Mason had played nearly nine minutes in the first two losses, but Saunders had planned to give him more time against the Bucks to provide another veteran presence on the floor.
“I feel really good, my game feels great. I was looking forward to making a contribution to our team,” Mason said after the game.
Mason made a turnaround jumper shortly after he entered the game, but the points were awarded to Rashard Lewis.
“That’s even better for me,” Lewis said with a laugh. “No, but it was crazy. He was getting ready to get a chance to play and show that he can help this team because he’s a knock-down jump shooter. He can spread the floor, he can open it up.”
After the jumper by Mason – or is that Lewis? – the Wizards were outscored by 18 points the rest of the half.
“I don’t think it put us in a funk, but I think it put him in a funk,” Lewis said. “I could see it in his eyes. He was extremely hot about it. He was upset, but at the same time, he was talking to the guys at halftime, talking to us after the game and trying to keep everybody motivated.”
Hamady Ndiaye will soon be omitted from the active roster, with the Wizards planning to send him to their Developmental League affiliate, the Iowa Energy.
Ndiaye, a 6-foot-11, second-year backup center, did not appear in any games this season. In 11 games, including two starts, for the D-League’s Dakota Wizards, Ndiaye averaged 4.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 18.4 minutes