The kid from Chicago who has become a New Mexico Mr. Basketball of sorts is heading back to Las Cruces.
Brandon Mason, the former New Mexico State Aggie basketball star under Lou Henson, is heading back down south to join the staff of Marvin Menzies as a special assistant to the head coach.
“I’ve seen how successful his program has been at New Mexico State,” Mason said of the chance to work with Menzies. “What he’s been able to do has been incredible. He’s proven he has the blueprint to win at New Mexico State.”
In his new role, “there will be a lot on his plate,” according to his new boss.
“We’re trying to continue to grow the program and become a national brand again like they were back in the day, and that takes a lot off guys committed with a similar vision,” Menzies said. “Brandon’s a guy who has been here and understands the journey we’re on.”
Not many people can claim the same sort of New Mexico basketball connections as Mason, who, despite not playing high school basketball in this state, has been a part of plenty of Land of Enchantment basketball through the years, beginning with his time playing for the Aggies from 1999-2003.
Most recently, Mason served for one season as assistant coach at New Mexico Highlands University under head coach Craig Snow. Prior to that, Mason worked with Snow on the New Mexico staff as a two-year video coordinator under both Craig Neal and Steve Alford. Mason also has coached the Danny Granger DI Ambassadors AAU basketball team.
The former Aggie also played professionally overseas and for Michael Cooper and the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, has helped run basketball camps around Albuquerque and northern New Mexico with several former Lobo players and was the driving force along with Cameron Bairstow to organize, promote and produce the Lobo All-Star exhibition game in June that drew nearly 10,000 fans to the Pit.
Snow said he couldn’t be happier for Mason after spending the past season with him in Las Vegas, N.M.
“I’m really excited for him getting a chance to go back to his alma mater — a place I know means a lot to him,” Snow said. “He did a great job here helping build a foundation here.”
Menzies said there were plenty of smiles around the basketball offices on Friday when he announced the hire was made.
“A lot of them were nodding their heads, saying, ‘great call, coach,’ ” Menzies said. “They love him here and remember, I knew him as an Aggie first. That’s how I knew him, so it’s great to get him back.”