As he moves from the Athletic & Personal Development program weight room to the IMG Academy basketball program courts, Anthony Mason Jr. casually raps along with the music thumping in his ears. Seemingly unaffected by a nearly two-hour strength workout, Mason's ready to move straight into his on-court workout.
After being sidelined for nearly six months with a shoulder injury, one can't blame Mason for being anxious to get more court time.
"As soon as the doctor cleared me, I jumped in the car and drove (to IMG Academy) from Memphis," he said. "I'm going on five weeks here now.
"(IMG Academy) cares about the athlete. They care for your body. They're watching everything. They won't let you hurt yourself. They only make you improve."
Recovering from labrum repair surgery, Mason, a former standout at St. John's, has a reason to recover as quickly as possible even if the NBA remains in a lockout -- he was selected to represent the U.S. in the Pan American Games that start Oct. 26.
The 6-7 forward, though, has even bigger dreams. After a stint on the Miami Heat roster as an undrafted rookie and putting up a solid line of 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists as a rookie in the D-League, Mason knows he has a place in the NBA.
As he works on his speed and "explosive power" with Performance Specialist Steffen Visk and endures two-a-days on the court to sharpen his ball-handling, shooting and developing a more efficient game with Dan Barto (Head Trainer of the IMG Academy basketball program), Mason keeps the faith that all of the hours will result in a roster spot.
"I got a taste of the bright lights last year," he said. "I know I'm an NBA player."