FAYETTEVILLE — Jailyn Mason will be a senior for Arkansas in the upcoming season and Mike Neighbors is pleased to have her back.
Mason tore a tendon in her foot in the offseason prior to the 2019-20 campaign and thus redshirted. She’s healthy now and ready to get back onto the court. She had a big intrasquad showing before the suspension of campus activities scoring 41 points in a game. Neighbors is expecting big things from her.
“I’m so excited to get her off the bench during the game,” Neighbors said. “That is a kid who was like another coach over there. I’m ready for her to be a player again. She sees the game like a coach. I think the year will help her. I say that halfway kiddingly.
“She did so many things for us that we miss. She is our best transition talker on defense. So somebody else had to take that over all last year. We get that back. She was our best what we call fixer on defense. She understood and had a deep, deep grasp of understanding what our opponents were trying to do and an uncanny ability to fix mistakes that we were making or about to make. We get that back.”
While Mason didn’t play in any games last season, she still helped the team Neighbors said.
“What you are going to see in this kid that we never really had a chance to see in the past, as a result of this year being in the redshirt she was consistently our opponent’s best player,” Neighbors said. “So she got chance to be Chennedy Carter. She got a chance to be Ryan Howard. She got to be Ty Harris. She got to stretch her game. As a result she became the kid who got 41.
“I think you are going to see a confident offensive attacker and bring back to us what we already knew in a tremendous teammate, great leader and somebody that helps us so much defensively. We improved last year defensively a considerable amount after Coach Todd (Schaefer) took over kind of as a defensive coordinator, and Jailyn is going to continue to give us another shot in the arm when it comes to that. I think our defensive numbers will improve drastically. She’s a good rebounder and like I said she is a great fixer for us defensively.”
Arkansas has some impressive recruits coming in. Does that have any effect on Mason’s minutes?
“It doesn’t affect Jailyn Mason coming back,” Neighbors said.
As a junior in 2018-19, Mason averaged 7.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and had 71 assists along with 42 steals in 37 games, including 36 starts. She shot 41.2 percent from the field, 38 percent from three-point territory and 73.9 at the free throw line.