Boys head basketball coach Jeremy Mason can be usually found in the afternoon playing a game of PIG with fellow coaches Eric Gracia and Erik Grayson.
Mason can go up, and usually hit the outside shot from beyond the three-point shot. Now, he just needs his boys basketball players to follow his lead this coming basketball season.
Mason, who replaced Brett Cole as the boys head basketball coach, is ready for this opportunity.
“It’s a blessing and something I’ve always yearned for,” Mason said. “I thank coach [Brian] Barnett and Ms. [Patty] Rrodriguez, our principal, for giving me the opportunity to see what I can do in this position.”
The Bulldogs went 10-15 last season and came close to making the playoffs. Top scorers Kobe Wrice and Darius Watts are gone but Mason isn’t worried.
“We lost Kobe and Darius, and a lot of guys,” he said. “To see them go is tough but Brett did a really good job of developing some other players like Raziel Scott. He’s going to be huge. I had an opportunity to coach Jerry Price when he was a freshman and he’s going to be huge. Paul Gandara will be coming back with us.”
The Bulldogs will start practice on Wednesday. The season opens Nov. 11 against Carrollton Creekview at Creekview.
“In terms of the program as a whole, I thought Brett got the program to make great leaps and bounds,” said Mason, 30. “I’m trying to take over that momentum and hopefully, get us an opportunity to get us into a playoff position.”
The preseason schedule will be “grueling,” Mason said. It was set up by Coach Cole before he left. The opponents include Skyline, Parish Episcopal, Bishop Dunne, Carrollton Creekview and Arlington Lamar.
“It’s extremely tough, but it should have us well prepared for district play,” Mason said. “Hopefully, we can keep our composure and get better. If we do that, we should have an opportunity come district to make some noise.
“It’s going to be a major learning curve. I do things completely different than what Brett did. I expect us to have a lot of growing pains. But again, come December, I expect us to be in season form that’s ready to compete come district time. I keep harping on district time because it’s like an entirely new season come Dec. 22 when we face Woodrow Wilson.”
Mason said Woodrow is probably the favorite in District 12-5A.
“Right now, I assume everybody expects Woodrow Wilson to be tops in the district. And after that, with no disrepect to anybody else, and I think everybody else feels the same way, it’s open,” Mason said. “They did a great job of giving teams like North Dallas and Sunset opportunities in a district that may not be as strong.”
The 6-2 and slender Mason comes from a basketball family, and he’s following in his father’s footsteps. His father was a basketball coach at Ennis High School for 20 years, including last five as head coach, and now he’s the head coach at Terrell High School. His grandfather played on a state championship team for Lamesa High School in West Texas. His father and his brothers also made a state run with Lamesa in 1985.
“I look forward to getting the family name back to the state tournament,” Mason said.
In his fifth year at North Dallas, Mason was a teacher’s assistant with the special education program for four years. But he earned his probationary certificate recently in the alternative teaching program, and now he has his own classroom. He teaches health science for grades 9th through 12th.
“Our administration team [Barnett and Rodriguez] have been extremely helpful,” Mason said. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I’ll continue to make mistakes. But they’ve been there to pick me up. That’s another thing that makes North Dallas great. When you’re down and out, there’s somebody there.
“This is my first ever job in a school district besides Ennis where I substituted for a year,” he said. “I don’t count that. It was good experience but nothing like Dallas ISD. I love it here. I love the fact that it’s challenging. You’re met with resource issues, facility issues, transportation issues and it’s great because you aspired to be great. Starting at a place like this can make you great. I really believe that. I love it. I love every opportunity that it has done for me. It will always be near and dear to my heart.”