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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

All in the family: Masons born to be Wildcats

Courtesy+of+Mia+MasonHarvey+Jr.%2C+Mia%2C+Jeannine+and+Trey+Mason%2C+from+left+to+right%2C+pose+for+a+family+portrait.+Harvey+Jr.+and+the+Jeannine+family+will+lead+the+Homecoming+Parade+as+grand+marshals+Saturday+morning+on+the+UA+Mall.

Courtesy of Mia Mason

Harvey Jr., Mia, Jeannine and Trey Mason, from left to right, pose for a family portrait. Harvey Jr. and the Jeannine family will lead the Homecoming Parade as grand marshals Saturday morning on the UA Mall.

As Jeannine and Harvey Mason Jr. welcomed the birth of their second child at the University Medical Center, a familiar face appeared on the hospital room television screen.

There was Lute Olson on TV, sitting next to Jay Leno of “The Tonight Show”. The late-night host and the patriarch of Arizona basketball chatted and traded laughs throughout the interview until Leno handed Olson a can of hair spray.

“Lute Spray,” as Leno called it.

Anyone watching at home, or in a hospital room, got the joke. Just 24 hours earlier, Olson had suffered one of his worst hair days when Bennet Davison, Arizona’s then-starting forward, scuffed up the coach’s perfectly combed white cut.

Olson didn’t mind at the time. He had just led Arizona basketball to win a national championship.

This is the slight sliver of time into which Mia Mason was born. As the daughter of two former UA athletes—Jeannine, a volleyball player, and Harvey Jr., a member of Arizona’s 1988 Final Four team—Mia was already part of the Arizona family.

The unique birthdate, April 2, 1997, almost predetermined that Mia too would be a Wildcat for life.

Mia and her older brother Trey lived in Tucson for the next few years before the family moved to Southern California.

That’s where Mia and Trey adopted the same sports their parents competed in at the UA.

Mia picked up volleyball at age 9 and quickly began working with college coaches and former Olympians.

“I wanted her to discover the sport naturally without me pushing her into it, which wasn’t difficult growing up in Manhattan Beach,” Jeannine said. “My focus was to push her in off-court training and conditioning so that when she got to college she would be in the best shape possible.”

As for the males of the household, Trey and Harvey Jr. would wake up at 6 a.m. each day, go to the gym and shoot hoops.

“We would never take a day off. Christmas, New Year’s—it didn’t really matter,” Trey said. “We’d get intense, have great games and then sit down and have breakfast afterwards.”

This consistent training routine continued through Mia and Trey’s adolescence with one notable exception: trips to watch Arizona basketball and football.

The Masons, who keep a second home in Tucson, traveled anywhere from the Bahamas to New York City to watch Arizona basketball play and made regular trips to catch football games.

Tucson remained a home away from home.

When the time came for Trey and Mia to make their college choices, it wasn’t as easy as picking out your favorite Arizona polo from the UA Bookstore.

Both were recruited to compete for other colleges; Trey received basketball offers from Santa Clara and Portland while Mia strongly considered playing volleyball at Santa Clara.

Trey was first to decide as the older sibling. As a standout guard for Loyola High School, he impressed the Arizona basketball staff with his tireless work ethic.

While Trey didn’t have the size to compete for regular playing time at Arizona, head coach Sean Miller promised him a spot on the team as a walk-on.

Trey took Miller’s offer. Santa Clara and Portland had plenty to sell, but neither felt like home.

Mia, now a freshman, followed in her brother’s footsteps a few years later by committing to Arizona’s sand volleyball program. Her reasoning? The same as Trey’s.

“I kind of knew my whole life that I wanted to come here,” Mia said. “Everyone else I looked at, it didn’t really feel right.”

This weekend serves as the latest Homecoming gathering for the Mason family, only it’ll be a little different than most.

For one, Mia will actually be in California competing with her sand volleyball teammates in a preseason tournament.

Back in Tucson, her parents and brother will lead the Homecoming Parade as grand marshals.

It was a clear choice given that the entire family remains visibly active in the UA community.

Harvey Jr., a six-time Grammy-winning producer, visits whenever he can, while Jeannine serves on the Advisory Board of the UA Steele Children’s Research Center.

Trey, meanwhile, may be the most recognizable face of the family these days. He can often be seen celebrating on TV after an Arizona basketball win.

That is, after all, when he and his family feel most at home.


Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.


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