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Former Highlands star Mason transferring to Duquesne

| Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 10:18 p.m.

Wide-eyed and still emerging, Micah Mason played at Duquesne University's A.J. Palumbo Center when Highlands made the WPIAL title game during his freshman season.

Suddenly, the arena is Mason's new home court — home being the operative word.

Mason, anxious to be closer to family members and friends, and to better manage his health issues, announced Tuesday he is transferring to Duquesne.

Mason left Drake, in Des Moines, Iowa, after one season.

He will have to sit out a year because he is going to another Division I school and will be a sophomore when he returns to action.

“I will be in the gym any time I can,” said Mason, the WPIAL's all-time leader in 3-pointers (346). “It's more of a year to improve, not just rest. It will help me. In college basketball, you have to work for your spot.”

Duquesne, which went 8-21 (1-14 Atlantic 10) this season, did not formally offer Mason a scholarship when the 6-foot-2 guard was at Highlands. This time, though, the Dukes didn't hesitate.

“Once I knew they offered me this time, that made the difference,” Mason said.

Mason said he needed to be nearer to home to better deal with dietary issues related to POTS Syndrome, which he was diagnosed with prior to his senior year at Highlands. He cannot have gluten, grains or corn so his mother, Karen, moved to Des Moines to cook her son's meals and help him get along.

Mason said he will likely move into an apartment on campus. He said his sister, Mackenzie, is considering enrolling at a culinary school in the city and could become his roommate — and personal cook.

Mason was the nation's fourth-best 3-point shooter this season at Drake, making 40 of 79 attempts (50.6 percent). He played in 30 games, with 11 starts, and averaged 5.4 points.

Mason said Pitt requested transfer papers after he was released from Drake, but never contacted him.

“It was either Pitt or Duquesne for me and I don't think Pitt was interested,” Mason said. “They never called.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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