Saturday, October 4, 2008

Meet the Thunder,Take 2

Coming home can mean many things. When I graduated from boot camp, the trip home reminded me how much Iowa is different than California. It also surprised me that there were so many people who wanted to see the 'Marine' change in me. I didn't feel any different, but I had changed because my priorities were not the same as before.

Here's hoping a return to Oklahoma finds Desmond Mason anxious to prove you can go home again. One of the newest additions to the Thunder, Mason's NBA career has truly come full-circle. A standout in college for the Oklahoma St. Cowboys, he was drafted in the first round by Seattle in 2000. After first being traded to Milwaukee and then to New Orleans, Mason found himself involved in another trade in August.

This time, however, Mason is returning to the team who drafted him and the state where he became a fan favorite. Just in case anyone might think being dealt again was a bad thing, Mason recently changed his number back to 34, which he wore in college. Going into the final year of his contract, Mason's role with Oklahoma City is two-fold. The veteran will give the Thunder a defensive lift, and he has averaged 12.5 points a season in his eight-year career.

Mason will provide something to his teammates that won't show up in the boxscore. The new franchise has no identity to this point, and it will be up to Mason and others to prove to the fans two important things. Not only is the team glad to be in Oklahoma City, but win or lose the team plays hard. Mason is just the type of player to lead by example. The Thunder have proven early on that it doesn't matter what happened last year, the basketball future is now in OKC.

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