ST. GEORGE — Mason Chase, a Deseret News first team all-state selection and St. George News first team all-region selection, has committed to play basketball at Dixie State University this fall.
The athletic guard led the Thunder in scoring with 16.7 points per game and was second in rebounding with just under four per game.
Chase brings some athleticism to the Trailblazers while also adding an ability to get the ball in the basket. Chase showed a number of times this season how he can take over games with his ability to get to the rim with ease and also to shoot the ball from 15 feet and beyond. He is no doubt a great addition for the Trailblazers.
Coming into his senior year, Chase had been recruited through his AAU season, but offers didn’t start coming in till the school year started.
“I played summer basketball, AAU, and I got my first real look through that,” Chase said. “I really didn’t have any offers until my senior year of high school and right before that. I was talking to a couple local schools, Snow and Westminster, but when Dixie offered me a preferred walk-on spot about two weeks ago, that kind of took the top spot on my list.”
Chase continued to talk about how excited he was to become a Trailblazer and with good reason. DSU played a very up and down style of basketball this season. They got out in transition and played fast, which should bode well for Chase.
His athleticism and size help him finish around the rim, but he also has the ability to get out and run.
“They play the way I like to play, getting up and down, so it honestly was a no-brainer for me,” Chase said.
It also helps that the Trailblazers will be making the jump to Division I and the Western Athletic Conference next season. It’s every player’s dream to compete at the Division I ranks, and Chase said it played a role in his decision.
When you are consistently practicing against top-level players, you’ll be expected to rise to the occasion. Along with that, players develop at a higher rate when in that environment.
“That was definitely part of it,” Chase said about DSU going Division I. “I want to go to a place where I can develop into the best player I can be, and if I’m practicing against Division I level kids every single day I feel like I’ll have no choice but to get to the same level as them. It forces me to play better.”
Chase accepted a preferred walk-on spot with the Trailblazers, which means that nothing is guaranteed for the Desert Hills standout. He’ll have to work his way into the rotation at Dixie State.
“It’s going to be harder for me, but, with this walk-on spot especially, nothing is guaranteed,” Chase said. “I’m going to have to earn and fight for every second I get on the court, nothing is going to be handed to me. I’ve got to go take everything.”
Another aspect to look into for Chase will be the idea of taking a redshirt season to develop. A redshirt year can be a big decision for players that may need another year to develop. It gives players time to work on their game, put on some muscle mass in the weight room and get used to the pace of the college game.
That difference in pace between high school basketball and college basketball can be a bit of a shock, and Chase said that’s another reason he is open to taking a redshirt year.
“I’ve talked to coach about that,” Chase said of the redshirt. “What he said was, we’re going to practice and see where I’m at when the season starts. I honestly would be very open to being a redshirt. Taking another year to develop, in my mind, is only a good thing.”
Another thing to note is that Dixie State will not be postseason eligible until the 2024-25 season. This means if Chase were to take that redshirt year, it’d put him on a five-year path with the possibility of making the postseason and the Division I national tournament in his senior season.
He’s also been connected with the program at Dixie State for a while now. Chase was a regular at DSU home games and played with head coach Jon Judkins’ son, Justin, at Desert Hills. That connection and relationship should only help Chase in his transition to the college level.
“It’s awesome,” Chase said of his relationship with Judkins. “I actually told Justin before I told his dad. I love the Judkins, their family is great, and we’ve been friends for a long time.”
With Chase making his decision right now, it gives him plenty of time to prepare mentally for the transition and focus on the next step in his basketball career. The proximity to home should help as well, which was a big draw for him. One thing he couldn’t overstate was his excitement to be a Trailblazer.
As for his end goal at Dixie State, Chase said he just wants to play as much as he can.
“I want to develop into the best basketball player I can be. And by the time I’m done, I want to make sure I’ve left a good mark,” Chase said.
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