The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

“He’s a dog”: Harrell finishes career a baller, brother and friend


Senior guard Mason Harrell waves to Bobcat fans, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2023, at Strahan Arena. 

After an illustrious career that saw him finish first in games played, second in games started, third in career assists and sixth in career points scored, graduate guard Mason Harrell brings his time at Texas State to a close.
Harrell is the sixth player in Texas State program history to be a three-time all-conference selection, and he helped guide his team to back-to-back Sun Belt Conference championships in the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons.
Despite his career accolades and success in a Bobcat jersey, fellow graduate student and teammate Nighael Ceaser thinks of him as something more than a basketball player.
“When I think of Mason, it’s more like a best friend, more like a brother,” Ceaser said. “Somebody I went through a lot with, learned a lot with. There are game-winners, I see the hard work and can envision a bunch of moments, but when I think of Mason, he’s a brother.”
Harrell recognizes that he’s had a great career, but doesn’t like to get too full of himself.
“I don’t really look at myself as a legend, I think that’s for other people to decide,” Harrell said. “It’s cool to hear stuff like that. It kind of puts into perspective all the hard work and everything, but I don’t feel like that.”
Harrell is all about working hard, staying focused and being the best teammate he can be. That is easier said than done, especially as a five-foot-nine point guard, but Harrell was always ready for the challenge.
“He’s a warrior,” head coach Terrence Johnson said. “He’s just been resilient. His focus and his discipline have made him what he is today. He’s a guy that has great habits and a great amount of focus and determination to get to where he is. You can’t be focused and determined at his size without being disciplined.”
Being undersized, Harrell always felt he had to prove himself, even going back to his time at Carl Albert High School in his hometown of Midwest City, Oklahoma. Harrell did not receive many college offers during his first three high school years. He felt he would have to win Oklahoma’s Gatorade Player of the Year to receive more interest.
Harrell won the award in his senior year of high school in 2018. It was an accomplishment that left no doubt in anyone’s mind that he could play at any level, even at his size.
“I saw him and he was short,” Ceaser said. “But I already looked him up and stuff like that before I got here and I saw that he was Gatorade Player of the Year and all his achievements and how he hoops, and I was like ‘he got to be nice.’ I got to respect it so I can’t even call him little or short. He’s a dog.”
Harrell admits that all the talk about his height does motivate him, but he said that he also appreciates the opportunity to be a role model for other undersized players hoping to make their mark on the game.
“I don’t get tired of it at all,” Harrell said. “It’s part of the story whether I like it or not, so it’s just something I got to live with. My mom’s not that tall so I’m not really blessed with height… I think it’s cool and I think it gives other kids that aren’t that tall the belief that they can do it too.”
Harrell went down a long road to reach the role model status he owns today. He credits those before him for showing him the ropes and teaching him what it takes to win.
“My freshman year I was the little brother of the team,” Harrell said. “They always showed me love and they always took care of me. They really did a good job of setting the table for me and that’s a big reason I’m able to be here right now.”
As those older players moved on, Johnson knew he had to find his team’s new leader and remembers precisely when he realized who that would be.
“Obviously when you lose a 19-point-per-game scorer like Nijal Pearson, and you have no one on the team who’s averaging double-figures returning, we knew that we were going to have a little bit of a transition period as far as who was going to emerge as one of our leaders,” Johnson said.
Johnson then saw one of Harrell’s family members while out having breakfast in San Marcos.
“Mason’s great-grandfather, who recently passed away last year, I saw him while I was having breakfast at Cafe on the Square,” Johnson said. “He was in town visiting Mason, and this is my first year [as head coach]. He said if you want to win, put the ball in his hands. And I listened to him.”
Harrell is almost amazed by how much he’s achieved at Texas State in terms of basketball and how much he’s grown as a person.
“It feels like I’ve lived my whole entire life here… five years is a long time,” Harrell said. “I think it feels like that because this is really where I grew up, 18 to 22 years old. That’s when you go from a boy to a man and I really did that here in San Marcos. It’s definitely my second home.”

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • Texas State senior guard Mason Harrell (12) looks to pass the ball against Arkansas State University, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 66-62.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The University Star

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The University Star

Comments (0)

All The University Star Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *