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Mason Cox tries his hand at Australian Football

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-2nd Round-Oklahoma State vs Gonzaga

You will never guess who or what the following quote is about:

“But it was more his skill overhead and his hands. He’s mobile, agile, and a good decision-maker. He was the absolute standout, no doubt.”

Actually you probably will because I wrote the headline and, presumably, you can read it, but really, is this happening?

Mason Cox traveled to Los Angeles last week for an Australian Rules Football combine of sorts and clearly was impressive. If (when?) he is signed by an Australian Football team, Cox would become the tallest person in the AFL at 211.4 CM. (CM!)

After watching some highlights I can see why his 6’11” frame would be an asset.

I talked to Mason’s brother, Nolan[1. I tried to drop this casually, as if we don’t talk on an every other day basis.] — one of my best buds from college — who is serving as Mason’s agent/manager[1. Seriously, all of the LOLs. All of them.] and he insinuated Mason will almost definitely get picked up by a team at some point.

When I asked Mason why Australian Football, he asked me why not (even with a job at Exxon on the table). Literally, he did.

“Free flight to Australia, who wouldn’t?! ExxonMobil is definitely still number one on my list, no doubt, but I am going to kick myself if I don’t look into this opportunity,” said Cox. “Did I mention I’m trying to convince them to take the infamous Nolan Cox, too?”

The combine Mason went to for US-born players is a fairly new concept.

“The first time we actually introduced them to the game at the combine,” said AFL national talent manager Kevin Sheeha. “The next year, most had researched it and looked it up, and followed it.”

“It’s gone up another level. They were competing for spots to get in and there was enormous interest from our agents over here to win places and come in and show their talent. Athletically they’re right up there with some of the best we’ve ever tested.

“That doesn’t mean they’ll be able to convert and play the game, so we’re still in this development phase to see whether we can convert them from basketball, NFL and soccer backgrounds.”

According to this article on AFL.com.au, players can sign with an Australian Football club whenever they want.

“The players are essentially ‘free hits’ for the clubs, who can sign them throughout the year as international rookies.”

So, this is sort of crazy. The entire process. I jokingly asked Mason if he’d rather play with the Dallas Maverick for one season or have a 10-year career in the Australian Football League.

“That’s a tough decision,” Cox said as he played along. “What’s the 401K of each league like? I’m kidding. I would go down under. Unless a championship ring comes with the Mavs.”

The way Mason’s life has gone the last three years, I can’t say I’d be shocked…

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