Jailyn Mason has been through a lot in her career as part of the Arkansas women’s basketball team.
She says her time on The Hill has been, “a completely different experience” from what she expected. Adding, “so many different factors played in every single year of my college years. I went from the coach that recruited me to a new coach and figuring out if I was going to stay here.”
Mason’s first year on campus was in the 2016-17 season, when members of the team infamously knelt during the National Anthem. She then had to deal with the resignation of Jimmy Dykes. So why choose to stay at Arkansas for the Mike Neighbors era?
“He was very open with me,” says Mason. “I felt a very positive connection with him when we sat down for that first meeting. So I was excited to stay and see what we were going to build.”
After two seasons under Neighbors the Razorbacks were on the rise. But that’s when it came to a halt for Mason.
“I was at practice one day and I jumped for a rebound. I didn’t land weird but when I started to run again it just felt off and I kind of had to take myself out of our scrimmage the whole week we did different taping methods and it was starting to feel okay but nothing was really working to make it feel any better. So our trainer was like we’ll go to the doctor get an MRI and that’s when we saw it was torn.”
Mason ultimately had to redshirt this past season after having surgery on her foot. But she was still able to practice with the team.
“It was definitely a different experience but it was one that I think benefited me. In the end I was able to see how our offense and defense plays in kind of a different position and kind of seeing from a coaches standpoint and what they mean when they tell us certain things. So I think it’s definitely going to bring a new level to my game for next year.”
Even though a shot at the NCAA Tournament was taken away from Arkansas this season, Mason says she and the rest of the team are ready to make another run at it next season.
“We’re excited we kind of have a chip on our shoulder against COVID right now so next year will be great. We’re going to be just as excited when we get there next year.”