2 Duquesne players ‘learned’ from arrest
Duquesne juniors Micah Mason and Jeremiah Jones say they made “a silly mistake” on a summer night in the South Side that taught them a lesson.
After a physical altercation June 7, police arrested the basketball players on criminal charges that later were withdrawn.
Now five months later, they said they consider the incident regrettable and fully behind them.
“We’ve learned from it,” said Jones, who was accused of assault and fleeing from police. “It made us both better people and better leaders for our team. We understand that the younger guys look up to us and look to us for leadership. We faced a little adversity, we overcame it, and we’re ready to move forward.”
According to police, officers patrolling the 1300 block of East Carson Street spotted Jones punching a man in the face. When Jones began to walk away and was ordered by police to stop, Jones ran, with Mason jogging behind him, according to a police report.
When police caught up to them, they discovered Mason had an altered driver’s license.
According to court papers, Mason used nail-polish remover to change his birth year from 1993 to 1990, making it appear he was 23 years old instead of 20.
“It was (a) bad place, bad time,” said Mason, 21, a Highlands graduate. “It was poor judgment, and it was embarrassing. But it’s in the past, and I’m looking forward to moving on and having a good school year.”
Mason performed 20 hours of community service at a Basketball Stars of America camp in exchange for having a charge of altered, forged or counterfeit documents dropped.
Authorities unconditionally dropped charges of simple assault, escape and public drunkenness against Jones, according to court records.
“It was a silly mistake,” said Jones, 20, of Gary, Ind. “People make mistakes all the time. Of course it got blown up a little bit because we’re Duquesne basketball players.”
Both players are starters for the Dukes, with Mason a 6-foot-2 guard and Jones a 6-3 forward. The team starts its season at 2 p.m. Saturday, when Bluefield State visits Palumbo Center. Duquesne coach Jim Ferry praised both players at the team’s media day earlier this month and labeled them team leaders.
“It was a learning experience for everybody,” Ferry said. “A lot of people don’t really know the whole story, and I’m not going to share that here either. It went through the process, and everything was dismissed.”
Ferry said the two were disciplined by the team but did not elaborate.
“That’s team stuff,” he said. “I’m not going to talk about that.”
Jones, who started all 30 games last season, averaged 6.3 points. Mason, who averaged 10.6 points, led the nation in 3-point shooting percentage. He made 65 of 116 for a 56 percent mark, best among NCAA Division I shooters.
“I made a mistake,” Mason said. “It took me a couple of weeks to get it off my mind. I know who I really am.”