NEW WASHINGTON, IN (WAVE) - One New Washington fifth grader is getting a shot at a national free throw championship title.
Mason Arthur, 11, is one of 72 kids competing in the finals for the Elks Hoop Shoot competition, one of 12 in his age division.
But before Mason Arthur and his family headed out to Chicago for the free throw finals, all of New Washington Elementary came out to send him off on Wednesday.
Mason practices inside the school gym most days. The kids in the bleachers count each shot he makes and a missed free throw is rare. So when the principal challenged him to a free throw contest, he agreed.
Instead of shooting hoops, she led one of the country's top basketball recruits, Romeo Langford, to meet Mason and give him a proper send off, even signing some basketballs for him.
Mason said it's exciting to have the school cheering him on, but meeting Romeo meant a lot to him.
"I was amazed," Mason said. "I've never met him before. I always wanted to go to some of his games but I've never got to because I always have something else to do. It felt good that they were cheering for me and everything."
Romeo said when he was Mason's age he wasn't as good at shooting free throws, but he thinks he could beat him fair and square now. He said when he was asked to come out for the surprise, he knew he wanted to support the fifth grader.
Before he leaves for Chicago, Mason is getting in a little more practice shooting hoops. As for the balls Romeo signed for him, he said he'll probably use those for free throws, too.
Romeo said he's enjoying his final few weeks of school.
"They're good, classes are going well," Langford said.
Romeo is set to make a decision on which college he'll be attending on April 30 at 7 p.m.