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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Mason, Jackson named Naismith Award semifinalists

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) puts his arm around teammate Frank Mason III (0) during a timeout in the first half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017 at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) puts his arm around teammate Frank Mason III (0) during a timeout in the first half, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017 at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas.


KU senior Frank Mason III and freshman Josh Jackson were two of 10 players named semifinalists for this year’s James A. Naismith Award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding college basketball player.

Kansas was the only school to have two players make the list of semifinalists.

Mason leads the Big 12 in scoring with a 20.3 average and his 20.6 points per game in league play are also tops in the Big 12. A two-time national and conference player of the week from Petersburg, Virginia, Mason is the only conference player averaging 20 points or more this season. He has 17 games of 20 points or more, including four of his last five and six of his last eight contests.

A seven-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week in 2016-17, Jackson is second on the team in scoring at 16.3 points per game, which is fifth in the Big 12. The two-time Big 12 Player of the Week from Detroit has seven double-doubles in his last 10 outings and his 11 double-doubles in 2016-17 rank tied for second in the Big 12 and has already broke the KU freshman record. Jackson's 7.2 rebounds per game are sixth in the conference and he leads KU with 50 steals and 32 blocked shots. Jackson is 19-for-37 (51.4 percent) from beyond the arc in his last 12 games.

A national voting academy will narrow the list to four finalists that will be announced Sunday, March 19, on Twitter (@NaismithTrophy).

The 49th awarding of the James A. Naismith Trophy to the most outstanding college basketball player will be presented at annual Naismith Final Four Awards Brunch on Sunday, April 2 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

2017 Naismith Trophy Semifinalists

Lonzo Ball, UCLA (Freshman, G)

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin (R-Sophomore, F)

Josh Hart, Villanova (Senior, G)

Justin Jackson, North Carolina (Junior, SF)

Josh Jackson, Kansas (Freshman, G)

Luke Kennard, Duke (Sophomore, G)

Frank Mason III, Kansas (Senior, PG)

Johnathan Motley, Baylor (Junior, F)

Caleb Swanigan, Purdue (Sophomore, F)

Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga (R-Junior, G)


Joe Ross 2 years ago

If Mason doesn't get it there's a conspiracy afoot. Period.

Tony Bandle 2 years ago

Would it have been too much to ask who the other eight "also rans" are?

Josh Jackson named a Naismith semifinalist is an amazing accomplishment for the young man and a credit to KU. My only concern is them splitting the votes and letting someone other than Frank getting the award.

Joe Joseph 2 years ago

Hadn't thought about that. More conspiracy to keep the award out of the hands of a Jayhawk???

Jaston Archie 2 years ago

So with all of that elite talent, not only can't Calipari win a championship, he can't even get one of his players on the Naismith semifinalist list? His scam is failing

Kit Duncan 2 years ago

Four players from the Big XII? It's bad enough that KU has two in the ten plus Motley from Baylor, while Duke & UNC only have one each.

The conspiracy outcry would be loud if Morris had been included.

Harlan Hobbs 2 years ago

It should come down to the two seniors, Frank and Josh Hart of Villanova in my opinion. As for Freshman of the Year, I assume it comes down to Josh and Lonzo Ball. I would take Josh based upon his versatility. He can probably play just about every position on the court including down low if he gets the right match up.

Kit Duncan 2 years ago

Mason should win it, but it wouldn't be surprising (albeit criminal) if one of the others win. It seems that most announcers have been on the Mason bandwagon (ESPN awarded him the Best Player in a Leading Role).

Jonathan Allison 2 years ago

It would be very hard right now not to give it to Frank Mason. However, the Naismith award voting is from tomorrow until 3/13 to winnow the field from 10 to 4. The top 4 are announced on 3/19, and they vote again from 3/20 - 3/30 before they announce the winner on 4/2.

In other words, there's still a long way to go before the final votes are in.

Lance Hobson 2 years ago

Mason gets this and his jersey retired. He's just been phenomenal for us. I really hope he can finish his career with a Final 4 but we all know what a crapshoot that damn tourney is.

Harlan Hobbs 2 years ago

All I will say is that, even if he doesn't win the award, Frank Mason will still be #1 in the hearts of all KU fans. What an amazing example of dedication, commitment, and hard work. He can be a leading role model for all young people who grow up in very difficult circumstances, and I hope that he gets to be a mentor for many.

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