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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

KU’s Frank Mason III unanimous choice for AP All-America team

Josh Jackson makes AP's third team

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) flashes a smile as the Jayhawks close out the game against West Virginia in overtime, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) flashes a smile as the Jayhawks close out the game against West Virginia in overtime, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Frank Mason III was a last-minute recruit for Kansas. He turned into the Jayhawks' latest All-American.

The senior guard was the only unanimous selection to the 2016-17 AP All-America team Tuesday, receiving all first-team votes from the same 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly AP Top 25.

"I love the kid and I think he knows how I feel about him, but I've never been more proud — not that he's won a postseason award — but he's done everything that he's supposed to do," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "He's been a great teammate, he's been tough as nails, he's worked his butt off, he's loved by everyone in the academic departments, graduated, and to see him reap these benefits after putting in so much time is an unbelievable honor."

The rest of the All-America team includes guards Josh Hart of Villanova and Lonzo Ball of UCLA, plus forwards Caleb Swanigan of Purdue and Justin Jackson of North Carolina. Votes were based on the regular season and conference tournaments.

Mason averaged 20.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists while shooting 48.7 percent from 3-point range.

"My goals were always just to be successful as a team, do whatever I can do to make sure we're successful and really change it at the defensive end and get after it," Mason said. "Yeah, that's pretty cool to see my name alongside those great KU players, it means a lot to me, but nothing would be possible without my teammates and coaching staff."

Mason is the first All-American from Kansas since Thomas Robinson in 2012.

Hart, a senior who was key to Villanova's 2016 national championship, averaged 18.9 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Wildcats. He received 62 first-team votes.

"It was definitely a goal," Hart said of the All-America recognition. "Now that it happened, it's humbling. A great honor. I've got to thank everyone that voted for me."

Coach Jay Wright called Hart "the perfect combination of talent, hard work, intelligence and humility."

"He never let any single year's accomplishment deter him from getting better," Wright said. "I think he's one of the most complete basketball players in the country."

The sophomore Swanigan led the nation with 26 double-doubles and was the only player in Division I to average 18 points (18.5) and 12 rebounds (12.6) while shooting 53.4 percent, 43.1 percent on 3s.

"He's a very knowledgeable guy, now he's been through it in terms of experience, understanding scouting reports and those types of things," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "He really gets it. I think he really separated himself from a lot of people with the consistent play."

Ball, who has already declared for the NBA draft, took the country by storm as a freshman. He averaged 14.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 7.9 assists while putting UCLA back on the national map in a hurry. He received 54 first-team votes.

Coach Steve Alford called Ball "very deserving of the recognition."

"He's been special for us all year," Alford said. "He's been an incredible teammate, and everything that he's done has been contagious throughout our team."

The last All-American from UCLA was freshman Kevin Love in 2008.

Jackson, who received 24 first-team votes, helped lead the Tar Heels to a second straight Final Four. The junior averaged 18.1 points and 4.6 rebounds this season.

"He's a better player overall," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "He's better defensively, better rebounder, he can score the basket and he's just had a year for us.

"He's been the leader of our team on the court, on the stat sheet. I couldn't be happier for him because he's really got it the old-fashioned way," Williams said. "He's worked, he's put in the sweat."

Nigel Williams-Goss of Gonzaga led the second team and was joined by fellow juniors Dillon Brooks of Oregon and Johnathan Motley of Baylor, sophomore Luke Kennard of Duke and freshman Malik Monk of Kentucky.

The third team included freshmen Josh Jackson of Kansas, Markelle Fultz of Washington and Lauri Markkanen of Arizona, junior Bonzie Colson of Notre Dame and sophomore Ethan Happ of Wisconsin.

There has been at least one unanimous All-America pick the last four seasons.

FIRST TEAM

Frank Mason III, Kansas

Josh Hart, Villanova

Caleb Swanigan, Purdue

Lonzo Ball, UCLA

Justin Jackson, North Carolina

SECOND TEAM

Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga

Luke Kennard, Duke

Malik Monk, Kentucky

Dillon Brooks, Oregon

Johnathan Motley, Baylor

THIRD TEAM

Josh Jackson, Kansas

Markelle Fultz, Washington

Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin

Lauri Markkanen, Arizona

Comments

Creg Bohrer 2 years, 11 months ago

Way to go Frank!. It was really fun to watch you in a KU uniform.

Robert Brock 2 years, 11 months ago

Frank Mason is one of my favorite KU players of all time. This is a young man who worked, worked, and worked some more. His contribution to Kansas hoops is something to be extremely proud of. Congratulations, Frank!

Jonathan Allison 2 years, 11 months ago

One of many honors this young man deserves and will be awarded. What an honor to be the one unanimous selection among all 65 voters.

Momma's gonna need to buy a bigger trophy case. Frank's jersey will hang among the all-time greats in a few years.

RJ King 2 years, 11 months ago

“He’s a jet,” Self said. “Frank is a really, really quick guard. He’s a true point. He can get guys easy baskets. He can break people down, very similar to the way the fans saw Sherron (Collins) break people down off the bounce.”

“Frank is one of the best-kept secrets in high school basketball,” Self said. “I really believe even though his high school ranking is not much, he’s a guy that is as good as any guard out there.”

I hope everyone remembers when fans were completely split on Mason's signing - but I expected a bright future for him, because Self is such a straight talker. We could see his basketball skills and IQ growing the first 3 years.

What I didn't expect was to see such a dedicated, loyal, and caring personality finally revealed. Underneath his fierce focus and toughness lives such a warm, generous spirit. The occasional smiles and tears made us all fall in love with this kid. Wishing him all the best.

Clara Westphal 2 years, 11 months ago

Frank deserves every award that comes his way. Congratulations on a job very well done.

Mike Kendall 2 years, 11 months ago

Congrats, Frank! Now, get the Wooden POY award!

Carl O'Hair 2 years, 11 months ago

Any kid who can get all the AP votes for the AA team should be the winner of the Wooden Award, in addition.

I heard on TV tonight that he appears to be very near the last of the 2nd round but some team may be willing to take a chance on him the way he played and he can get better.

There have been a couple more KU players I really liked to watch play but none of them any more than Frank. Saying this I teared up.

Bryce Landon 2 years, 11 months ago

Congratulations, Frank! Can't wait to see your jersey hanging in the Allen Fieldhouse rafters!

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