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Friday, March 31, 2017

KU’s Frank Mason III adds Oscar Robertson Trophy to Player of the Year haul

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) elevates to the bucket past TCU guard Desmond Bane (1) during the second half, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) elevates to the bucket past TCU guard Desmond Bane (1) during the second half, Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Make it two days in a row of making history for Kansas senior Frank Mason III, who on Friday was named the winner of this year's Oscar Robertson Trophy given out annually to college basketball's player of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

One day after becoming the first KU player in history to collect The Associated Press player of the year trophy, Mason becomes the first Jayhawk to win the Oscar Robertson Trophy, which was first awarded after the 1958-59 season.

"To be the first player from Kansas to win the Oscar Robertson Trophy is amazing as there have been so many great players at KU," Mason said Friday in Phoenix. "There is no way I could have won this without great coaches, like coach (Bill) Self, the rest of the staff and great teammates. We accomplished a lot this season and this award would not have been won without my teammates and coaches."

According to a press release, Mason won the player of the year balloting in eight of the USBWA's nine districts and is the second straight USBWA National Player of the Year from the Big 12 Conference, joining Oklahoma's Biddy Hield last season.

The Oscar Robertson Trophy is voted on by the entire membership of the association, which consists of more than 900 journalists. It is the nation's oldest award and the only one named after a former player. The legendary Oscar Robertson was the USBWA's first player of the year in 1959 and was the consensus national player of the year as a sophomore in 1958, the year before USBWA started giving its player of the year award. The USBWA renamed the award the Oscar Robertson Trophy in 1998.

Mason, who will graduate this spring with a degree in liberal arts and sciences, finished his career sixth on the Kansas all-time scoring list with 1,885 points, sixth in assists with 576 and eighth in 3-point field goals with 185. No Jayhawk player in KU history ranked sixth or higher in both points and assists.

“Frank has had a terrific four years at Kansas," Self said Friday. "He has become better and matured each year, culminating with the best season that I've ever had a player have that I've coached. He was the leader, the personality and the most consistent performer on a very good team, averaging close to 21 points and more than five assists per game. More importantly, Frank basically led us through every tough moment, which is what separates him from so many and makes him worthy of this award.”

Mason's 2016-17 Season Summary

• Became the only player in KU and Big 12 history to average more than 20 points and five assists in the same season.

• Showed a knack for taking over games, which directed Kansas to a 31-5 record and its 13th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title with a 16-2 league mark.

• Led the Big 12 in scoring overall (20.9 ppg) and during conference play (21.0 ppg).

• Averaged 5.2 assists per game.

• Two-time national player of the week.

• Three-time Big 12 Player of the Week.

• Posted 23 games of 20 or more points, including his final seven contests and 10 of KU's last 11 outings.

• KU's leading scorer in 26 games.

• In the Big 12, Mason ranked first in 3-point field goal percentage (47.1), fourth in assists (5.2), fifth in 3-pointers made per game (2.3), fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2), seventh in free throw percentage (79.4), ninth in field goal percentage (49.0) and 14th in steals (1.3).

• Made 50.0 percent (43-for-86) from 3-point range and 2.4 treys per game in Big 12 play.

• Shot 103-for-119 (86.6 percent) from the free throw line in his final 15 games, making 6.9 charity shots per contest in that span.

• Concluded his career No. 6 on the Kansas scoring list (1,885 points), No. 6 in assists (576), No. 8 in 3-point field goals (185), No. 13 in steals (165) and tied for third in consecutive starts (110). No Jayhawk in KU history ranked sixth or higher in both points and assists.

National Player of the Year Count

Frank Mason III's National Player of the Year honors and the remaining awards he is a candidate for.

• Associated Press Player of the Year

• Sporting News Player of the Year

• CBS Sports Player of the Year

• USA TODAY Player of the Year

• Bleacher Report Player of the Year

• NBC Sports Player of the Year

• USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy

• NABC Player of the Year - Winner revealed April 2

• Naismith Trophy - Winner revealed April 2

• Bob Cousy Award (Point Guard of the Year) - Winner revealed April 7

• Wooden Award - Winner revealed April 7

Comments

Danny Hernandez 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Congratulations again Frank! I won't get tired of typing these words

Bryce Landon 6 months, 3 weeks ago

No one should! Well done, Frank, well deserved!

Mike Greer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Again, the fact Frank is the first KU player to ever win the award speaks volumes about just how important he was to this KU team and how well he played, not only this season but in previous seasons as well.

It's been a long time since I was this comfortable with a KU point guards decision making, I never panicked when the ball was in Frank's hands, I knew he was either going to launch and make a 3, or drive and either make a basket or draw the foul, or he was going to pass to an open player with a good shot.

I'm thinking a shave, a haircut, a fake Russian ID (they seem to be good at fake stuff), and a new jersey number, we get him back for 4 more years ;)

Carl O'Hair 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Matt, when I see Frank in pictures I always think about Hudy who he had some real words for in his Senior night speech. Could she have been very important in why Frank was able to pay over 35 minutes in nearly game. I don't know about that but he did seem to be in extremely good shape and always wanted to play all 40 minutes, ana could do that. Tears always come to my eyes when he talks about Hudy and the way she prepares programs for each and every player. Most people, back in the 70s, would have been afraid of what they called muscle bound if they saw him.

I really got a kick out of Robertson telling Frank that every time he got another award and the talk about him that goes with them he was moving up in the minds of NBA teams. I think Oscar knows so much about things like this.

Harlan Hobbs 6 months, 3 weeks ago

How about a "clean sweep" of everything. I'll volunteer to buy the trophy case!

Cary Ediger 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I'll go in for half on that.

Amazing year for Frank and the team.

Robin Smith 6 months, 3 weeks ago

2017 will forever be The Year of Frank Mason III

Lance Hobson 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Just a great find for Bill Self - I've loved watching him play from the very beginning. What a tough player. Can't wait to see his jersey retired at AFH.

Kit Duncan 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Kurtis Townsend deserves a bonus for every award Frank wins!

Humpy Helsel 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Frank, we will always love you. You will take your seat among the pantheon of great players at the University of Kansas. Your banner is going to hang. What a story. What a player. What a fine young man and a wonderful representative of all of college basketball. Congratulations, Frank.

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