Friday, May 12, 2017

Mason, Svi showcase their skills at combine

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) takes a deep breath before a free throw during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) takes a deep breath before a free throw during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Moments after calling this summer’s 2017 NBA Draft “point guard heavy,” former Duke standout and current ESPN analyst Jay Williams pinpointed former Kansas star Frank Mason III as one of the players he most was looking forward to watching during Thursday’s 5-on-5 scrimmages at the pre-draft combine in Chicago.

Mason, who tipped off his first game at the combine around 2 p.m. Thursday as a starter for the white squad, wore No. 13 and was on the floor with his KU teammate, Svi Mykhailiuk, who wore No. 53 and started for the gray squad.

The two players got plenty of opportunities to showcase various parts of their games, with Mykhailiuk getting plenty of open jumpers and Mason running the show as the white team’s point guard the way he did at Kansas for the past few seasons.

Mason, who became the first player in Big 12 history to average 20 points and five assists in a single season during his recently completed national-player-of-the-year run, looked comfortable, poised, aggressive and confident throughout his time on the floor.

Williams, however, was quick to point out that it was more about what Mason did from Thursday on than what he did during his four years at Kansas that would determine whether he makes it in the NBA.

“Just because you’re the national player of the year doesn’t mean you’re going to be a first-round draft pick,” Williams said. “Length, height, size, athleticism, explosion; Frank has a couple of those things, but he’s not a great passer, he’s a scorer and this is a huge opportunity to show what he can do.”

As many in his corner had pointed out previously, however, Williams also was quick to point to Mason’s intangible qualities, which Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan also said could play a big role in the draft.

“The kid has moxie,” Williams said. “That mentality may get him drafted in the first round.”

Added Donovan, when asked by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman what he was looking for at the combine: “I think for us, more than anything, is what type of person you’re bringing in. Is he going to fit, is he going to put in the time and the work and is he going to be a good fit for your organization.”

More than half of the 67 players invited to this year’s combine (37 or 38, according to ESPN’s broadcast) were scheduled to participate in five-on-five scrimmages this week, while nearly all of the athletes also were slated to run through various agility tests, ranging from max vertical jump and standing vertical jump tests, three-quarter court sprints, a shuttle run and lane agility measurements.

The players also spent the early portion of the week having their measurements taken and participating in interviews with the dozens of scouts, coaches and NBA executives who made the trip to Chicago.

“The craziest question was probably, ‘If I were to die, which way would I want to go out,’” Mason told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. “That was crazy. I said in my sleep because I wouldn’t want to suffer from any pain or anything so I’d just rather be asleep around my son and my family.”

Perhaps the most noteworthy of this week’s measurements was the fact that Mason was one of just three players who was measured under 6 feet tall without shoes.

Mason, 5-11 in socks, 6-foot in shoes, joined Michigan senior Derrick Walton (5-11) and Oklahoma State point guard Jawun Evans (5-10.8) in measuring under the 6-foot mark.

Mykhailiuk on the other hand, who, at one point led all combine participants Thursday with a 70.3 percent shooting clip during a catch-and-shoot-on-the-move drill, measured 6-6.5 in socks, 6-7.5 in shoes, had 11.4 percent body fat, an 8-inch hand and a 33-inch max vertical.

Still, most of the focus, from a KU perspective remained on Mason. After his day was done, in an interview with ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Mason acknowledged that his height limitation could be used against him.

“I’m not really sure. Maybe because of my height,” said Mason when asked why he wasn’t receiving more love. “But I just focus on what I can control and that’s getting better at what I love to do. And that’s what I do every day, I try to get better in all different areas.”

While his God-given height hardly impressed, Mason’s vertical height — during the max vertical test — wowed plenty. His 41-inch leap was second highest among all combine participants, which, once again, showed that Mason’s main focus is performing and not worrying about what measurements or critics say.

“It was different just a little,” he said of the Thursday scrimmage. “But I’ve been playing ball all my life so I just step out on the court and do what I know I’m capable of.”

Other notable measurements from Thursday included Mason’s 4.3 percent body fat, 8-inch hand and 3.18-second three-quarter court sprint, good for sixth place.

Regardless of height, hand size, weight or any other concrete measurable, many in attendance seemed to see enough from Mason to believe he belonged in the league.

Tweeted Jonathan Givony, who runs “Rough first combine game. Not that surprising considering nature of setting. Frank Mason reconfirmed how good a basketball player he is.”


Lance Hobson 1 year, 1 month ago

Did they measure his heart? Toughness? I guarantee he was number one on both of those going away.

Glen Miller 1 year, 1 month ago

Frank will be in the league at minimum as a backup point for someone..... I honestly feel like on the right team with a good coach he could be a teams starting point. IT is doing big things for Boston and I feel like Mason is a better player coming out of college than he was. He'll put in the work and Frank will be a mainstay in the NBA. I have never been more confident about a player panning out in my life. He's a winner, a tireless worker and just an all around good human being, I hope the Spurs land him at the end of the 1st. That would be AWESOME with a capital A Baby!!!!

Phil Leister 1 year, 1 month ago

Wait, Frank is 5'11" in socks?!?! There's such a stigma attached to being sub-6ft. But no one, on any roster, anywhere, lists their true height. It's always bumped up to, minimum, their height with shoes on. Come on people, Frank should be on a roster as 6'0".

Look at Svi- he's 6-6.5 in socks yet has been listed his whole career at 6'8".

Steve Corder 1 year, 1 month ago

Much of the same old reusing of stats with hardly any analysis of his Thursday performance. The last sentence should have been the lead. "Rough first combine game"..... If I read one more time about measurements in shoes and wing span I think I'll lose my mind!

Matt Tait 1 year, 1 month ago

The "rough first combine game" comment was about the whole game in general not just how Mason played. And sorry you don't find those measurements interesting but a lot of people do.

Either way, Mason had a great showing and looked really good, much like he did throughout his senior season at KU. He belongs.

Creg Bohrer 1 year, 1 month ago

What were their numbers assists, rebounds and points? No mention of stats. Does any one have that info?

Marcus Balzer 1 year, 1 month ago

8 pts, 4 assists, 0 turnovers, 2-4 2P, 1-3 3P, 22 minutes. Completely controlled the game, much like he did at KU. Played great defense on Monte Norris, not surprising and once he left the floor his team was plus/minus of +8 in a game when his team lost by 18. Scouts were very impressed by his first day play.

Matt Tait 1 year, 1 month ago

Thanks, Marcus. Agree completely that Mason looked and played great. I'm starting to think late first round is not crazy. Wouldn't bet on it, but another day like yesterday and he could give some teams a lot to think about.

John Fitzgerald 1 year, 1 month ago

Tank Mason! Thanks for the stats and synopsis, Marcus.

John Fitzgerald 1 year, 1 month ago

Whatever team gets Mason is getting a big gift. He's consistent, durable, mentally tough, and a straight up warrior. Add in his athletic ability (41 inch vertical) and natural talent and there's no reason he shouldn't be in the first round. He has a few things he can work on but they can all easily be fixed with practice.

Marcus Balzer 1 year, 1 month ago

His height 'is what it is' I don't think he is going to hit a growth spurt anytime soon. He was a scoring PG for most of his time at KU. Scouts / GMs want to see if he can be a distributing PG at the League level. If he can show that over the course of this combine he should be a late first round guy. He has the potential to be a 10-15 minute guy coming off the bench that you can plug in immediately to run your team while your starter gets rest.

Barry Weiss 1 year, 1 month ago

No love for Svi? How many points or any stats from the game on him? I really hope he does well and makes it. If not, I think he goes pro in Europe.

Barry Weiss 1 year, 1 month ago

oh wow, just read on the other article he had to withdraw.

Martin Rosenblum 1 year, 1 month ago

Cool moment after the end of the last game this afternoon. Seen on the sidelines chatting were Frank Mason lll and Ralph Sampson, just a couple of Virginia kids talking basketball. Of course, Sampson is 7-4 and Mason is (whatever), so it was an awkward looking conversation.

Bob Bailey 1 year, 1 month ago

Saw Mason on the court last night, perhaps a Monday recording. In the first half where he was probably told to do 'his thing', he put the white team ahead and got more than a 10 pt lead! In the second half, he must have been told to look the other way. Gray won by about 16 pts.

Had I been evaluating for a team, I would give him credit for the first half and moved his number ahead in the draft, The pro's don't seem to have a PG who can put the team on his shoulders and win the game!

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