Former KU players, current Jayhawks congratulate Josh Jackson and Frank Mason on NBA Draft selections
When Josh Jackson was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the No. 4 overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday, he continued a long tradition of Kansas players being selected in the lottery — the eighth time in 11 years.
There was still plenty of excitement from people around the KU program when Jackson was picked and Frank Mason III followed in the second round — 34th overall to the Sacramento Kings.
Many current and former KU players expressed their joy for Jackson and Mason on social media during the draft:
After a vulgar Snapchat video circulated through social media Thursday, incoming Kansas transfer K.J. Lawson issued an apology through Twitter.
Lawson, a 6-foot-7 forward, made disparaging comments toward Memphis head coach Tubby Smith, his former coach, in a three-second clip. Lawson and his older brother, Dedric, announced their intention to transfer to play for the Jayhawks earlier this week.
“This is what we do when we leave Tubby,” Lawson said on the undated video, “(expletive) Tubby.”
Lawson expressed his dissatisfaction with his former school when he announced his intention to transfer earlier this month. Lawson quoted a song from Drake, which mentioned, “two middle fingers as I make an exit,” in a tweet that he later deleted.
“On behalf of my family and myself I would like to issue an apology to Coach Tubby Smith and Tiger Nation,” Lawson wrote Thursday night. “Despite my frustrations of this past year, my words and actions at the time were immature, thoughtless, and not becoming of who I am as a person or how my family raised me. Memphis will forever be my home and I wish Coach Tubby Smith and Tiger Nation the best moving forward.”
Lawson captioned his apologetic tweet: “This momentary (indiscretion) can jeopardize the most important thing in my life. I apologize for my inexcusable behavior.”
Lawson averaged 12.3 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Tigers this season in 33.7 minutes per game, earning American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year honors.
Another day, another national player of the year award for Kansas senior point guard Frank Mason III.
Well, make that two awards Sunday.
After one of the best individual seasons in program history, Mason was named the Naismith Trophy Winner and the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ player of the year on Sunday in Arizona.
Mason, the consensus national player of the year, has swept all of the major awards for national player of the year ahead of Friday's Wooden Award announcement.
Several of Mason’s teammates — and Villanova coach Jay Wright — congratulated him on a successful award season through social media:
A first-time member of the Hall of Fame ballot, Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self received plenty of support leading up to Saturday’s announcement that he was a part of the 2017 Hall of Fame class.
Many opposing coaches throughout the season expressed their appreciation for Self’s accomplishments, which includes 13 straight Big 12 titles, seven trips to the Elite Eight in 14 seasons at Kansas, two Final Fours and a national title in 2008.
Then there were all of the former players, administrators, analysts and others who offered their endorsements for one of the newest members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
After Saturday's announcement, several current players, former players and others sent a message of support to Self through social media:
Our Series on Bill Self's Journey to the Hall of Fame
• Hall of Fame Material Part I: Larry Brown ‘in awe’ of Bill Self’s stellar run at Kansas
• Hall of Fame Material Part II: Daughter Lauren most impressed by Bill Self’s ability to mentor
• Hall of Fame Material Part III: Frank Mason III knew right away that Bill Self was the coach for him
• Hall of Fame Material Part IV: Doc Sadler says Bill Self same (sarcastic) guy as the day he met him
• Hall of Fame Material Part V: Bill Self’s style, passion make Danny Manning a proud alum
Kansas versus TCU didn’t exactly stand out on the college basketball schedule Wednesday night in terms of mass appeal, what with Duke facing Syracuse and North Carolina tangling with Louisville. But there’s something about a team winning its league 13 seasons in a row that will capture any college basketball observer’s attention.
Though some might have considered it a foregone conclusion, the Jayhawks officially became Big 12 champions yet again, sealing at least a share of the title with an 87-68 win over the Horned Frogs, allowing them to hoist a league championship trophy at Allen Fieldhouse afterward.
KU’s latest hardware put the program in a tie with the UCLA teams of the 1960s and ’70s for most consecutive conference championships in a row and set off reactions from current and former KU players on social media platforms.
National analysts, too, weighed in on the Jayhawks’ long run of dominance. Below are some of the highlights from the aftermath.
— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.
More news and notes from Kansas vs. TCU
- Historic Achievement: Jayhawks crush TCU, earn 13th-straight Big 12 title
- Benton Smith: Carlton Bragg looked more like the player KU hoped for
- Notebook: Birthday Boy Graham celebrates ‘special’ day; Jackson OK after injury scare
- Brandon Rush fights back emotions during jersey retirement ceremony
- The Keegan Ratings: All-around action puts Josh Jackson at top of ratings in title-clincher vs. TCU
- Matt Tait's Postgame Report Card
- Make it 13: Jayhawks match UCLA’s league-title run
A five-star point guard from the heart of Big 12 country, Norman North High (Okla.) senior Trae Young made his college basketball destination official Thursday just after noon.
A dynamic 6-foot-2, 170-pound play-maker who is ranked the 14th-best prospect nationally in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, Young’s options came down to choosing between the University of Kansas and Oklahoma.
Play for Bill Self at Allen Fieldhouse? Or stay at home and star in your own backyard for Lon Kruger at OU?
Ultimately, Young went with the Sooners.
It had to be a difficult, yet exciting, decision for Young, as he weighed the pros and cons of his options.
Young’s choice was big news not just in Lawrence, but also in his home state, where The Oklahoman covered his announcement live.
Watch Young's press conference from the NewsOK.com live feed below.
No one who stuck around for the entirety of the Kansas Jayhawks’ Big Monday showdown versus West Virginia could quite believe what they witnessed.
The No. 9-ranked Mountaineers let a 14-point lead with less than three minutes remaining in the second half slip from their grasps and the No. 3 Jayhawks happily took advantage, setting up an epic rally and 84-80 overtime victory that seemed just about impossible minutes earlier.
From Super Bowl comparisons, to bewilderment regarding the Mountaineers’ collapse, to giving KU credit for pulling it off, the college basketball world had plenty to say about the Kansas comeback.
Some famous Jayhawks who used to call Lawrence home had to hop on Twitter to let their followers and fans know about the victory, while a number of college basketball media members chimed in, as well.
Even a few of the players who helped pull off the unlikely victory shared some of their thoughts.
Below are the social media highlights from the aftermath of an absurd night at Allen Fieldhouse.
Bill Self will tell you his Kansas basketball team’s game at Kentucky Saturday night doesn’t mean as much as the Big 12 games against West Virginia and Baylor that bookend it. But the KU coach also realizes how important a showcase matchup such as KU versus UK is to fans and the people who follow college basketball closely.
As you might have guessed, when the Jayhawks toppled Kentucky Saturday night at Rupp Arena, it sent KU fans, and even some former and future players, into a frenzy on Twitter and other social media platforms.
Analysts and national journalists, too, had plenty of praise to send KU’s was following an impressive road victory.
Below are some of the highlight reactions to the Jayhawks’ win in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge, including some from the men who made it happen.
Nearly every time Kansas basketball coach Bill Self fields questions from the media, someone will bring up Jayhawks senior point guard Frank Mason III and the impact he has made this season.
“How good has Frank been?”
“What has Mason meant to your team?”
“Did you think when you were recruiting him Frank would turn out this good?”
Without hesitation, Self will highlight Mason’s toughness, driving, shooting, passing, rebounding, etc., and share his opinion that his senior point guard has been as good as any player in the country at this juncture.
Self isn’t the type to campaign for his players to win national awards, but such statements are his way of doing so in a low-key fashion. When Self talks, people around the college basketball world listen.
Anyone who has watched No. 2 Kansas (17-1 overall, 6-0 Big 12) play this year knows where the team would be without Mason, who is averaging a team-best 20.3 points per game, while also contributing 5.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds. The 5-foot-11 senior from Petersburg, Virginia, is even shooting 52.4% from the field and connecting more often from 3-point range, where he is 42-for-78 (53.8%).
As KU keeps on winning and Mason continues to carry the team, it boosts his case for national player of the year honors. At CBSSports.com, Gary Parrish ranked the top 25 candidates for the ultimate individual award gave Mason No. 1 billing, edging out the heart and soul of defending national champion Villanova, senior guard Josh Hart.
Neither Mason nor Hart are going to be NBA lottery picks the way past Wooden Award winners such as Buddy Hield, Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin were, but both are integral parts of two of the nation’s best teams, so Parrish ranks them ahead of UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball, who many expect to have a long, successful NBA career.
As can be found on sports-reference.com, Hart’s player efficiency rating of 29.5 is one of the best in the country, ranking sixth overall. But Mason isn’t too far behind, with a PER of 26.1 (27th nationally).
Likewise, the debate between Hart and Mason, Parrish wrote, is close:
“I’ve had Josh Hart atop these Player of the Year rankings, and it's reasonable to keep the Villanova senior there. He's still fabulous and leading a team ranked No. 1 in the Top 25 (and one). But Frank Mason has never been far behind. And he's playing better than Hart lately. So now the Kansas senior is the headliner.”
The top 10 players in the running, according to Parrish, also includes one of Mason’s teammates, freshman Josh Jackson.
No. 1: Frank Mason III, Kansas
No. 2: Josh Hart, Villanova
No. 3: Lonzo Ball, UCLA
No. 4: Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
No. 5: De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky
No. 6: Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga
No. 7: Johnathan Motley, Baylor
No. 8: TJ Leaf, UCLA
No. 9: Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame
No. 10: Josh Jackson, Kansas
— See the complete list: KU’s Frank Mason moves to No. 1
Kansas senior point guard Frank Mason III has put himself on the shortlist of candidates for national player of the year.
He's playing in one of the best stretches of his career, averaging 22.8 points, 5 assists and 3.5 rebounds through his first four Big 12 games. He's shooting 12-of-15 from behind the 3-point line in the past three games.
But there was a time when Mason wasn't considered to be one of the top players in the country. Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn wrote about Mason and Devonte' Graham this week, and one part of his story includes KU head coach Bill Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend discussing Mason's recruitment.
Self: “When Frank came out, was that the same year we were recruiting Cat Barber and Chris Jones?”
Townsend: “And Demetrius Jackson. Frank was kind of our fourth option.”
Self: “That left us really kind of—”
Townsend: “Scrambling. Then we were recruiting Jordan McLaughlin [for the following class], who ended up canceling our visit and committing to USC. But I went to see him [at the Adidas Fab 48] in Vegas; Frank was playing against him, and Frank kicked his ass.... I knew Frank’s AAU coach, Ty White, so I called him and asked, ‘Does that little dude with the braids play like that all the time?’ He said, ‘Every day, Coach. He don’t know no better.’ ... I went and saw him twice more, and each time he was good.”
Of course, back then, not many people predicted Mason would potentially outplay all of the players that spurned the Jayhawks during recruiting. Mason, a former Towson commit, was ranked much lower than the others.
Cat Barber averaged 23.5 points per game at North Carolina State last season before declaring for the NBA draft. Demetrius Jackson posted averages of 15.8 points and 4.7 assists at Notre Dame last year, also declaring for the draft.
Chris Jones ended up at Louisville, averaging 13.7 points and 3.6 assists during his senior season in 2014-15, while Jordan McLaughlin is averaging 14.5 points and 5.1 assists this year at USC.
Actually, in our KUsports.com archives, Mason's commitment wasn't met with a lot of joy. One commenter compared him to Royce Woolridge, who transferred after one season. Others preferred Karviar Shepherd, who committed to TCU and averages 5.9 points in his senior season, or Roddy Peters (played one season at Maryland and one season at South Florida).
When Self was asked last week how much improvement he's seen in Mason over the years, he responded: “He’s grown from being a guy who we thought could impact our program and be a good player for us in time to, in my opinion, a guy who has an unbelievable chance to be a first-team All-American, so that shows you the growth."