In his fourth and final season at Kansas, senior point guard Frank Mason III became not just a fixture for Bill Self’s Jayhawks, but the national player of the year.
After his stellar Kansas basketball career ended in the Elite Eight, with a loss to Oregon in Kansas City, Mo., senior point guard Frank Mason III said the top-seeded Jayhawks didn’t give up after trailing by 18 in the second half, but couldn’t complete a comeback to get to the Final Four.
At times, Mason admitted, KU’s players felt a bit unlucky with Oregon’s shots falling and Kansas making only 35 percent of its attempts from the field and five of 25 3-pointers. Still, the veteran said the Jayhawks mostly had themselves to blame for those percentages.
“I think we had a few good looks,” Mason said, “but some of them was rushed shots and we didn’t give the defense a chance to break down and get a better look.”
Kansas City, Mo. — The Midwest’s No. 1 seed, Kansas, already has won 30 games and advanced to the Sweet 16, but senior point guard Frank Mason III says there are areas where the Jayhawks still can improve, as they prepare to face Purdue in a regional semifinal Thursday at Sprint Center.
“I think we can rebound better, we can shoot free throws better,” Mason began, “we can pay attention a little bit better to scouting report and personnel, and I think we can be a lot better on the defensive end, too.”
One area where KU has thrived most of the season is 3-point shooting. Kansas enters the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend having made 40.6 percent from beyond the arc, led by Mason’s 47.6-percent accuracy.
“It’s meant a lot, because we’ve been playing with four guards all year,” Mason said. “It just shows you that we can drive the ball downhill and create for each other, and we’ve been consistently knocking down threes, and I think it’s just good for our team.”
Tulsa, Okla. — Frank Mason III breaks down how No. 1 seed Kansas recovered from a slow start in its NCAA Tournament opener to roll, 100-62, against UC-Davis.
When KU entered a first-half timeout tied at 21 with the Aggies, Mason said coach Bill Self told them to stay aggressive.
“We were getting good looks,” Mason said of the opening minutes of KU’s first game in eight days. “It just wasn’t falling. We just wanted to drive the ball downhill, create easy shots, get stops, get out in transition and run.”
Frank Mason III
“I’m really sad that I don’t have a chance to play here any more but I’ll definitely get back in town a lot. If I had the chance to play four more years here, I swear I would.”
“This is not really the last goodbye because we want to come back here with a national championship to celebrate.”
“Dad, you gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. I got to live out a dream and I’m so grateful for it.... It was an unbelievable experience. It was something coming in to it, that we thought we should have figured out, that we would have a player-coach relationship on the court and a father-son relationship off it, just to make sure that my teammates respected and me deserving to be there. The thing that I respect the most about you is that every player that comes here leaves a better person."
Bill Self kicks off the Senior Night festivities
“Devonte, wouldn’t it be special to come back next year and do a senior speech? And Josh, I can't imagine you could have more fun anywhere than to come back here for three more years."