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Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer on former Jayhawk Frank Mason III: 'We know he'll be ready'

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Milwaukee Bucks guard Frank Mason III (15) drives past Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 9, 2020, in Denver.

Milwaukee Bucks guard Frank Mason III (15) drives past Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 9, 2020, in Denver. by AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Milwaukee Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe recently tested positive for COVID-19, opening the door for former KU point guard Frank Mason III to potentially have a bigger role with the Bucks when the NBA season resumes in 10 days.

According to a report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bledsoe’s positive test came more than two weeks ago, but the star guard still had not yet joined the team in Orlando as of this weekend. The hope is that he’ll be back in time for the team’s July 31 opener against Boston.

But if he’s not, Mason will have had plenty of time to get up to speed on what the team needs from him.

Bledsoe’s absence from the title-contending Bucks meant someone had to pick up the slack as practices began and could mean that Mason plays bigger minutes in this week’s exhibition games.

Regardless of what happens with Bledsoe, Mason recently said he was thankful for the opportunity and willing to do whatever is asked while in Orlando.

“With us missing Bled, I get an opportunity to get out and show coach what I can do,” Mason said during a recent interview shown by the Milwaukee Bucks Twitter account. “My job is just to go out and make the team better and be a leader and do whatever I can do to bring positive energy to the team.”

Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said bringing Mason inside the bubble was the best thing for the team because of the roster balance he provided. As a player with more than 90 NBA games under his belt, Mason knows how to play a role and create opportunities for others.

Beyond that, Budenholzer believes Mason can deliver whatever is asked.

“We feel like Frank is somebody that can step in and provide quality play for us,” the Milwaukee coach said in the same Twitter interview. “He’s proven it throughout his career, but what he did this year as the MVP of the G League, that’s pretty special.”

Perhaps the biggest compliment Budenholzer paid Mason during the brief interview was one that KU fans came to expect for four years while Mason was in Lawrence.

Whether it was as college basketball’s player of the year during his senior season or as a still-learning freshman four years earlier, Mason proved one thing to the KU coaches and appears to already have shown the same thing in Milwaukee, as well.

“We know he’ll be ready,” Budenholzer said.

None by Milwaukee Bucks