Monday, February 22, 2016


Tom Keegan: Frank Mason III playing more like himself

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) puts up a shot against Kansas State forward Dean Wade (32) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan. In front is Kansas State forward D.J. Johnson (4).

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) puts up a shot against Kansas State forward Dean Wade (32) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan. In front is Kansas State forward D.J. Johnson (4).


Great competitors understand the value of hiding what’s ailing them. The more the opposition knows about their injuries, the better armed they are to exploit them.

Fearless Frank Mason III, Kansas University’s 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior point guard from Petersburg, Va., is one tough competitor. Consequently, we might never know to what extent his sore left elbow was bothering and what else was nagging at him during an eight-game stretch during which he just wasn’t the same.

His funk started Jan. 12 in Morgantown, W.Va., when he committed seven turnovers in a 74-63 loss to West Virginia. Mason didn’t fully regain his zip until four weeks later, when he led the Jayhawks to a 10-point victory against the same Mountaineers in Allen Fieldhouse.

Mason had a terrific game Saturday in Manhattan, where he totaled 16 points, five assists and just one turnover in a 72-63 victory against Kansas State.

“I think I’ll be better moving forward,” Mason said after the game. “This game helped me out. I haven’t been my best in the past games. Somehow, we’ve still been getting the wins, thanks to Devonté (Graham), a great point guard, and our great team. We’ll use this game to help us get better.”

Mason’s 10 first-half points sparked Kansas to a 39-29 lead, and he came out of the locker room seemingly playing faster than everybody else on the floor. He drove hard right and threw a shot in high off the glass. Then in transition he sprinted faster than anyone could match to free himself along the left side of the court, caught a pass from Graham, took a dribble or two and threw up a lob to Wayne Selden Jr. for an easy bucket and 46 seconds into the second half had given KU a 14-point lead.

Mason definitely has a fresher look to him, and the numbers reflect that.

During the eight-game quasi-slump that started in Morgantown, Mason shot .325 from the field and .333 from three and averaged 3.3 assists and 3.1 turnovers. In the 15 games before and four games since, he has shot .451 overall and .396 from three and averaged 5.2 assists and 1.5 turnovers.

Baylor — KU’s opponent Tuesday — is coming off victories against Iowa State and Texas. Quick Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor had trouble attacking the Bears’ zone defense Saturday in Austin, where Baylor won, 78-64.

Mason’s ability to invade the creases of the zone will go a long way toward determining the outcome. Now that the experienced Mason has the pep in his game back, he figures to be up to the task of figuring out how to invade the soft spots of Baylor’s zone.


Joe Joseph 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm far from the first person to say this, but this team is beginning to remind me of the '08 squad if only due to the fact that the scoring can come from anyone on any given night.

Wayne, Perry, Frank, Devonte.... All four are capable of going off and have in recent games.

Now if this team can just keep guarding people...

Kent Richardson 6 years, 4 months ago

With our two big bench guards scoring we are even better.

Andrew Holmes 6 years, 4 months ago

The biggest difference between this team and the '08 team is defense. That '08 team with Chamers and Robinson causing havoc for guards up top and Rush as a lock down defender is far better than this years team. This years team has had spurts of great defense but most of the time, in my opinion, lack the ability to consistently stay in front of their man and guard bigger players both down low and up top. They have been better in recent weeks, but I'm not sure we can compare them to the '08 team defensively.

Offensively, I think you're closer in comparison to the '08 team in your statement that scoring can come from many guys, but I think a better comparison might be the '12 team. The team in '12 was more of a two man team (Taylor and Robinson) where if KU lost either of those guys, that team is completely different. They made everyone around them better. I see this team like that team with Frank and Perry. We clearly saw against KSU that without Perry our team struggles and as the article points out the same is true with a less than healthy Mason.

Either way, both the '08 and '12 teams went to the championship game and I would love to see this team get there too. Might be destiny in that it's four years since our last trip there. '08...'12...'16.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 4 months ago

Thank GOD Mason is getting his mojo back!! If we can have this team clicking on all cylinders, like we did during the WUG games, we can win this National Championship thing. When Mason is on his game, the team feeds off it, which is somewhat unique for a guy that vocalizes so little.

Kent Richardson 6 years, 4 months ago

He looked spunky for the first time in a while. If we win both this week and look good doing it then this Nat'l title thing may start to glimmer.

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