Mason makes history as KU’s first AP Player of the Year
Frank Mason III with parents Sharon Harrison and Frank Mason Jr.
PHOENIX – Frank Mason III became the first Jayhawk to win the Associated Press (AP) National Player of the Year award, as announced during a press conference at University of Phoenix Stadium on Thursday.
“First off, I want to thank God. It is such a great honor and privilege to be here,” the 5-foot-11 senior guard said. “I have to thank my parents for putting me in this position and helping me become the man I am, my wonderful coaches, the Kansas Jayhawk fans, everyone who believed in me and everyone who voted for me — I really appreciate it.”
Mason received 37 votes from the same 65-member media panel that selects the weekly AP Top 25. Josh Hart of Villanova was second in player of the year voting with 16 votes. Caleb Swanigan of Purdue had nine and Lonzo Ball of UCLA had three.
Mason is the only unanimous selection to the AP All-America First Team this season and became the first player in KU and Big 12 history to average more than 20 points and five assists in a single season. The Big 12 Player of the Year averaged 20.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists while shooting 48.7 percent from 3-point range.
In addition to becoming the first Jayhawk to win the AP’s honor, Mason is the first Big 12 player to win it since Blake Griffin of Oklahoma in 2009.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few was named the AP Coach of the Year at the same press conference on Thursday.
Mason’s 2016-17 Season Summary
• Became the only player in KU and Big 12 history to average more than 20 points and five assists in the same season.
• Showed a knack for taking over games, which directed Kansas to a 31-5 record and its 13th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title with a 16-2 league mark.
• Led the Big 12 in scoring overall (20.9 ppg) and during conference play (21.0 ppg).
• Averaged 5.2 assists per game.
• Two-time national player of the week.
• Three-time Big 12 Player of the Week.
• Posted 23 games of 20 or more points, including his final seven contests and 10 of KU’s last 11 outings.
• KU’s leading scorer in 26 games.
• In the Big 12, Mason ranked first in 3-point field goal percentage (47.1), fourth in assists (5.2), fifth in 3-pointers made per game (2.3), fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2), seventh in free throw percentage (79.4), ninth in field goal percentage (49.0) and 14th in steals (1.3).
• Made 50.0 percent (43-for-86) from 3-point range and 2.4 treys per game in Big 12 play.
• Shot 103-for-119 (86.6 percent) from the free throw line in his final 15 games, making 6.9 charity shots per contest in that span.
• Concluded his career No. 6 on the Kansas scoring list (1,885 points), No. 6 in assists (576), No. 8 in 3-point field goals (185), No. 13 in steals (165) and tied for third in consecutive starts (110). No Jayhawk in KU history ranked sixth or higher in both points and assists.
NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR COUNT
Frank Mason III’s National Player of the Year honors and the remaining awards he is a candidate for.
Associated Press Player of the Year
Sporting News Player of the Year
CBS Sports Player of the Year
USA TODAY Player of the Year
Bleacher Report Player of the Year
NBC Sports Player of the Year
USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy – March 31
NABC Player of the Year – April 2
Naismith Trophy – April 2
Bob Cousy Award for Point Guard of the Year – April 7
Wooden Award – April 7
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