Kansas senior guard Frank Mason has heard whispers he’ll be selected late in the first round or early in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft scheduled for June 22 in New York.
“But it’s a business. You hear a lot of things. You just have to wait for the moment and see what happens,” Mason said with a shrug Saturday before the Jayhawks seniors’ “Barnstorming Tour” exhibition game at Blue Valley Northwest High School.
The 5-foot-11 Mason, college basketball’s consensus player of the year, is currently listed as the 59th overall pick (to San Antonio) in the 60 player draft by draftexpress.com and 55th overall pick (to Utah) by nbadraft.net heading into the all-important NBA Combine to be held Tuesday through Sunday in Chicago.
“I’m really excited about the process and I’m enjoying every day,” Mason said. He will participate in agility drills and 5-on-5 games Thursday and Friday at Chicago’s Quest Multisport facility.
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“I just want to be myself, be the best player I can be, the best teammate, best human being,” Mason, 23, added of his goals for the Combine. “I just want to be good in all areas and show what I’m capable of.”
Mason has been spending a lot of time in the gym preparing for the Combine the last several weeks. He’s shown no signs of complacency after being chosen national player of the year by the Associated Press, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Atlanta Tipoff Club as well as the Sporting News, USA Today, CBS Sports, NBC Sports and Bleacher Report.
“Everything I did in college is pretty much over now,” said Mason. He was announced as the winner of KU’s Danny Manning Mr. Jayhawk Award on April 11 at the KU basketball banquet, concluding the awards season. “I have to start over, work harder and prepare for the best level now.”
“He outlined his hectic workout schedule.
“For the most part I start at 10 (a.m.), finish close to noon, get a good lift in, go back later that night at 8 or 9 and do the same thing,” Mason said.
“I get a lot of shots up, do a lot of drills, work on footwork, things like that. I work with the coaching staff and a few other people. It’s pretty much me getting in the gym and getting the reps in. I’ve been working hard, lifting, getting my conditioning in so I can be at my best when I go there (in Chicago) and do all those drills.”
Mason is looking forward to seeing the results of height/weight measurements taken in Chicago.
“The last time I was measured (many months ago), was 5-11 3/4 without shoes,” he said.
Mason’s chances of making it in the NBA may have been helped by the emergence of Boston Celtics standout Isaiah Thomas, who stands 5-feet-9.
“He’s doing a great job for his height,” Mason said. “He is showing it’s heart over height, that smaller guys can be just as effective as bigger guys in the league. It’s amazing to see the things he’s doing in the league. I’m rooting for him.”
A liberal arts and sciences major, Mason will participate in KU’s Commencement on Sunday at Memorial Stadium.
“It will be a great time,” Mason said of graduation. Fellow seniors Tyler Self and Landen Lucas graduated a year ago and participated in Commencement last May.
Svi to attend Combine
KU junior guard Svi Mykhailiuk, who has entered his name in the draft but not signed with an agent, also will be at the NBA Combine and will compete in 5-on-5 basketball and agility drills.
KU freshman Josh Jackson was invited, but, as a projected top five pick, will not participate. It’s been said guaranteed lottery picks have little to gain, much to possibly lose, by competing in front of scouts, who could see something they don’t like during drills.
If Mykhailiuk decides to return to KU for his senior season, he must withdraw his name from the draft pool by May 24.
Lucas to work out for teams
KU senior forward Landen Lucas was not invited to the Combine. Instead, he will work out for individual teams in coming weeks.
“A goal obviously is to make a team that’s a good fit, whether through the draft process or a phone call afterward,” Lucas said. He’s been working out with fellow draft prospects at a facility in Daytona, Fla., that his agent recommended. “The goal is to find a good fit for the summer league. If I get an opportunity to show a team I can help them out, that would be great.”
Lucas would be willing to play overseas if he doesn’t get drafted or make the roster of an NBA squad.
Lucas is not alone in not landing an invitation to the Combine. According to Jon Rothstein of CBSsports.com, 67 players will attend the Combine, but just 18 are college seniors.