There was a short — but important — comment from Kansas coach Bill Self following his team’s 105-62 victory over UMKC on Tuesday night.
Someone asked about senior guard Frank Mason, who scored 30 points while remaining as a top candidate for national player of the year honors.
Self, instead, wanted to talk about the past.
“The young man has really worked on his shot,” the coach said. “It’s a quicker release. He’s doing a lot of things, and the basket’s large for him right now.”
Mason made 6 of 7 three-pointers Tuesday and has made 55 percent of his attempts this season.
It’s hard to remember now, but it wasn’t always like this for Mason.
Let’s go back to his freshman year. While his outside shot wasn’t broken, Self was correct in that it … was … slow.
Mason makes this three-pointer, but notice how long it takes him to release it. Florida’s Casey Prather has time to rotate from outside the lane, take a step and then hop, nearly blocking this attempt even after it appeared to be wide open.
Even after the attempt went through, ESPN analyst Dick Vitale said this on the broadcast: “That’s not his strength. He was 3 for 19 shooting the three coming into this game.”
So that’s where Mason started. Let’s compare that to Tuesday.
Even with a defender close to him, he’s able to get his shot away. The whole process has sped up from three years ago.
Perhaps this gives us the best look. I’ve synched up (as best I could) Mason three-pointers from the Florida game and Tuesday’s UMKC game, beginning the video with the moment he catches.
Notice how Mason doesn’t have to go as low with his shot as before.
He’s releasing it much faster than he was …
with the video showing that Tuesday’s shot goes in before 2013’s is even close to the basket.
Again, this should only give Mason more confidence that he can get his shot off cleanly. And he certainly showed that with a late three-pointer from NBA range.
It was interesting listening to Chris Piper’s call on Jayhawk TV.
“You give him a little cushion,” Piper said, “and that’s all he needs.”
Yes, that’s a true statement from 2016.
And for that, Mason deserves a lot of credit.