Kansas guard Frank Mason, whose short, sentimental Senior Night speech charmed both 16,300 fans and his 5-year-old son, Amari, on Monday night, will someday return to deliver an encore presentation at Allen Fieldhouse.
“It’s done,” KU coach Bill Self said on Tuesday’s weekly Hawk Talk radio show, when asked the likelihood of the 5-foot-11 Petersburg, Va., native having a No. 0 jersey retirement ceremony at some point in time.
“I mean if you are player of the year in the league or if you are an All-American, it’s done. Now he still has to be player of the year in our league and he still has to be a first-team All-American. Even though our criteria has been flexible, that’s been criteria here a long time. That should be automatic. If you are national player of the year, how could you not have your jersey hung or if you’re a first-team All-American? That just doesn’t happen every year.”
Mason is considered a lock for Big 12 player of the year and first-team All-American. He’s a leading candidate for national player of the year honors.
So far, three of Self’s players — Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush and Wayne Simien — have had jersey retirement ceremonies at KU.
Self on his show revealed another player who is a lock to have a jersey retirement ceremony.
“Thomas Robinson is done. He was first-team All-American and player of the year in our league,” Self said.
Mason to graduate; Gooden earns degree
Mason will graduate in May with a liberal arts and sciences degree.
“I forgot to mention this last night (speaking to fans after KU’s win over Oklahoma) … Frank has been here four years. How many students go to school four years and only need two classes to graduate second semester of their senior year?” Self said.
“He’s taking two classes to finish up. That’s all because of loading up in the summer. It’s important you take summer school before you get to college (summer before freshman year),” Self added of his players. “If you do leave early (for the NBA) it puts you in position you can see the finish line. That’s been the case with several guys who come back to knock it out.”
Self said Drew Gooden, who left KU after his junior season in 2001-02 is the most recent former Jayhawk to land his degree.
“Fans will be excited to know he earned his degree this past year. I was told that today,” Self said. “He completed all the work to get his degree. That’s pretty special.”
Gooden, who played during the Roy Williams era, had his jersey retired at KU on Jan. 18, 2003.
Mason wears elbow pad
Mason has been wearing a sleeve on his left arm.
“As long as he shoots it the way he does, he needs to sleep in it, too,” Self joked. “A lot of guys wear something with padding built into it. Frank’s … I’m 95 percent sure he’s fallen on his left elbow and there’s padding in there if he falls on it again. There’s medicinal reasons guys do things.
“We have a rule you can’t do anything in a game you don’t do every day in practice. Everybody has to wear the same thing in practice (such as a headband) they wear in the game. They have to do the same thing every time.”
Self on future of Svi, Graham
Self was asked if junior guard Devonté Graham would return for a senior season.
“Devonté … he and Svi (Mykhailiuk, junior guard) probably will have choices to make after this season. Depending on what’s best for them, that’s what they should do. Certainly the way it is today, they both have both feet in (at KU), without any question at all,” Self said.
“But it would be nice to see maybe as popular a student as we have on our campus (Graham) come back a fourth year. If it’s best for him, we should all be happy for him.”
Self said after the show there’s been “no talk of league. But obviously (they) will think about (it) after the season.”
Trevon Duval, a 6-2 senior point guard from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., made an official visit to Baylor for Monday’s Baylor-West Virginia game, Zagsblog.com reports.
Duval, who is ranked No. 3 in the recruiting class of 2017 by Rivals.com, has also visited KU, Duke and Arizona. He plans to visit Seton Hall.
Jermaine Cousinard, a 6-4 senior combo guard from East Chicago (Ind.) Central High School, attended Monday’s KU-Oklahoma game on an unofficial visit. The unranked player has DePaul, Northwestern and others on his list. He recently scored 45 points against Evansville Bosse.
“Kansas visit went great,” the Indiana Elite AAU player wrote on Twitter.
Fans stayed for speeches
KU coach Self was impressed the fieldhouse remained full for Senior Night speeches after the Jayhawks’ 73-63 comeback victory over OU.
“That’s what makes this place different,” Self said. “We talk about how our fans help us win games. No question they do. We are so spoiled. It’s amazing to me. I almost feel the fans think it would be disrespectful if they left (before the speeches).
“They support these kids four years. They are invested into that. Here’s a chance for the kids to have a memorable moment. I think they’d feel guilty if they didn’t do their part to make it memorable. It’s pretty special.”
Self comments on ranking
KU is ranked No. 1 in this week’s AP poll for the first time this season.
“It is nice. It definitely says you’ve had a good year. We’ve been No. 1 before late in the season. We’ve been No. 1 early in the season. As a coach, I can tell you it’s much better to be No. 1 late in the season,” Self said.
“We are basically No. 1 with I guess two more polls that will come out, Monday, then the Monday before the start of the NCAA Tournament. It’s nice. It doesn’t guarantee anything or mean that much. I think it means something to our players.”