Kansas senior guard Frank Mason on Sunday night was announced as the National Association of Basketball Coaches men’s college basketball player of the year. He received the award at the NABC’s Guardians of the Game awards show at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix. It was shown live on Twitter.
It gave Mason four national player of the year awards in a busy four days in the Phoenix area, site of the 2017 Final Four. Claiming four national player awards that are recognized by the NCAA should assure Mason consensus national player of the year honors. In the past, it has taken four awards to be deemed consensus player of the year by the NCAA.
He’d be the first player in KU history to be a consensus national player of the year.
Mason, a 5-foot-11 senior guard from Petersburg, Va., added the NABC honor to the Naismith Trophy that is awarded by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, the Associated Press player of the year award and the Oscar Robertson Trophy presented by the United States Basketball Writers Association.
He is also a finalist for the Wooden Award, to be presented Friday in Los Angeles.
Mason on Sunday thanked the “NABC for selecting me for this award, my amazing parents and family for supporting me, my coaches and teammates and all the competition for pushing me to be the best I can be. I wish them the best and thanks.”
KU coach Bill Self, who received the Coaches Vs. Cancer Champion Award for his work fighting cancer, said of Mason: “You hear so much about what coaches do for players and the impact they have on lives … what you take for granted is the impact players have on our lives. Frank, we want to thank you at the University of Kansas for the impact you’ve had on all of us.”
KU has had four NABC Award winners: Mason, Danny Manning (1988), Nick Collison (2003) and Drew Gooden, who shared the honor with Duke’s Jason Williams in 2002.
Mason and Manning are the only Jayhawks to have won the Naismith Trophy. Mason is the only KU player to have won the AP and USBWA awards.
He is the second KU player to win more than one national player of the year award in the same season. Manning won the Wooden, NABC and Naismith player of the year awards in 1988. But Bradley's Hersey Hawkins won the other four that year.
The NCAA started tracking national players of the year in 1959. It recognizes seven player of the year honors: Associated Press, Oscar Robertson Trophy, NABC, Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award, as well as Basketball Times award and the Rupp Trophy. Basketball Times chose Caleb Swanigan of Purdue as its player of the year. The Rupp Trophy was not awarded last year.
Mason, who will graduate in May, averaged 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds a game his senior season while hitting 48.7 percent of his threes. The 2017 Big 12 Player of the Year became the only player in conference history to average more than 20 points and five assists in the same season.
He finished his career sixth on the Kansas scoring list with 1,885 points. He’s sixth with 576 career assists and eighth with 185 three-point field goals.
▪ Bob Chipman of Washburn, who has announced plans to retire, on Sunday was honored for winning his 800th game this past season at the NABC Guardians of the Game awards show.
▪ Northwest Missouri State, the NCAA Division II champions, collected hardware during the program. Justin Pitts, the guard who played at Blue Springs South, was presented his player of the trophy, and Ben McCollum was presented his coach of the year award.