Frank Mason did not grow up playing a lot of softball or baseball, but he feels like he could do pretty well at the plate with a bat in his hands.
Often the quiet but fierce presence on the basketball court, both for Kansas in college and now the Sacramento Kings in the NBA, Mason showed a little of his cocky side on Saturday afternoon. Hosting the Frank Mason & Friends charity softball game at T-Bones Stadium, Mason declared he was going to hit a couple balls over the fence when he gets on the field.
“I honestly feel like I can play any sport — well I know I can,” Mason said before the game on Saturday. “But we’ll see how I look today on the softball field, I’m pretty confident."
The event is the first large event Mason has hosted since being picked 34th overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2017 NBA Draft. In his first year in the NBA, Mason averaged 7.9 points and 2.8 assists over 52 games, and is relieved to “have year one under my belt coming back.”
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The event shows the kind of community-centric attitude Kansas coach Bill Self infuses into his players from the moment they commit to KU.
“It means a lot to me, to be in this position and come back to Kansas and have an event like this, and have former players come back and support this event,” Mason said. “All of the fans, everybody in the surrounding area, came out from so many different areas. Just wanted them to know they’re appreciated.”
Mason returns to the Kansas City area nearly a year to the day from being drafted, and is ready to watch the next batch of KU players to head to the NBA.
The three expected to be drafted from KU are Malik Newman, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Devonte’ Graham. Mason played with the former two during his time at Kansas.
“It’s a big day, I’m excited. I can’t wait to see where some of the guys end up going to,” Mason said. “I’m excited for all of the guys, just growing with them over the years and seeing their dreams come true, I’m excited.”
Mason hasn’t had a chance to talk to Graham, but he was able to talk to Mykhailiuk briefly when the Ukrainian was at a workout with the Kings.
“I haven’t seen Devonte’ in a workout yet, but I’ll talk to him,” Mason said. “Pretty much just tell him good luck with the process — enjoy it, embrace it, and just have fun with it.”
The NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, while the 2019 NBA schedule is expected to be announced in the first or second week of August.
“I think I’ve got everything figured out as far as traveling and schedule wise, different things like that,” Mason concluded. “So I’m excited about this next upcoming season.”