GLENDALE, ARIZ. (USBWA) Kansas senior guard
Frank Mason III has been named the winner of the
Oscar Robertson Trophy as the national player of
the year in voting by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Mason was presented with the award by "The Big O" himself
at a news conference Friday at University of Phoenix Stadium, site
of this year's NCAA Final Four.
"To be the first player from Kansas to win the Oscar Robertson
Trophy is amazing as there have been so many great players at KU,"
Mason said. "There is no way I could have won this without
great coaches, like coach (Bill) Self, the rest of the staff and
great teammates. We accomplished a lot this season and this award
would not have been won without my teammates and coaches."
A consensus first-team All-America selection and the USBWA's
District VI Player of the Year, Mason is the first Kansas player
in school history to receive national player of the year honors
from the USBWA since the award was first presented to Robertson
in the 1958-59 season. Mason won the player of the year
balloting in eight of the USBWA's nine districts and is the
second straight USBWA National Player of the Year from the Big
12 Conference, joining Oklahoma's Biddy Hield last season.
"The announcement of the Oscar Robertson Trophy winner to
the best men's college basketball player in the country has always
been a great way for me to tip off Final Four weekend," Robertson
said. "It is a pleasure to honor the winners, their families
and their coaches, and to follow the progress of their careers as
they join such recent winners as Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Blake
Griffin, Andrew Bogut and David West."
An under-recruited and little-known player out of Petersburg
(Va.) High School, Mason went on to become one of Kansas' all-time
greats and the Jayhawks' first All-American since Thomas Robinson
Kansas coach Bill Self predicted that Mason's jersey one day
would hang from the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas' fabled
Frank has had a terrific four years at Kansas. He has become
better and matured each year, culminating with the best season that
I've ever had a player have that I've coached," Self said. "He
was the leader, the personality and the most consistent performer
on a very good team, averaging close to 21 points and more than
five assists per game. More importantly, Frank basically led us
through every tough moment, which is what separates him from so
many and makes him worthy of this award.
Mason, who will graduate this spring with a bachelor's degree
in liberal arts and sciences, finished his career sixth on the Kansas
all-time scoring list with 1,885 points, sixth in assists with 576
and eighth in 3-point field goals with 185. No Jayhawk player in
KU history ranked sixth or higher in both points and assists.
Mason averaged 20.9 points and 5.1 assists this season while
shooting 48.7 percent from 3-point range. The 2017 Big 12 Player
of the Year and a three-time all-conference pick, Mason became the
only player in KU and conference history to average more than 20
points and five assists in the same season.
Mason had a knack for taking over games, leading Kansas to a
31-5 record this season, a 13th consecutive Big 12 regular-season
championship and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. During Mason's
four-year career at Kansas, the Jayhawks won four Big 12 regular-season
titles, one Big 12 Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament
Elite Eight twice.
Kansas was ranked seventh or higher in every Associated Press
poll for the last two seasons and was No. 1 seven weeks in that
Oscar Robertson Trophy is voted on by the entire
membership of the association, which consists of more than 900 journalists.
It is the nation's oldest award and the only one named after a former
player. The legendary Oscar Robertson was the USBWA's first player
of the year in 1959 and was the consensus national player of the
year as a sophomore in 1958, the year before USBWA started giving
its player of the year award. The USBWA renamed the award the Oscar
Robertson Trophy in 1998.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was
formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter
Byers. Today, it is one of the most influential organizations in
college basketball. For more information on the USBWA and its award
programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.
Oscar Robertson Trophy