Frank Mason: National Player of the year.
I always knew I would be able to write that sentence, I just didn’t know when. I believed in Frank. He proved me right. And I couldn’t be more proud of a Kansas player in my life.
What a ride for Frank Mason iii. I mean if you ever think you can’t achieve your goals, all you have to do is read about Frank Mason’s journey. You’re entire mindset would change. You would realize, literally, anything is possible. You can change you’re life around for the best, if you put yourself in the best possible situation ever. And that’s what Frank did.
Frank became a legend. But it was a journey to get to where he is now.
If you don’t know the story, here it is. Frank went to Petersbug High School in Virginia, where he absolutely thrived. He set milestones after milestones, and even became the second highest scorer in school history, only behind Hall of Famer Moses Malone. However, Mason was still under recruited. He lacked height, a solid jump shot and no one thought he would succeed at the college level. But scouts don’t measure heart, they don’t measure strength, they don’t measure the attitude of winning. No, scouts see a kid who can do a 360 dunk against air and they make him a 5 star recruit. So Frank became a 3 star recruit out of 5 stars. Average. He committed to play basketball at Towson University. A below average Division one school. But hey, it was Division one. And if Frank went to Towson, I’m sure he would’ve thrived, because that’s the type of person he is.
Thankfully, for Frank and Jayhawk Nation, Frank never enrolled into Towson. You see, Frank had to take a specific requirement to graduate high school. It was a government class. Frank never really did well on the tests, or handed in his homework. And listen, yes, Frank was wrong, he should’ve done everything to pass the class, but I was a senior in High school too once, and if I committed to play Division 1 basketball, I don’t think I would’ve thrived in that class either. But the teacher failed Frank, and rightfully so.
Frank did’t graduate high school on time, he lost his scholarship to Towson, and really, any chance of him playing Basketball was as good as over. It seemed as if the haters were right. Frank would never thrive on the big stage.
But never, ever underestimate Frank Mason.
Frank went to go better himself. He enrolled into Massanutten Military Academy. Frank had to enroll into a prep school to have a fighting chance of playing college ball. But this wasn’t like any prep school, it was a military academy. Mason had to wake up at 6 am every morning to do chores, dress in uniform every day, and basketball was second. It helped Frank mature and become a man.
And then his life changed. Kurtis Townsend changed his life.
While on a recruiting trip in Las Vegas, Townsend was there to scout Jordan McLaughlin, a 4 star recruit, to play Point Guard for the Jayhawks that next year. And than Townsend realized something. In some back, old gym, in the middle of Las Vegas, a star was born. Townsend realized it wasn’t Jordan McLaughlin that was going to run the Jayhawks offense.
It was going to be, Frank Mason.
Frank was tearing up the opponents. He was hustling for every loose ball, getting on the floor, attacking the basket with no fear, and his team dominated, because of Frank. Townsend was blown away that he had to go back and watch him the next day. And to no surprise, Frank was playing the same way, 110%, that’s the only way Frank knows how to play.
When Townsend told head coach Bill Self about this small guard from Virginia, they were intrigued. They knew he committed to Towson, but after talking to him and watching him play more and more, they realized they didn’t need Jordan McLaughlin.
Townsend offered Mason a scholarship, and the rest is history.
Mason, obviously accepted, and his legend grew.
When I saw that the Jayhawks recruiting class was complete, I thought it was going to be Kansas’ best ever. I watched a Youtube video on all the recruits they were getting that year. Those names consisted of Andrew Wiggins (#1 player in the nation), Joel Embiid (#11 player in the nation), Wayne Selden Jr. (McDonald’s All American), Brannen Greene (knock down 3 point shooter, very athletic), Conner Frankamp (knock down 3 point shooter, and a great point guard), and Frank Mason. As I watched the video of the 6 of them, I was memorized by the highlights those first 5 guys had, but it was Mason that really caught my eye. I already knew what the other 5 were going to do. But as I watched this 5’11” Point Guard, i thought to myself “Oh my God, who is this kid? Why haven’t i heard of him? This kid is a beast”
The day I knew Frank was going to be a star was his Freshman year, in a game against Villanova, in which they lost. I was pissed about the loss, but looking back at it, 4 years later, it help Frank Mason emerge as a star.
Kansas played one of its worst games of the season that year. The one bright spot? Obviously, Frank Mason. Mason scored 12 points on 5/11 shooting in 26 points. But it was his effort that proved that he was going to be a star. He went up against one of the top Point Guards in the country, Ryan Arcidiacono. Arcidiacono scored 4 points in 31 minutes. Mason locked him down. It was Mason’s face after the game that proved how much he wanted to win. The dude hates losing.
The next 3 years, Mason improved his game every single year. He became the absolute heart and soul for Kansas. He would be on the floor for every loose ball, dive into the stands if he had too and the ball was always in his hands when the Jayhawks needed a bucket. He carried this program on his back.
And then his senior year came. And it became the Frank Mason show. And rightfully so. Frank had the GREATEST season ever by a Kansas player. For a program, that basically invented basketball, Frank Mason, the 5’11” point guard, from Petersbug, Virginia, who was only recognized in a back gym in the middle of Las Vegas, had the GREATEST season in Kansas history.
Paul Pierce. Andrew Wiggins. Wilt Chamberlain. Mario Chalmers. Joel Embiid. Thomas Robinson. Sherron Collins. Danny Manning. Clyde Lovellette. Josh Jackson.
None of those guys had a season like Frank Mason.
Mason did everything he could to carry this Jayhawks team. Whether it was his game winner jumper against Duke, his almost triple-double against Oklahoma State, diving into the stands against Kansas State, and then jumping right back in to make the steal, or scoring whenever Kansas needed him. He was he alpha dog. And he always has been.
Frank averaged 20.9 Points per game, 5.2 assists per game, and 4.2 rebounds per game. That has never been done before in a Kansas uniform.
The kid that everyone doubted became a first team All-American, AP National Player of the year (which has never been won by a Kansas player), Oscar Robertson trophy winner, Big 12 first team, Big 12 player of the year and a goal medal winner, when he carried the Jayhawks to the World University Games championship in 2015, which also has never been done by a university. Mason led that team.
Now when you read the first part of the article, him failing government class, not graduating high school, being discovered in a back gym, did you ever think, that Mason would finish with those awards? Of course you didn’t.
But, I did. I knew Mason was a star. I’ve had countless arguments and fights about this guy. I hated the fact people bet against him. Because why would you ever bet against a warrior, a winner. You just don’t.
When Mason checked out of the game for the last time at Allen Fieldhouse, I got emotional. And when he started crying on the court, you really felt that. Because for 4 years, you never saw Frank even break a smile. He was always so serious. He was a stone cold assassin. But during his senior year, you saw more of side that you never saw of Frank. He was breaking a couple smiles and then he finally broke down
All of his emotions on how much he loves this school and how much this school means to him, were shown right there. Everyone knows how much Frank loves Kansas but it’s more of the fact of how much Kansas Jayhawk Nation LOVES Frank. He carried this program, he loved this program, he gave his blood, sweat and tears into the Kansas uniform.
And now that Frank and graduated, and cemented himself as one of the best Kansas basketball player of all time, there will be a void in Allen Fieldhouse, because no one and I mean no one, impacted the Kansas basketball program like Frank Msson.
His next step? Get drafted in the NBA
And then? Get his number retired in the Kansas rafters
And finally, he’ll thrive in the NBA. Because Frank doesn’t know how to stop. His motor never stops. His love for the game never stops.
Jayhawk nation will miss you Frank. I’ll miss you Frank. But I know he’ll thrive in the NBA. He’s to talented.
There will never be another Frank Mason.
To my favorite Kansas Jayhawk of all time. Frank Mason
Thank you for everything. Rock Chalk!
P.S. If you haven’t heard the rap video on Frank, by Redhead, its called BIFM and BIFM 2.0. It is incredibly FIRE. I’ll post the link here. It is definitely worth the listen.