At the beginning of the season, it was Devonte’ Graham who was supposed to be leaps and bounds above the competition. It was the sophomore class of Lagerald Vick and Carlton Bragg who were supposed to shine through this season. Or it was Josh Jackson, a top national recruit who was supposed to be getting all of the buckets. Maybe some people expected it, but most never thought that Frank Mason would have the season he is having so far.
Devonte’ Graham is having a good start to his 2016-2017 season. Graham is averaging just over 13 points and 5.3 assists per game. Lagerald Vick has been substantially better this year, averaging over 10 points per game, and 4.5 rebounds. Bragg has struggled some, but the team has high hopes that he’ll turn things around. Josh Jackson is averaging 14 points and 5.4 rebounds as a freshman. Though most of these things are predictable positives, Frank Mason is far and away the best player this season, and might even be the most surprising.
Currently, Mason is averaging 19.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. Mason has a .484 three-point percentage, which is the best out of his four seasons at KU. Many are comparing him to Sherron Collins from the 2009 team. When asked about it by Brian Mull of NCAA.com, he said: ”I don’t know if I want to say Frank’s a better basketball player than Sherron, but I do think Frank’s a better athlete. Frank’s so quick. He’s got a burst that few people have. He’s under control and he’s playing at a high level. He’s playing at about the level Sherron played at whenever Sherron was playing really well. They’re not comparable players, but they’re certainly comparable talent-wise.”
For right now, Mason is definitely in the running for Naismith Player of the Year, along with Oklahoma State guard Jawun Evans. Right now, they’re definitely playing like the best two point guards in the Big 12. The two Big 12 guards definitely have impressive resumes, as Evans is responsible for taking 36% of his teams’ shots, and is responsible for assisting 38% of them. All of those shots are paying off, as he’s had three 30-point games already, and it’s barely just December.
Maybe Frank Mason won’t be player of the year, but one can hope, right? Bill Self, even though Mason is a much-improved player, still has some things that he may need to work on if he’s going to get to that level. Self told Matt Galloway of CJOnline that: “I think Frank has had probably as good a start to the season as anybody in college basketball has had, but I do think that there’s times where he can be much more vocal. If you look at it from a coach’s perspective, and you have he and Devonte’ (Graham) out there together, then it seems like to me it’s pretty ridiculous if the other three guys don’t know what we’re trying to accomplish and do because it’s their responsibility to make sure they do know. I think Frank is much improved in that area because he’s not a natural talker, but I do think he can become more vocal.”
Mason has been a nice surprise on a team full of stars. This being his last season, it’s hard to say that he won’t be drafted in the first round. Of course, a lot of things could change between now and then, but if he continues at his current pace, he’ll have that first-round bid in no time at all.