Frank Mason is no stranger to awards and honors.
Now the former Kansas men’s basketball standout has another to add to his lengthy list.
On the heels of a season in which he became the first consensus national player of the year for the Jayhawks since Danny Manning in 1988, Mason has been chosen as Distinguished Kansan by The Topeka Capital-Journal.
“I think Frank always enjoyed it here,” KU coach Bill Self said. “But I think after he was here a year and got acclimated and after his role on the basketball team increased so much and he saw his importance to everybody and after he saw he could do the work academically and after he saw that he belonged, I think he really tried hard to embrace every aspect of college. He loved the people here, he loved the fans, he loved his teammates — he was ridiculously loyal to his teammates. He became such a better communicator.”
Mason averaged 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds across a senior season which saw the Jayhawks make the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament.
He received the Oscar Robertson and Naismith Trophies for being the nation’s top player, as well as national player of the year nods from The Associated Press and the National Basketball Coaches Association, among others, en route to being drafted No. 34 overall by the Sacramento Kings.
Self said the more the community fell in love with Mason, the more the point guard fell in love with Kansas.
“Without question, how people felt about him, certainly he embraced,” Self said, “and almost felt there was an obligation to even be better because everybody thought so much of him.”