Kansas basketball senior Frank Mason III has been named the winner of the 2017 John R. Wooden Award as the nation's most outstanding men's college basketball player, announced Friday night during ESPN's College Basketball Awards show in downtown Los Angeles.
A senior, Mason averaged 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds to help the Jayhawks reach the Elite Eight. Mason beat out fellow Wooden finalists Lonzo Ball of UCLA, Josh Hart of Villanova, Caleb Swanigan of Purdue and Nigel Williams-Goss of Gonzaga.
"It means a lot to me," Mason said on ESPN after receiving the Wooden Award on stage. "I want to thank John R. Wooden. I want to thank my parents. I want to thank my coaches and teammates. Other than that – this award means everything to me but nothing would have meant more to me than a national championship … God had a plan for me. I'm just thankful to win this award."
The Petersburg, Virginia native is the second Jayhawk to win the Wooden Award and the first since Danny Manning won it in 1988. it gave Mason a clean sweep of the national player of the year accolades, the second straight season the nation's top player hailed from the Big 12 (Buddy Hield, Oklahoma, 2015-16). Mason also received the Bob Cousy Award Friday night as the nation's top point guard.
The 5-foot-11 guard is the fourth-straight senior to win the Wooden Award. Seniors haven't captured the Wooden Award in four consecutive season since it happen seven-straight times from 1987-93.
Mason, the 2017 Big 12 Player of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team honoree (both unanimous selections), averaged 20.9 points and was the first Kansas player to lead the Big 12 in scoring since 2004-05. The Petersburg, Virginia-native also led the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (.490), while ranking fourth in assists (5.2 apg). Mason, who will graduate from Kansas with a liberal arts and science degree in May 2017, became the first player in Big 12 and Kansas history to average 20.0 points and 5.0 assists per game for a season. Mason concluded his career sixth on the KU career-scoring list at 1,885 and sixth in career assists at 576. He is only player in Kansas history to rank that high in both career points and assists.
Among the other awards handed out Friday, Hart won the Julius Erving award (top small forward), Kentucky's Malik Monk won the Jerry West award (top shooting guard), Baylor's Johnathan Motley won the Karl Malone award (top power forward) and Gonzaga's Przemek Karnowski won the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award (top center).