Mason named Wooden Award finalist, Jackson All-American

Kansas' Frank Mason III (0) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Stanford Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in Lawrence, Kan. Kansas won 89-74. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

LOS ANGELES – Kansas senior Frank Mason III has been named one of five finalists for the 2017 John R. Wooden Award Presented by Wendy’s honoring the most outstanding college basketball player, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Monday on ESPNU. Mason also joins teammate Josh Jackson on the Wooden Award All-American Team.

Finalists for the award include Mason, Lonzo Ball (UCLA, Josh Hart (Villanova), Calen Swanigan (Purdue) and Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga) with one of the five winning the 2017 John R. Wooden Award.

Mason led the Big 12 in scoring with a 20.9 average in 2016-17 and his 21.0 points per game in league play are also tops in the conference. A two-time national and three-time conference player of the week from Petersburg, Virginia, Mason averaged 5.2 assists in 2016-17 and became the only player in KU and Big 12 history to average more than 20 points and five assists in the same season. Mason posted 23 games of 20 or more points in 2016-17, including his final seven games and 10 of KU’s last 11 contests.

Showing a knack for taking over games which led Kansas to a 31-5 record and its 13th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title with a 16-2 league mark, Mason led Kansas in scoring in 26 games and also led the league in 3-point field goal percentage at 47.1 percent. Also in the Big 12, Mason finished fourth in assists (5.2), fifth in 3-pointers made per game (2.3), fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2), seventh in free throw percentage (79.4), ninth in field goal percentage (49.0) and 14th in steals (1.3). Mason went 103-for-119 (86.6 percent) from the free throw line in his final 15 games, making 6.9 charity shots per contest in that span. Additionally, he made 50.0 percent (43-for-86) from 3-point range and 2.4 treys per game in Big 12 play.

The 2017 Big 12 Player of the Year and three-time all-conference selection, Mason concluded his career No. 6 on the Kansas scoring list (1,885 points), No. 6 in assists (576), No. 8 in 3-point field goals (185), No. 13 in steals (165) and tied for third in consecutive starts (110). No Jayhawk in KU history ranked sixth or higher in both points and assists.

Mason has been named to six All-America first teams in 2016-17 and the national player of the year by three entities. His All-America teams include Sporting News, USA TODAY, USBWA, Basketball Times and NBC Sports with Sporting News, USA TODAY, Bleacher Report and NBC Sports naming Mason their national player of the year.

The 41st annual presentation of the John R. Wooden Award to the men’s and women’s most outstanding college basketball player will be the anchor presentation of the ESPN College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s on ESPN2 on Friday, April 7, 2017. The men’s and women’s John R. Wooden Award All American Teams will be honored during the ceremony, and the 2017 Wooden Award Legends of Coaching Trophy will be presented to Muffet McGraw, Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Notre Dame.

This is Jackson’s fourth All-America honor this season, having earned second-team honors by Sporting News, USA TODAY and NBC Sports in addition to a third-team selection by the NABC. The 2017 Big 12 Freshman of the Year joined Mason on the All-Big 12 First Team and was a seven-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and two-time Big 12 Player of the Week this season. Jackson finished second on the team in scoring at 16.3 points per game and second on the team in rebounding at 7.4 rebounds per game. The Detroit native recorded 12 double-doubles, including nine in his last 15 outings.
About the John R. Wooden Award

Created in 1976 by the Los Angeles Athletic Club, the John R. Wooden Award program features the most prestigious individual honors in college basketball. The Wooden Award Trophy is bestowed annually upon the nation’s best male and female player, who have met the selection criteria as set forth by the Award’s creators. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Kansas’ Danny Manning (’88), Tim Duncan (’97), Candace Parker (’07 and ’08), Kevin Durant (’07), Maya Moore (’09 and ’11), Trey Burke (’13), Doug McDermott (’14), Frank Kaminsky (’15). Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield won the 2016 men’s Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s and Breanna Stewart of Connecticut won the 2016 women’s Wooden Award.

Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to the general scholarship fund of the honoree’s University in the name of the All-American recipient. The Award has also enabled more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long basketball camps in the Award’s name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with the Special Olympics Southern California each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament takes place at the Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award presentation, and brings together Special Olympics athletes and the Wooden Award All-Americans.

2017 WOODEN AWARD FINALISTS
Lonzo Ball, UCLA
Josh Hart, Villanova
FRANK MASON III, KANSAS
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga

2017 WOODEN AWARD ALL-AMERICANS
Lonzo Ball, UCLA
Dillon Brooks, Oregon
Josh Hart, Villanova
JOSH JACKSON, KANSAS
Justin Jackson, North Carolina
Luke Kennard, Duke
FRANK MASON III, KANSAS
Malik Monk, Kentucky
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga

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