Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Not Pleased with Junior Campaign, KU Basketball's Frank Mason Seeks Senior Strides

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Not Pleased with Junior Campaign, KU Basketball's Frank Mason Seeks Senior Strides

Article excerpt

As both a senior and the longest-tenured returning starter, Frank Mason can make a legitimate claim that next year's Kansas basketball team belongs to him.

So nothing new, really.

"Oh, definitely," Mason said. "I felt that way last year as the point guard."

With that comment Tuesday at Bob Chipman's youth basketball camp in Topeka, Mason was not trying to upstage his teammates. Still, with Jayhawk stalwart Perry Ellis out of the fold, Mason is as good a candidate as any to take over the role of face of the program -- although prized freshman Josh Jackson could challenge for that title.

Mason admitted to feeling a sense of urgency entering his final campaign in Lawrence. He wants his team to go further than last year, where it lost in the Elite Eight to eventual national champion Villanova. And, from a personal standpoint, Mason wants to improve his NBA Draft stock and advance his professional aspirations.

To do so, he will have to improve on a junior season that saw his shooting (43.4), 3-point (38.1) and free-throw (73.9) percentages all decline from marks posted his sophomore year.

"You know, on the court I wasn't pleased with the way I played throughout the season," Mason said. "I had a couple of good games here and there, but I could've been a lot better. So I'm looking to make those adjustments and be a lot better this year."

Mason said he is focused on improving every aspect of his shot this offseason, from shooting off the dribble, to shooting off a screen, to the basic catch-and-shoot play.

Part of what is driving his offseason push, Mason said, is the memory of losing 64-59 to the Wildcats with the Final Four in sight. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound guard echoed fellow senior Landen Lucas' comment earlier this month that losing to the eventual national champion has actually made the defeat sting worse.

"Just to see the team we got defeated by win the national championship -- that wasn't a good feeling," Mason said. "We know how close we were to winning that game. We only can get better from it, learn from it, put in more work and hope that next time around it won't be that way. …

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