MMA postgrad standout Mason selected by Kings in NBA Draft

Former Massanutten Millitary Academy postgrad basketball standout Frank Mason III receives a standing ovation on April 21 as he has his jersey retired at the school. Mason was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the NBA Draft on Thursday. Rich Cooley/Daily file

It’s been quite a year for Frank Mason III and it became even better Thursday night.

The former Massanutten Military Academy post-graduate basketball standout was drafted by the Sacramento Kings with the fourth pick of the second round (34th overall) in Thursday night’s NBA Draft.

MMA postgraduate boys basketball coach Chad Myers said he spoke with Mason on Thursday night and again briefly on Friday morning.

“Obviously, he’s very excited,” Myers said. “It probably hasn’t hit him how real it is right now. And he’s been moving so much from team-to-team-to-team (for pre-draft workouts). So I’m sure he’ll take it all in, in the next week or so.”

Mason played at the University of Kansas for four years, after spending a year at MMA. This past season Mason won every major national player of the year award, including the James A. Naismith Trophy, given each year to the nation’s most outstanding men’s college basketball player.

Myers said that the point guard had 17 pre-draft workouts with 12 different teams in the last month. He said Mason worked out for the Philadelphia 76ers, Orland Magic, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Myers said that the Kings were one of five teams that Mason worked out for twice and said he worked out for Oklahoma City on Thursday before heading back home to Petersburg to spend time with his family and watch the draft.

Mason will be headed to Sacramento in the next few days to play in the NBA Summer League to try to earn a spot on the Kings’ roster.

Myers said that he thinks Mason will be a good fit with the Kings.

“He had really good workouts there, felt like he could fit in with what they’re trying to do,” Myers said. “Obviously, everybody wants to go in the first round, but sometimes it’s about being with the right team and the right situation where you feel comfortable.”

Mason will have competition with the Kings. Sacramento selected University of Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox with the fourth pick in the NBA Draft. Sacramento has two other point guards on its roster, veterans Darren Collison and Ty Lawson.

The big question mark about the 5-foot-11 Mason has been whether his size will hold him back at the next level.

Myers said that Mason will compete hard for a spot on the Kings’ roster and to show that he can make it in the NBA.

“He’s never really been satisfied with anything,” Myers said. “I think that’s one of the things about him. He’s the most competitive person I’ve been around. He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around. I think he’s going to attack every day. He’ll want to be the best player in the NBA. That’s his mindset — that’s his goal. Obviously, that’s how he’s going to work every day. He’s worked out every single day since they stopped playing at Kansas.”

The Kings, who finished 32-50 this past season, had four picks in the draft. After selecting Fox, they also picked University of North Carolina forward Justin Jackson with the 15th pick and Duke University forward Harry Giles with the 20th selection.

Mason attended Petersburg High School and had signed a letter of intent to play at Towson University, but became academically ineligible and chose to attend MMA for a year.

Mason then went to Kansas and slowly began to see more and more playing time. His senior year Mason really took off and averaged 20.9 points and 5.2 assists per game for the Jayhawks.

Myers said it’s been amazing to see how far Mason has come since playing at MMA in the 2012-13 season.

“It’s a testament to how hard he works and his competitive nature,” Myers said. “He’s one of those guys you’d like to obviously clone — his leadership, and the type of person he is, how hard he competes.”

Myers said Mason, who had his jersey retired at MMA in April, is a good example for other players who come into their program at MMA.

“We can bring in guys, recruit guys, and we can say hey this guy played right here in our program, and went on to be college basketball player of the year and went to on to be drafted in the NBA,” Myers said. “So anything that you want to achieve it can be done here. I always say it’s real now. It happened. Everybody can say you can’t achieve this and that, but once somebody has actually done it the proof is there.

“It kind of just helps us solidify what we believe, and where we can help guys go having a guy that’s actually done it now.”

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