Former MMA postgrad standout Mason voted Big 12 POY

Former Massanutten Military Academy postgraduate basketball standout and University of Kansas senior point guard Frank Mason III was unanimously voted the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, the conference announced Sunday.

Mason, who was also named a first team All-American by USA Today and Sporting News on Monday, starred for head coach Chad Myers at Massanutten Military Academy during the 2012-13 season and led the Colonels to a No. 1 national ranking and an appearance in the National Prep Championship.

“I think it’s awesome obviously for him first, then for us as a program and then obviously for me as a coach it’s rewarding,” Myers said by phone on Monday morning as the Colonels traveled north to compete in the national prep tournament in Connecticut later this week.

“I think kind of the only thing that we wanna do is prepare guys to get ready to go to college. I think the first thing is obviously getting them there but the second thing is hopefully they’re successful when they get there. That’s kind of how we’re measured as a program. I think it’s a huge reward and it shows a lot about his character and work ethic and (he) just continued to get better throughout his four years.”

Considered a leading candidate for national player of the year, Mason, a Petersburg native, is averaging 20.5 points per game this season and was the first Kansas player to lead the Big 12 in scoring since the 2004-05 season. He leads the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (49.3 percent) and ranks fourth in assists (5.1 per game).

Mason has now been voted to the All-Big 12 team three straight seasons after netting second-team honors the previous two years. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound point guard has scored 1,740 points in four seasons with the Jayhawks.

“This is a great honor from the Big 12 coaches but it could not have happened without my teammates and coaches,” Mason was quoted as saying in a press release from Kansas. “We’ve worked hard to get here but have more things to accomplish in the next month.”

Kansas, which captured its 13th straight Big 12 regular season title this season to tie the NCAA record, heads into the conference tournament ranked No. 1 in the nation. The Jayhawks return to action on Thursday against TCU or Oklahoma in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals.

Myers said Mason is tentatively scheduled to return to Woodstock next month to have his jersey retired at MMA.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com