Frank Mason III: ‘Thanks for believing in me Sacramento Kings, I promise you won’t regret it.’

Who is Frank Mason III?

A small, fiery and tenacious kid would be an understatement when talking about the 23-year-old out of Petersburg, Va. Mason was born and raised in his small hometown of Petersburg by his mother Sharon Harrison who took care of him and his seven other siblings.

Frank’s father, Frank Mason Jr., was in prison until Mason III was 12, so growing up was a tough situation for his mother who made ends meet by raising all eight children and working a full-time manager job at a local convenience store.

Till this day, Mason proudly considers himself a “momma’s boy” as he recognizes the struggle his mother went through to not only raise him, but keep an entire 8-person family together under a small apartment.

“Back then, it was amazing…we were all in the same house – all love,” Mason told Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star. “But it was like driving my mom crazy, because it was just her.”

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Growing up, Mason didn’t have much time to himself or any distractions from the reality that was his, so he decided to pick up a basketball and head down to the local basketball gym near his east-side apartment.

From then on as a child, Mason would practice his shooting and dribbling every single day unaware of the successful future he would go on to have.

“Most of the people in Petersburg…they been there for a while. They want to go to different places and different cities and big cities, but they’re kind of stuck with the violence,” Mason said. “It’s hard for them to get out and do positive things.”

These are some reasons why Mason never thought of the possibilities of where basketball would eventually take him.

At 10 years old, Mason would soon garner the attention of local AAU scouts, eventually joining an AAU team that traveled all over his home state of Virginia.

As the competition continued to get more difficult, Mason wasn’t concerned about how hard it was beginning to get, rather when the next tournament was so he could show how dominant he really was.

After a few years of honing his craft at such a young age, Mason was ready for high school at Petersburg High School.

Frank would go on to have a great high school career, as he led the Crimson Wave to two state championship appearances and overall a combined record of 78-4 in his 4 years at Petersburg High School.

His junior and senior seasons, he led the state of Virginia in points per game with 27.4 and 27.1 respectively, while also scoring the second most career points in Petersburg’s record books only behind NBA Hall of Famer, Moses Malone.

Mason knew time and time again that he always had to prove his worth to anyone watching and had a chip on his shoulder like no one before him. This time wasn’t any different as there weren’t any scholarship offers on the table for him after high school partly due to a class that he failed in high school, which led him to attend the Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va.

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This gave him the opportunity to play in the Amateur Athletic Union where a break finally came his way and got noticed by the University of Kansas, who decided to take a chance on an unknown kid out of small-town Petersburg. They offered him a full-ride scholarship and the rest is history.

In 2013, Mason joined the Jayhawks appearing in all 35 games with flashes of spectacular play against the likes of Duke, Villanova and Texas, but struggled to find a consistent starting role appearing in only three games as the team’s starting point guard.

But then came Mason’s sophomore year, where he finally found some stability, starting all 36 games, averaging 12.6 points per game as the featured scorer on the team. This earned him All-Big 12 Second Team recognition for his efforts.

Mason would continue to feed off his success, by starting all 38 games the Jayhawks played in his junior season and once again lead the team in scoring with 12.9 points. Earning All-Big 12 Second Team accolades for a second consecutive year to go along with his Big 12 All-Defensive Team honors and a spot in the Elite 8 of the NCAA tournament.

Mason stuck it out all four years at Kansas unlike some of his counterparts who generally elect to move onto the NBA after one year in college, per the NBA eligibility requirements. In doing so, Mason found much success in his senior year at Kansas by posting 21 points and five assists per game on the season. That is something that hasn’t been done in Big 12 history.

In his senior year, he would go on to lead the Jayhawks to a 33-5 record making it to the Elite 8 for a second consecutive year.

Although Mason had always dreamed of winning a national title in college, he knew he was finally mature and composed enough to handle the rigors of the NBA and its talent.

From childhood till now, Mason was always the underdog in everything he did. At 6-foot, 190 pounds, he is ready to show the league he grew up watching that he is a talent no one wants to mess with.

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Mason accumulated more awards throughout college than you can count on two hands, notably earning the Naismith Player of the Year Award in 2017, which is given to the best college basketball player in the country.

A tough and tenacious player often compared to former NBA players Pierre Jackson and Yogi Ferrell, Mason checks the high character and work ethic tests, but his value as a first round talent was still in doubt.

As players continued to come off the board in the first round on June 22, 2017, Mason was still there waiting for an opportunity to join an NBA roster.

The Sacramento Kings were on the clock at No. 34 and that is when Mason’s dream became a reality. After having two pre-draft workouts in Sacramento, the Kings believed in his leadership qualities and made him a member of the organization.

Mason had finally heard his name called and now knew where his future home would be, and went to Twitter to express a simple message for anyone out there reading, “Thanks for believing in me Sacramento Kings, I promise you won’t regret it.”

Something tells me you are right Frank.

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Cameron York
Special Contributor to Cowbell Kingdom

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