According to USA Basketball head coach Bill Self, point guard Frank Mason has been playing with a sore wrist since the exhibition games several weeks ago against Canada in Kansas City.
“Frank is a competitor,” Kansas coach Bill Self told Bobby Nightengale for the Lawrence Journal-World. “You guys may not know this, but he nicked his wrist up pretty good in Kansas City. He doesn’t have confidence shooting the ball right now. The ball is not going into the hole. I don’t know if he’s made a three since we’ve been here, if I’m not mistaken. It’s because of his wrist. It’s just sore. But hopefully another day off will get him closer to healthy because he’s so good with the ball.”
Through the first two games — wins over Turkey and Brazil — Mason was shooting 6-of-19 from the field (0-for-7 from three). He got hot during USA’s 106-41 thrashing over Chile, scoring a game-high 23 points, knocking down 67 percent of his attempts. However, even after his best scoring output of the tournament, he was still bugged by the injury.
“Just a little,” Mason told Nightengale. “It’s really the same. That last shot before the first half (ended), I fell on it again. So it’s kind of sore still.”
Kansas continues Group D pool play against Serbia on Tuesday night at 11 p.m. EST.
Kansas defeated Canada, 87-76, on Friday night at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, serving as the team’s final exhibition game before the Jayhawks travel to South Korea for the 2015 World University Games.
Wayne Selden finished with a double-double of 22 points and 10 boards. Frank Mason added 15 points and dished 11 assists while committing just two turnovers.
Kansas, representing the USA in the global event, defeated Canada in an exhibition game earlier this week at the Sprint Center. In both games, the Jayhawks fell behind by double-digits.
“It was a lot like last game,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said following Friday night’s game. “I think we got down like eight or nine points in the last game (10) and 10 points tonight. Our starters looked great, if you were to look at our point differential from our starters compared to our subs, I bet our starters were plus 25 or 30 and our reserves didn’t play as well tonight until Hunter [Mickelson] sparked us and Carlton [Bragg, Jr.] did some things there late. I thought it was a pretty good game, Wayne [Selden, Jr.] player great. Perry [Ellis] was good. Frank [Mason III] was really good again. Nic [Moore] was good. We need those four to play and we need everyone else to be solid and we will have a chance to maybe win a few games over there.”
The 2015 World University Games begin July 3 in Gwangju, South Korea. The first game for Kansas will be against Turkey on July 4.
The roster includes SMU’s Nic Moore and Florida Gulf Coast’s Julian DeBose.
Kansas, ranked No. 5 in the preseason rankings, welcomed in one of the top Alan Williams and UC Santa Barbara — one of the top mid-major programs in the nation — to Allen Fieldhouse on Friday night, and pulled out a 69-59 win.
The Gauchos had kept it close in the first half, and a 10-0 run in the opening minutes of the second half cut the Jayhawks lead to 39-37. But for a five-minute stretch, the trio of Frank Mason, Cliff Alexander and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk scored KU’s 19 points to extend the lead to 15. UC Santa Barbara would get it to 10 on multiple occasions, but could never crack through and cut the deficit to single digits.
Bill Self did not start any of his heralded freshmen, but Devonte Graham led all Jayhawks with 14 points. Graham, the former Appalachian State signee who fought all of last winter to get his release, was the spark late in the first half. After being hit with his second foul, Graham returned to the game and behind the freshman floor general, KU went on a 10-0 run, which led to a 31-23 halftime lead.
Williams, the 6-foot-8 senior, recorded 16 double-doubles last season, ended with game-highs in points (22) and rebounds (13) to go along with four blocks.
Kansas now sets its sights on top-ranked Kentucky in Tuesday night’s Champion Classic in Indianapolis. UC Santa Barbara plays one of the best mid-major non-conference games of the year on Monday night at Florida Gulf Coast.