Vol. 54, No. 4 May 2017 .pdf version
Vahe Gregorian: Changing times make USBWA vital
Joe Mitch: USBWA owes huge debt to Wayne Duke
Men: Mason, Ball, Few take USBWA's highest honors
Women: Plum earns top honors at Women's Final Four

Mason, Ball, Few take USBWA's highest honors

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The U.S. Basketball Writers Association named Frank Mason III, Mark Few and Lonzo Ball the winners of its three major awards.

Mason is the winner of the Oscar Robertson Trophy, annually presented to the national player of the year.

Few is the recipient of the Henry Iba Award, given to the national coach of the year.

Ball won the Wayman Tisdale Award, given to the nation's top freshman.

Mason was presented with the award by "The Big O" himself at an April 1 news conference at the Final Four.

An under-recruited and little-known player out of Petersburg (Va.) High School, Mason went on to become one of Kansas' alltime greats and the Jayhawks' first All-American since Thomas Robinson in 2012. He is the first Kansas player to win the Oscar Robertson Trophy.

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"To be the first player from Kansas to win the Oscar Robertson Trophy is amazing as there have been so many great players at KU," Mason said. "There is no way I could have won this without great coaches, like coach (Bill) Self, the rest of the staff and great teammates."

Under Few, Gonzaga reached the national championship game, finished the season at 37-2, posted its second No. 1 national ranking in program history this season and won the West Coast Conference regular-season and tournament championships for a fifth straight year with a team comprised of nine new players. At one point, the Bulldogs were 29-0.

UCLA's Ball led the nation in assists per game (7.6) and total assists (274) while establishing the Pacific 12 Conference freshman assists record for one season. In addition, he averaged 14.6 points and 6.0 rebounds and became the first Pac-12 player to average at least 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds in a season since California's Jason Kidd in the 1993-94 season.

"What we enjoy most about Lonzo is how consistent he's been with our team," said UCLA coach Steve Alford. "Nothing fazes this young man. He's the same guy each and every day and has done a great job at keeping his focus on our next game. He has helped prepare this team the best that he can, and he does so many things to make everybody else better."

Mason and Ball were among the players headlining the USBWA's All- America first team. Others named to the first team were Villanova senior Josh Hart, Gonzaga junior Nigel Williams-Goss and Purdue sophomore Caleb Swanigan.

Hart was named the Big East Conference player of the year after leading Villanova to conference regular-season and tournament titles as the team's leading scorer (18.7 ppg). Williams-Goss, the West Coast Conference player and newcomer of the year, averaged 16.9 and 4.7 assists. Swanigan, the Big Ten Conference player of the year, helped the Boilermakers capture the Big Ten regular-season title by leading the league in rebounding (12.6) and finishing second in scoring (18.5).

G Lonzo Ball, UCLA, 6-6, 190, Fr.
G Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga, 6-3, 195, Jr.
G Josh Hart, Villanova, 6-5, 215, Sr.
G Frank Mason III, Kansas, 5-11, 190, Sr.
F Caleb Swanigan, Purdue, 6-9, 250, Soph.

F Dillon Brooks, Oregon, 6-7, 225, Jr.
F/G Justin Jackson, North Carolina, 6-8, 210, Jr.
G Luke Kennard, Duke, 6-6, 202, Soph.
G Malik Monk, Kentucky, 6-3, 200, Fr.
F Johnathan Motley, Baylor, 6-10, 230, Jr.

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