IRVING, Texas – Kansas basketball player Frank Mason III has been named the 2016-17 co-Big 12 Men’s Athlete of the Year, the conference announced Thursday. Mason shared the honor with Texas swimmer Will Licon, while West Virginia soccer defender Kadeisha Buchanan was the female recipient.
Nominees were submitted by Big 12 institutions and selected based on athletic performance, academic achievement and citizenship by a media panel as well as fan voting conducted through Big 12Sports.com.
Mason was the consensus 2017 National Player of the Year as well as a consensus All-America First Team selection while leading the Jayhawks to their 13th-consecutive Big 12 regular-season title. He also captured the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award and was named Big 12 Player of the Year and to the All-Big 12 First Team. Mason became the only player in KU and Big 12 history to average more than 20 points and five assists in the same season. He led the Big 12 in scoring overall (20.9 ppg) and during conference play (21.0 ppg) while averaging 5.2 assists.
A two-time national player of the week, Mason posted 23 games of 20 or more points, including his final seven contests and 10 of KU’s last 11 outings in 2016-17. The Petersburg, Virginia native was KU’s leading scorer in 26 games. Mason concluded his career No. 6 on the Kansas scoring list (1,885 points), No. 6 in assists (576), No. 8 in 3-point field goals (185), No. 13 in steals (165) and tied for third in consecutive starts (110). He is the first Jayhawk in school history to rank sixth or higher in both points and assists. Mason was one of the five ESPY nominees for 2017 Best Male College Athlete.
A May 2017 KU graduate, Mason was also active in the Lawrence community with activities that included Ladies Night Out, a yearly sold-out event that benefits Jayhawks for a Cure with all proceeds donated to Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH) and the KU Cancer Center in an effort to fund cancer research. A Big 12 Champion for Life, Mason was a counselor at the Wilt Chamberlain Special Olympics Clinic, participated in an annual youth holiday clinic in which men’s basketball student-athletes teach youth fundamentals of the game and visited local elementary schools to read to the students.
Mason is the third Jayhawk to be named Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year with all three being from men’s basketball. He joins Jacque Vaughn who won the honor in the first year of the conference in 1996-97 and Nick Collison in 2002-03.
Licon is an 11-time NCAA champion who won NCAA titles in all five of his events at the 2017 NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships. He became just the fourth swimmer in the history of college swimming, and the first in 17 years, to win NCAA titles in four different individual events through his career at the NCAA Championships. Licon’s 2017 national championships were in the events of 200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke, 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay. He is the first Texas or Big 12 swimmer to win three individual national titles at a single NCAA Championship meet (athletes are limited to a maximum of three individual events).
Buchanan helped lead West Virginia to four Big 12 regular-season titles and three postseason crowns during her time in Morgantown, as well as a runner-up finish in the 2016 NCAA College Cup. This past season, she claimed national honors as the MAC Hermann Trophy recipient, Honda Sport Award winner for soccer and espnW and TopDrawerSoccer.com Player of the Year. She was also a 2017 ESPY nominee in the category of Best Female College Athlete.
Other female candidates for Big 12 Athlete of the Year included: Lindsey Cargill (Baylor), Jhoanmy Luque (Iowa State), Sharon Lokedi (Kansas), Nina Schultz (Kansas State), Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma), Vanessa Shippy (Oklahoma State), Brenley Goertzen (TCU), Chrisann Gordon (Texas) and Gabriela Talaba (Texas Tech).
Male nominees were: Troy Montemayor (Baylor), Monte Morris (Iowa State), Jordan Willis (Kansas State), Samaje Perine (Oklahoma), Jawun Evans (Oklahoma State), Cameron Norrie (TCU), Trey Culver (Texas Tech) and Jevon Carter (West Virginia).
Big 12 Athletes of the Year
2016-17 FRANK MASON, KANSAS & Will Licon, Texas
2015-16 Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
2014-15 Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
2013-14 Bryce Petty, Baylor
2012-13 Collin Klein, Kansas State
2011-12 Robert Griffin III, Baylor
2010-11 Taylor Jungmann, Texas
2009-10 Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
2008-09 Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
2007-08 Chase Daniel, Missouri
2006-07 Ben Askren, Missouri
2005-06 Vince Young, Texas
2004-05 Derrick Johnson, Texas
2003-04 Jason White, Oklahoma
2002-03 NICK COLLISON, KANSAS
2001-02 Cael Sanderson, Iowa State
2000-01 Josh Heupel, Oklahoma
1999-00 Charles Howell, Oklahoma State
1998-99 Ricky Williams, Texas
1997-98 Grant Wistrom, Nebraska
1996-97 JACQUE VAUGHN, KANSAS
2016-17 Kadeisha Buchanan, West Virginia
2015-16 Paige Parker, Oklahoma
2014-15 Lauren Chamberlain, Oklahoma
2013-14 Odyssey Sims, Baylor
2012-13 Keilani Ricketts, Oklahoma
2011-12 Brittney Griner, Baylor
2010-11 Jessica Beard, Texas A&M
2009-10 Lisa Koll, Iowa State
2008-09 Destinee Hooker, Texas
2007-08 Sarah Pavan, Nebraska
2006-07 Sarah Pavan, Nebraska
2005-06 Cat Osterman, Texas
2004-05 Cat Osterman, Texas
2003-04 Nicole Ohlde, Kansas State
2002-03 Cat Osterman, Texas
2001-02 Stacey Dales-Schuman, Oklahoma
2000-01 Greichaly Cepero, Nebraska
1999-00 Erin Aldrich, Texas
1998-99 Suziann Reid, Texas
1997-98 Vera Ilyina, Texas
1996-97 Nanceen Perry, Texas