LOS ANGELES – Frank Mason III of Kansas and Kelsey Plum of Washington won the John R. Wooden Award as national players of the year Friday night.
They received their trophies during the third annual College Basketball Awards in a nationally televised show from The Novo in downtown Los Angeles.
Mason also claimed the Bob Cousey point guard of the year award. The senior became the first player in Big 12 history to average 20 points and 5 assists in a season.
“When you step out on court you have to play with toughness. You can’t be a punk out there, you have to play with pride,” Mason said. “It’s been a good year. I wouldn’t say great because a great year to me is winning it all.”
The Jayhawks were eliminated by Oregon in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Plum became the NCAA Division I career scoring leader (3,527 points). She also set marks for single-season points (1,109) and career free throws made (912).
Mason won the Wooden Award over UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, Villanova’s Josh Hart, Caleb Swanigan of Purdue and Nigel Williams-Goss of national runner-up Gonzaga. Mason had already earned player of the year honors from The Associated Press and Atlanta Tipoff Club.
“I want to thank John R. Wooden,” Mason said, referring to the late UCLA coaching great. “I want to thank my parents, coaches and teammates. Nothing would have meant more to me than the national championship, but I really appreciate it.”
Plum claimed the women’s Wooden Award over Connecticut teammates Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell, and A’ja Wilson of national champion South Carolina.
Hall of Famer Ann Myers Drysdale presented Plum with the trophy as Wooden’s daughter, Nan, looked on.
Plum set the career scoring record with a 57-point effort in one game.
“I’m grateful to the University of Washington, my coaches and my teammates. Something like that doesn’t happen without great people,” said Plum, adding that she ate a few packets of applesauce on the sideline that night.
“That was what got me through,” he said.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw received the Wooden Legends of Coaching award.
Other winners were:
- Kentucky’s Malik Monk won the Jerry West shooting guard of the year for his SEC-leading field goal percentage of 37.3 and SEC second-best 19.8 scoring average. West presented his namesake trophy.
- Villanova’s Josh Hart took home the Julius Erving small forward of the year after leading the Big East with 18.7 points per game. Erving handed out the trophy.
- Johnathan Motley of Baylor accepted the Karl Malone power forward of the year award from the Hall of Famer. He led the Big 12 with 9.9 rebounds.
Gonzaga’s Przemek Karnowski earned the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar center of the year for averaging 12.2 points on 59 percent shooting and 5.8 rebounds. Abdul-Jabbar was on hand to present to the 7-footer from Poland.
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