MASON GETS TOP PLAYER TROPHY
glendale, ariz. » No piece of hardware could take Frank Mason III’s mind off what could have been.
The senior point guard from Kansas received The Associated Press player of the year trophy Thursday at the Final Four. He was there without his teammates since the Jayhawks were eliminated in the regional final by Oregon.
“I’ve still been thinking about it. It’s been on my mind a lot,” Mason said when asked if he had gotten over that loss. “And I just have to move on to what’s next. And I just look at the bigger picture and focus on everything that I can control.”
Mason said he expected to be at the Final Four with his teammates and coaches.
“You know, I didn’t plan on doing this,” Mason said. “My goals and our goals as a teamwas to be here as a family.”
Gonzaga coach Mark Few, the AP’s coach of the year, has his team here as the Zags make their first Final Four appearance.
The Zags, who are 36- 1 this season, are in the NCAA Tournament under Few for the 18th consecutive year.
Few, who has a career record of 502- 112, received 37 votes from the same 65- member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25.
Sean Miller of Arizona received eight votes while Chris Collins of Northwestern had seven and SMU’s Tim Jankovich got six.
Mason received 37 votes, well ahead of Josh Hart of Villanova, who got 16. Caleb Swanigan of Purdue had nine and Lonzo Ball of UCLA had three.
Mason is the first Kansas player to win the award.
Plum, Auriemma take women’s awards B
dallas » Kelsey Plum had a historic season for Washington while Geno Auriemma did one of his best coaching jobs at UConn.
Both were overwhelming choices as the AP women’s basketball player and coach of the year.
Plum broke the career NCAA scoring mark, topping Jackie Stiles’ 16- yearold record in style with a 57- point effort on her senior night.
Auriemma, who lost three All- Americans to graduation, thought there was no way that the team’s 75- game winning streak heading into the season would continue that much longer— not with a schedule filled with the nation’s top teams.
Yet UConn met every challenge and enter the Final Four without a loss, winners of 111 straight games.
Arkansas trying to amend gun law.
The Arkansas House has passed a proposal to exempt college sporting events from a new Arkansas law expanding where concealed handguns are allowed after a second athletic conference called for changes to the guns rights measure.
The proposal advanced on a 71- 20 vote Thursday. It will now go to the Senate for consideration.
Under the exemption proposal, which Gov. Asa Hutchinson supports, college stadiums such as the University of Arkansas’ Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences would be able to designate sensitive areas where they wouldn’t want people to carry concealed handguns.
The law Hutchinson signed last week allows people with concealed handgun licenses to carry on college campuses, in government buildings and some bars if they undergo up to eight hours of activeshooter training.
Arizona freshman forward Lauri Markkanen is leaving early for the NBA and is expected to hire an agent. An athletic 7- footer from Finland, Markkanen averaged 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds and was named a thirdteam All- American by the AP. … TJ Leaf is leaving UCLA for the NBA draft, joining fellow freshman Lonzo Ball in departing after one stellar season in Westwood. … Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson was given a two- year contract extension that will keep him with the Panthers through 2027. Jacobson just completed his 11th season at Northern Iowa. He has a school- record 234 wins and has led Northern Iowa to eight consecutive top- four finishes in the Missouri Valley Conference.