Frank Mason envisions competitive Kings camp: ‘My job is to focus on what I can control’

By Gary Bedore gbedore@kcstar.com

The Sacramento Kings front office has altered the makeup of the NBA team’s roster significantly so far this offseason.

“It’s pretty interesting,” second-year Kings point guard Frank Mason said of changes that include the additions of shooting guard Ben McLemore, point guard Yogi Ferrell, and forwards Deyonta Davis and Nemanja Bjelica to go with first-round draft pick Marvin Bagley, a power forward out of Duke selected second overall in the June 21 NBA Draft.

“I look forward to getting out there at training camp and competing with everybody.”

Mason, who appeared Wednesday at his youth basketball camp at Sports Pavilion Lawrence, is expected to battle Ferrell for the backup point guard spot behind Kings’ standout lead guard De’Aaron Fox.

“My job is to focus on what I can control, work hard every day and leave everything else to the staff,” Mason said.

The 5-foot-11 Mason, the 24-year-old, 2017 consensus college basketball player of the year who is entering the second year of a three-year contract, is familiar with both former Indiana player Ferrell and former KU wing McLemore.

“I played against (Ferrell) at Adidas Nations. He’s a pretty good player,” said Mason, who averaged 7.9 points (on 37.9 percent shooting; 36 percent from three), 2.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 52 games his rookie season. Ferrell, a 25-year-old, third-year pro, averaged 10.2 points (on 42.6 percent shooting, 37.3 from percent three), 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 82 games with Dallas in 2017-18.

McLemore, a 25-year-old, sixth-year pro from St. Louis, averaged 7.5 points and 2.5 boards in 56 games with the Memphis Grizzlies a year ago. He played the previous four seasons with the Kings.

“I ran into him a couple times over the summer,” Mason said of McLemore. “I”m happy to play with him for sure. I watched him a year at Kansas before I got there. Now to be on the same team is pretty cool.”

Mason — he missed about a month last season because of a partial tear in his right plantar fascia tendon — logged 18.9 minutes per contest. His time on the court figures to go up, but only if he beats out Ferrell for the backup point guard slot.

“I feel Frank should play more. Last season I feel he definitely should have played more,” said former KU point guard Sherron Collins, a counselor at Mason’s camp.

“I just tell him to keep tuning it, keep working on it all, make sure you’re sharp. Frank’s a great athlete. There’s not too much you need to hang your hat on in terms of things to work on.

“You need to work on shooting, always shooting. Shooters excel in the league, we know that. He’s matured a lot. I’m happy for him, proud of him. He’s a humble, hard-working kid. He’ll do well.”

Mason is happy to welcome two former Jayhawks to the league.

Devonté Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk were second-round picks of the Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively, in the 2018 draft. Both played well in the Las Vegas Summer League.

“Svi did a great job. He signed a deal. He obviously did something. He impressed Magic (Johnson, Lakers president of basketball operations who signed Mykhailiuk to a three-year deal). Hopefully Svi can keep that same momentum moving forward. I wish him the best,” Mason said.

“I didn’t catch too many of Devonté’s games. I saw one or two,” added Mason, who played in three summer games for the Kings, averaging a league-leading 8.0 assists (and 9.7 points) per contest. Mykhailiuk and Graham averaged 16.6 and 10.0 points per game respectively.

“I think Devonté did a really good job. I think he still has a lot to prove. He’s only going to get better from here,” Mason added.

Mason’s basketball camp moves to the Olathe Community Center on Thursday and Wichita Hoops on Friday. Registration is available at fm3basketball.com.

“I love being here. I love coming back. It’s my second hometown,” Petersburg, Va., native Mason said of Lawrence. “I’m grateful to have all these wonderful (200 or so) kids here and their amazing parents bringing them out. As a young kid I envisioned all this. Just to make this happen, make my dream come true playing in the NBA. I’m grateful for that. It’s a blessing. A lot of people tell me I’m an inspiration. I’m happy to be in this position to give knowledge to some people, give hope to a lot of people.”


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