Former Kansas guards Devonte Graham, Frank Mason just finished breakout pro seasons

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Frank Mason III (0) and Devonte’ Graham (4) made up one of the best backcourts in recent KU history, and now they’re making noise as pros. (Photo: Nick Krug/Lawrence Journal-World)

By: Kels Dayton

It’s been a great year for overlooked, undersized former Kansas guards.

Devonte Graham and Frank Mason were once the nation’s most unlikely star backcourt duo, with both players having originally committed to nondescript mid-majors and suffering from a lack of height that would put them in the “slightly above average” category among adult humans.

Today, both players can celebrate breakthrough pro seasons.

Graham, who won Big 12 Player of the Year honors at Kansas in 2018, was a breakout star for the Charlotte Hornets, putting up 18.2 points per game and shooting a robust 37 percent from 3. He also made national noise with a 40-point game against the Nets in December and earned an invite to the NBA’s 3-point contest.

Mason, the 2017 National Player of the Year at KU, was named the NBA G League’s MVP last week. He averaged 26.4 points per game this season and led the Wisconsin Herd to a league-best 33 wins.

Neither player was even supposed to earn a spot at a high-major college program like Kansas. The 6-1 Graham originally committed to Appalachian State before finally drawing Bill Self’s interest. Mason, 5-11, was originally headed to Towson.

But the pair was electric in Lawrence, leading the Jayhawks to 31 wins, a No. 1 seed, and, naturally … another heartbreaking exit in the Elite Eight (but we don’t really have to get into all that).

Their size has kept them overlooked their entire careers—both were taken with the same pick (No. 34 overall) in the second round of the NBA Draft, and both have spent plenty of time in the G League.

Graham’s come-up has come a little bit sooner, but after proving his worth in the G League, there’s little doubt Mason will land another NBA contract soon.

Maybe the rest of the basketball world is starting to learn what Kansas fans already know — these guys may be small, but they can really ball.

Also see:

Devonte Graham has shot his way from Appalachian State commit to NBA Rising Star

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