Frank Mason III

MRI reveals rough news for Kings rookie

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USATSI

MRI reveals rough news for Kings rookie

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings received a bit of bad news Thursday morning. Rookie point guard Frank Mason III is out for the next 4-6 weeks after an MRI revealed a partial tear of his right plantar fascia tendon in his right heel. 

The second-round pick had worked himself into the Kings rotation before injuring his right heel Dec. 31 against the Memphis Grizzlies. He’s undergone treatment for the injury over the last 11 days, but when his improvement slowed, the Kings medical staff sent him in for a precautionary MRI. 

Mason is expected to be reevaluated four weeks from the original injury date. In his first season out of Kansas, the 5-foot-11 point guard is posting 7.6 points and 2.9 assists in 18.6 minutes per game off the Kings’ bench. 

One Guard Out, One Guard In

Mason isn’t the only Kings point guard to miss time over the last week. Veteran George Hill has been out since Saturday due to the birth of his child. He returned to the team in time for shootaround Thursday morning and is expected to play against the Los Angeles Clippers. 

Garrett Temple jumps into Sacramento community with both feet

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James Ham

Garrett Temple jumps into Sacramento community with both feet

SACRAMENTO -- Changing the culture of an NBA team is no small task. It takes dedication and a series of right moves. Over the past few seasons, the Sacramento Kings have actively sought out players with a history of leadership behind the scenes. They’ve had some hits and a miss or two, but the addition of Garrett Temple was nothing short of a home run.

The veteran wing stood in front of a crowd of student athletes at Sacramento Charter High School on Wednesday evening. He wasn’t there to talk about sports, although the topic came up more than once. He was there to adopt the school, to become a mentor and in some instances, a financial backer for the charter school. 

“We’re going to focus on leadership and how they can be better leaders on their team, in their communities and in their classrooms,” Temple said before taking his place in front of a room of approximately 250 students. 

Temple didn’t have a program like this growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In fact, he didn’t have a lot of the same issues that face the students at a school like Sac High. 

“I came up, I wasn’t poor, I wasn’t underprivileged, I was good,” Temple said. “But basically everyone of my teammates that I played with in AAU came from a less fortunate situation.”

He had active parents, including his father Collis, a former NBA player, who acted as a coach and mentor for other students in the community. Collis Temple became the first African American basketball player at LSU and his personal story of triumph is something that his son Garrett uses as a guiding light. 

“Guys looked up to coaches that they had, like my father was a coach throughout the community,” Temple added. “That safe haven on the basketball court, that one gym that was in the community, going there for practices. If you had a guy that was around that had been through it and could talk to you about some of the things in life that you would face, that’s all we had to for guys that didn’t have a father figure.”

Temple held a townhall style meeting with the students, fielding questions about a wide range of topics. The conversation was off the record, but there were plenty of good moments where Temple shared from his personal experiences. 

In his first season with the Kings, Temple was named Teammate of the Year. Not only has he performed well on the court, but his mentorship behind the scenes goes well beyond the court. 

On Wednesday evening, the eight-year NBA veteran brought along rookies Frank Mason III and Harry Giles. The two served food and then sat with the students as Temple spoke. Following the conversation, the students swarmed the three players to shake hands and snap pictures. 

The Kings’ starting small forward has committed himself as a mentor to Sacramento High for this season and plans on having a few more events with the students during the school year. His hope is to promote education and leadership, not act as an athletic advisor. 

“Just trying to reach kids in there place and try and build a rapport with them so we can try to create more leaders in situations like they are right now,” Temple said.

Temple is in year two of his three-year deal he signed with the Kings. He has a player option for next season, but Sacramento would love to make the 31-year-old a long-term fixture with the franchise. 

He isn’t the only player jumping into the community. Point guard George Hill has an event coming up in the coming weeks, as does Vince Carter. The veteran core of the team is establishing a path for the team’s 10 young players to follow both on and off the court as they grow through their NBA careers. 

Kings' second unit steals show from Fox-Ball, fuels victory over Lakers

Kings' second unit steals show from Fox-Ball, fuels victory over Lakers

SACRAMENTO -- The fans came to watch De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball square off for the first times as professionals Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center. They ended up being treated to a breakout performance by Sacramento’s second team.

“It’s not all about Fox and Ball, it’s about Kings and Lakers,” Frank Mason said after another solid performance. “I’m just happy we got the win as a team.”

Coming into Wednesday night, the Sacramento Kings ranked first in the league in bench scoring at 48.1 points per game. The Los Angeles Lakers weren’t far behind, posting 40.6 a contest, good enough for fourth in the NBA.

Sacramento received solid contributions from almost every player that stepped on the floor, including 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists from starter Zach Randolph. But the group that came off the bench put on a show, outscoring Los Angeles 67-38.

In his fourth game in a reserve role, Willie Cauley-Stein scored a game-high 26 points in 28 minutes, including 13 in the fourth quarter as the Kings pulled away. He drew a crowd around his locker during post game, but he was the direct beneficiary of some stellar play by others.

Mason and fellow rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic broke down the Lakers defense countless times and found Cauley-Stein for the poster dunk. According to the official scoresheet, nine of Cauley-Stein’s 10 made baskets were assisted, including five alley-oops from Bogdanovic.

“We talked about it yesterday when we were icing,” Cauley-Stein said of his Serbian guard. “We were both sitting in the cold tub and exactly what happened is what we were talking about.”

Cauley-Stein is gifted athletically and he’s extremely long. He was a star receiver in high school and he knows how to go up and get a ball.

“I think he realizes, (he’s) just got to get it up there and I’m going to go get it,” Cauley-Stein said of Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic hit his first two 3-point attempts and it seemed to open the floor up for Sacramento. With defenders going over screens to defend the long ball, Bogdanovic used his dribble to get free.

When the Laker’s bigs stepped in to stop his dribble, Bogdanovic tossed the ball near the rim and Cauley-Stein finished with authority.

“It’s easy to play with Willie, because he can catch,” Bogdanovic said. “I didn’t pass perfectly those alley-oops, but he likes to be a little higher than usual.”

Both Bogdanovic and Mason set new career-highs in assists, finishing with seven dimes apiece off Dave Joerger’s bench. Bogdanovic dropped in 14 points and picked up two steals. Mason added 11 points and five rebounds.

The smallest player to step on the floor, Mason brings a physicality the Kings have lacked early in the season. Since earning rotational minutes four games ago, the 23-year-old is posting 9.8 points and 4.3 assists in 22 minutes a game.

“That’s who I am, that’s who I’ve always been,” Mason said when asked about his toughness. “I take a lot of pride in someone scoring on me and I play every possession like it’s game point.”

With the win, the Kings improved to 4-4 on their home floor and 5-13 overall this season. They’ll take Thanksgiving off, but return to practice Friday in preparation for the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday evening. They’ll need another big evening from the bench unit if they hope to build momentum going forward.