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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rivals analyst evaluates KU’s 2013 hoops recruiting class

Kansas commit Conner Frankamp, center, watches from behind the bench prior to tipoff against Missouri on Feb. 25, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas commit Conner Frankamp, center, watches from behind the bench prior to tipoff against Missouri on Feb. 25, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Rivals.com released its updated 2013 basketball recruiting rankings earlier this month, and Kansas commit Conner Frankamp moved up from No. 42 to 28 while fellow KU commit Brannen Greene remained at No. 31.

Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Eric Bossi, who has been on the road more than 50 days since mid-March evaluating high-school players, took some time to talk about the new rankings and also the potential for KU coach Bill Self to have a strong recruiting class in 2013.

Q: Conner Frankamp made a pretty significant jump in your rankings. What was the reason for that?

A: I think he’s already been kind of on the climb. Obviously, he had a ridiculous junior season at Wichita North. I thought that once he got out there and showed everyone that he could do it ... I tend to be more cautious at moving guys up. Sometimes the local kids are the hardest to evaluate because you’ve seen them so many times. I just think his overall body of work — high school, AAU, international, whatever — he’s done very well wherever he’s been. Clearly, he needs to start being thought about as one of the top players in the country.

Q: Where do you think he’s developed most in the last year?

A: He’s always been really skilled. At times, he’s maybe been kind of passive, believe it or not. So I think he’s been more aggressive. I think he’s gone and made sure he’s handling the ball a lot more, because I know some people wondered, ‘Is he really a point guard?’ ‘Is he a small shooting guard?’ At the end, it doesn’t matter; he’s a player. But I think he’s become more aggressive not just in scoring but making sure he’s the playmaker that things run through.

Q: What’s part of his game that he can still improve?

A: Conner, he needs to get stronger. That’s something obviously age and college are going to play a big factor in. So I’m not too entirely worried about that. But the class of 2013 nationally is a really good class. There’s a lot of really good players that won’t be five stars or won’t even make the Rivals150 that are going to help out good college basketball programs. It’s just a competitive class, and we’ll just need to keep watching them to see what they do.

Q: Is he a guy that’s always going to face questions with his size because he’s not the tallest at 6-foot-1?

A: Yeah. Let’s face it. Look at the ratings right now with big, athletic point guards. Whether or not a point guard can shoot anymore ... obviously, you’d like it if they can shoot, but I think the trend has gone toward bigger, more physical, athletic point guards, who are kind of pick-and-roll players, attack the rim, get things done, and not as much shooters. So he doesn’t fit the size prototype of the ideal point guard these days, but with his skill and everything, it certainly helps overcome that. I think he doesn’t fit the mold of what a lot of people are looking for in a point guard right now, and that’s just in terms of style of game and size. Not me in particular, but with some people, he has to continue to win people over that he can score and make plays, and that that translates to the next level.

Q: I’ve heard all sorts of comparisons with him. I just wondered if there’s anybody you see similarities to when you see Frankamp play?

A: I generally am not good with comparisons — one that just jumps out at me. I just don’t spend too much time trying to think of comparisons. It doesn’t really matter to me. There’s no one that really sticks out at me, at least that we’ve seen locally at either one of the schools. I would say he’s more like Jacob Pullen than he is Russell Robinson, though, if that makes any sense. I’m sure some people have compared him to Pullen. He’s a high-scoring combo guard in college who will, because of the way Kansas plays, play a 1 or a 2. But there’s none that jumps out at me. It’s too easy to make a Jeff Boschee comparison.

Q: With Brannen Greene, he stayed the same in the Rivals rankings. What do you see from him?

A: Brannen is a really good player. He’s not a Brandon Rush/Ben McLemore-type wing athlete, but he can really shoot the ball. He’s strong. He’s smart. And he’s just got a feel for scoring a bucket. There are some guys who just naturally have a feel for being in the right place at the right time, moving without the ball, all that stuff. Brannen understands all that stuff. So I think while there may be some guys that athletically have some things he (doesn’t), the reason he ranks so high is because of his skill level.

Q: I read that you said he would fit well as a 3 at KU. Why do you believe that?

A: If you can hit your corner jump shot in the Kansas offense, you’re going to get a lot of open looks, because with the baseline drive and kick ... Xavier Henry feeds off the corner three-pointers. Brandon Rush feeds off that. Brady Morningstar. Tyrel Reed. If you can make that shot, and you can defend — which, Brannen is a solid defender, because he uses his physicality — then you’re going to play. He’s also a guy, when they go to some of that weave stuff, can take it, turn a corner and take two dribbles into a mid-range and make something happen.

Q: Is there anything with Brannen’s game that he can still improve on?

A: Lateral quickness, because in college, the fact is, he’s going to be matched up with a lot of smaller players. There’s a lot of teams that play 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 in the backcourt now. A 6-6, 200-pound guy obviously is not always going to be as quick as those guys. But just quickness and continued development off the dribble. I think he’s done a good job of that. He’s a solid player. I think he’s going to be good.

Q: You were talking about how strong the class of 2013 is. Would Frankamp and Greene be ranked higher if this was another year?

A: No, not necessarily, because when I say that it’s strong, I would say that it’s strong in not just the top 10. You get the top 10, then you’ve got 25-35 players that are really good. It’s more depth versus high-end talent. That’s why I was saying there are going to be a lot of good not-five-star players. There’s going to be a lot of really good not-ranked players, just because there’s really good depth in this class. Obviously, there’s a couple potential stars up at the top, but outside of that — from 25 to 150 — it doesn’t lose much integrity in terms of ability.

Q: KU has Frankamp and Greene committed already, and the Jayhawks are also in the running for a few other guys. Does this have the potential to be a pretty big class for KU coach Bill Self coming up?

A: Yeah, obviously. You look at probably the two biggest names left on their board are Anthony Barber, who’s No. 9 in the country, and Julius Randle, No. 2 in the country. They’re doing pretty well with each of those guys. Do they get them? Who knows yet. But they have legitimate chances at both of those guys. They’re definitely in the mix for both of those guys. If you add those guys to what you already have — or if you even add one of them to what you already have and whatever else — you’ve got a pretty strong class right there.

Q: Can you tell me a little about Randle and his game? I know that you’ve said he’s been a top target for KU.

A: He’s going to play the power forward in college. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. But while he’s a power forward, he’s kind of in that Terrence Jones mode in that he can go out, he can handle the ball a little bit, he makes just enough jump shots while not being a great shooter, but it keeps you honest. But he’s a unique mismatch, except that he’s a lot better than Terrence Jones was at this age. Maybe he’s not quite yet as explosive as Terrence Jones has been in traffic the last couple years, but … he’s a dynamic, off-the-dribble power forward.

Comments

Sam Constance 1 year, 9 months ago

Thank you for posting that, HawkKlaw. This is the other quote from the Q&A that I was trying to find when I responded to bennybob above, but couldn't locate it.

If a Rivals guy himself is pointing out the lack of stratification between 25 and 150 in his own rankings, you better believe it's the truth.

Which is why it makes me so frustrated when I hear people talking about the "recruiting drought" over the past several years when KU has had multiple recruits within the top 50 in every year, including a couple #1 overall guys.

Only in sometimes unrealistic Jayhawk Nation could KU's recruiting outcomes over the past several years be looked at as "recruiting failure". Of course, I think some people's viewpoints are skewed by the fact that we have an NBA factory going on at Kentucky and certain other schools right now.

For anyone who wants to get elite, cream-of-the-crop recruiting classes every year as the answer to everything, I submit to you two examples of that same style of recruiting:

Kentucky Arizona

Obviously the former has realized a fair amount of success with that approach. Kentucky has appeared in one Final Four and won a Championship with that approach. I'm not convinced that model is good for sustainable success, but it's certainly been successful in the short term for Worldwide Wes...er... John Calipari and crew.

The latter, however, has not achieved results even close to the ranking of their classes since Sean Miller took over. Yes, two seasons ago they had some success (Elite 8?), but it came on the back of an unranked guy (Derrick Williams). And last year, they had an outstanding stable of recruits (#7 class overall by ESPN) with two 5-stars and two 4-stars and didn't even make the tournament.

I only type all this to point out that you should be careful what you demand as a basketball fan. Personally, I prefer to do it this way, enduring a little less excitement at recruit-signing time, and a little more enjoyment when I see how Coach Self yet again puts together a winner by shaping the recruits he does get into hard-nosed winners.

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HawkKlaw 1 year, 9 months ago

"...from 25 to 150 — it doesn’t lose much integrity in terms of ability."

This is precisely why you can't put too much faith in rivals.com rankings to evaluate recruits. True, it's a decent guide, but there are plenty of good recruits outside the top 25. That's why I always wait to reserve judgement until I actually see the guys play. The eye test does matter.

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Jay Dogger 1 year, 9 months ago

Regarding the earlier topic of Centers... I really hope we get Shepherd. I don't know if he's better than Walker, but I think we need him more.

I think Lucas will be very good. However, I would love for him to be the 2nd best Center on the team. I think he's gonna surprise a lot of people by how well he plays. And I believe he will be listed at 6'10", which is still pretty tall, even if not a "footer." Also, he prides himself on defense and rebounding more than offense.

For everyone who wants Barber, Walker AND Shepherd (or anyone else, like Parker)...we only have two more schollies for next year, unless Ben leaves (which I doubt) or someone becomes a One And Flush. Barber seems great, but there's already one Top-30 PG in that class and after this year our most experienced player will be a PG (Tharp). We also have Adams (probably? maybe?) and Doyle for depth.

In fact, in 2014 we won't have any scholarship seniors graduating to free up a schollie. Between leaving early to the NBA and transfers we may have 1 or 2, but that's probably it. Of course, I might be thinking a bit too far ahead. I just want this season to start!

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Martin Rosenblum 1 year, 9 months ago

Anybody remember "The Professor" from the "..And One" early days?

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jaybate 1 year, 9 months ago

One thing in that picture of ConFran leaped out at me.

Look at the hand on that guy!!!!

That is a basketball player's hand if I ever saw one.

The guy is 6-1 and he's got the hands of a 6-5 guy.

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jaybate 1 year, 9 months ago

"The Silence of the Leaders"

Like a calm before a storm.

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REHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Regarding Semi O. of instate Ottawa, Jayhawk Nation and LJW have not seemed to have captured positive Jayhawk vibes, as in the cases of Wichita's Ellis and Frankamp. Ellis looked around carefully before committing, but seems to be well sold on his future in crimson and blue. Frankamp obviously cherished the Bill Self offer from the getgo. For whatever set of reasons, the Semi recruitment to Kansas did not gather much interest or public momentum. Perhaps it never occurred...or, if it did so, too late in the game to interest Semi and family. Small forwards appear to be easier to find than point guards and big men. Not every instate athlete desires to remain close to family and a nearby state institution. I wish the kid well; but if he is not sold on KU hoops, or if Self is not sold on his future as a Jayhawk, then so be it. Bye-bye, and best of good fortune east of the Mississippi. I tend to get fired up by the talented and scholarly recruits who cherish the offer to play with the Jayhawks...and who don't wait until the week before fall university classes, playing the waiting game, trying to parlay their skills into bargaining chips for better deals or guarantees with other coaches and programs.

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hawkmoon2020 1 year, 9 months ago

These new Rival rankings have been out for awhile, and they are just now posting it here? Geesh. Also, Rivals hasn't even updated their 2013 Team Rankings based on commits. Ugh. Will be interesting how recruits and rankings pan out through next Spring. And as far as not getting all of the "local" talent, give it a rest. It's not like those guys weren't on HCBS radar. Either he or they ultimately decided that there wasn't enough interest. Unfortunately, but respectfully, some locals may grow up loving an out of state team, and want to go there. It happens.

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JHAWKSWAG 1 year, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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jaybate 1 year, 9 months ago

re: Willie and Semi...some guys want to go away for all kinds of reasons. Or maybe they don't like pot, or rumors of pot investigations?

Danny Manning didn't go to UNC.

Lucious Allen went to UCLA.

This not a new phenomenon.

The only new phenomenon is the black cloud of a pot investigation. But Semi and Willie were already wanting to go away long before the black cloud.

Too much conflict over too little.

Self will have plenty of bigs next year, even if he doesn't sign another.

Self has only had a playable footer two years out of his 10. They don't grow on trees.

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jaybate 1 year, 9 months ago

re: Willie and Semi...some guys want to go away for all kinds of reasons. Or maybe they don't like pot, or rumors of pot investigations?

Danny Manning didn't go to UNC.

Lucious Allen went to UCLA.

This not a new phenomenon.

The only new phenomenon is the black cloud of a pot investigation. But Semi and Willie were already wanting to go away long before the black cloud.

Too much conflict over too little.

Self will have plenty of bigs next year, even if he doesn't sign another.

Self has only had a playable footer two years out of his 10. They don't grow on trees.

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jayhawkinATL 1 year, 9 months ago

Please pass this along:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/grantbabbitt/jayhawkers-feature-film

Mr. Willmott was one of my high school teachers back in JC. Let's make it happen!!!

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bennybob 1 year, 9 months ago

Bossi just confirmed the one concern i had from the videos ive seen on Greene.

He doesn't strike me as overly quick. which means hes never going to be an amazing defender.

a guy with limited defensive upside doesnt strike me as a typical Bill Self recruited.

on the plus side, to be a defensive liability and still ranked that high indicates hes got to be amazing on the offensive end

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TexasHawk44 1 year, 9 months ago

Kellerman: are you always this dense? Better go to Costco and stock up on Altoids...

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TexasHawk44 1 year, 9 months ago

People who cannot trust Coach Self at this point are total idiots. They are the same morons who sit in coach and think they could pilot the plane better during turbulence. Just because someone is a fellow KU fan doesn't make them intelligent --clearly. There should be an IQ test (by definition 100 is average so let's be generous and start at 90) to get a username on this site. Just a suggestion to the LJW. Of course then there wouldn't be many posts, would there?

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bennybob 1 year, 9 months ago

I think this Q&A is a great example to the rankings doubters as to why Rivals is a serious source for recruiting information.

Bossi is so deep into the world of college basketball he can site specific roles in specific sets of our offense Greene will thrive in.

there are a few really knowledgable frequent posters on this site but the vast majority of posters, particularly the guys that love to mock the rankings, probably have no idea what the "baseline drive and kick" or "weave stuff" Bossi references means.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 9 months ago

Gee, I didn't realize today was National Bash Your Fellow Jayhawk Poster Day. So in keeping with the spirit of the holiday, all of you are wrong, none of you know squat and I am, as always, the only one who is right!!!

PS Posted with absolutely no malice and tongue so far in cheek in hurts!!! :)

Chill out all and enjoy the fact we are Jayhawks and everyone else is NOT!!!!

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april28 1 year, 9 months ago

That photo brings back some great memories of one of the greatest games I've ever seen in any sport. Those kids were lucky to be on recruiting a recruiting trip that day!

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otjhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Ojeyleye kid is not interested in KSU and resents KU because they joined the recruiting process to late (this could change I believe). His favorites right now are UCLA and Duke

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J.T. Even 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't think you do whatever it takes if the guy is not interested in the program or would not be a good fit. Self has done very well EVERY stinking year besides a few early exits in the tournament.

I agree with ralster. KU fans are both insecure AND spoiled. Its embarrassing.

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Greg Ledom 1 year, 9 months ago

Keller, if you continue to post such gibberish, you will continue to look like the foolish imp you must surely be. Trust in your SELF, and thats really all you need to know, or does a simple minded person such as yourself need more than that?

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

...and specifically regarding the possibility of Ojeleye-to-purplepussies: Go ahead, see what happens on the hardwood. Self >> Weber. Can we just hold the 'funeral' for Weber now?? What's the name of that building in Manhattan? The "Sherrontagon-of-gloom"...Ooops, I meant the "Tyshawntagon-o-gloom". This year it will be "Elijahgon-o-gloom"...

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

I dont understand some supposed ku fans. Man, look at OU football fans. How about TX football fans. How about Duke & UNC bball fans? Or even throw in those KStutter football people...the underlying quiet (or not so quiet) confidence that about every year their "machine" keeps rolling along, always in contention. SO, after 8 years of Bill Self, when despite whatever lineup he has, he gift-wraps an attack dog every year in different ways for the fans, always fielding a contender. Need no more proof than last year's short-handed TRob+Tyshawn big-heart squad. A team that fought, much like 08-09 Cole+Sherron squad. Kim English would say KU fans are "spoiled". I dont think he was correct with that. I would critique some ku fans as "insecure". Where is the confidence?? No team will win every game, and even an overall #1 seed can get bounced in the Madness. But Self+KU will always field a contender. Fact. Sleep well.

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TexasHawk44 1 year, 9 months ago

Thanks for making point, dude. The slurpy machine needs filling.

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Jason Keller 1 year, 9 months ago

What about Semi Ojeleye?!!! He lives in fricken OTTAWA. The guy is the #5 SF in the nation!! How do we not have that sewn up like grandma's sweater on Christmas Eve???

If he goes to K-State, I will throw up in my mouth.

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TexasHawk44 1 year, 9 months ago

I am constantly amazed at the number or morons and posers on this site. Manginorh....whatever you asinine name is: get your unemployed butt out of bed and ask mommy to make you some waffles...

And Oklajayhawk, I did not know we were so honored to have Randle's AAU coach posting on here. Or are you is godfather? Because you certainy have all the inside information, don't you? Bill Self should swing by the 7-11 after your shift and scoop you up for his recruiting team.

Give me a break!

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ccarp 1 year, 9 months ago

I really enjoyed the insights on the in-coming class. A perfect read in July! :-)

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Justin Daniel 1 year, 9 months ago

Randle is going to Duke or UNC, the focus needs to be on getting Shepard or Lawrence and Barber.

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REHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

I would imagine that Bill Self is keeping an eye on the S. California volleyball circuit, seeking another spectacular shotblocker to replace Jeff. Maybe our European exposure will catch the eye of an international big. That 5 position will certainly be up for grabs after this season. A 6'11" recruit looking for instant television and Final Four exposure might best pledge allegiance to Jayhawk hoops. Self is climbing toward the pinnacle of his Div. I acumen. Although the NCAA Tournament is an annual crapshoot, Kansas should experience fewer early exits now that their coach is on a smoother more experienced roll in March and April competition.

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Jason Keller 1 year, 9 months ago

Why is no one talking about centers!? Jeff is a senior people. We should have had another young center on this team last year. Of course, we lost that one really good Kansas guy to none other than Kentucky. Jeff Withey's replacement is not on this team as of now, no one on this team could ever develop into what he is mainly due to lack of size.

I think we can still win with hybrid big guys like Ellis and Peters but a dominant center has always been part of our offense. There has been Jeff, Cole, Sasha and countless others...

Although, this very problem is the reason I think we will land Julius Randle.

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RJ King 1 year, 9 months ago

Wow, m-holz. Style advice given late on a Saturday night by someone with plenty of time to post. Thanks, but . . .

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