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Friday, December 6, 2013

Frank Mason to open at point guard for Jayhawks

Kansas guard Frank Mason claps his hands as he gets back on defense against Wake Forest after hitting a three-pointer during the second half of the Battle 4 Atlantis opening round on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Kansas guard Frank Mason claps his hands as he gets back on defense against Wake Forest after hitting a three-pointer during the second half of the Battle 4 Atlantis opening round on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

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Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self, who has used the same starting lineup the past six games, will alter the opening five Saturday at Colorado.

Self says he has decided to go with freshman Frank Mason at the point-guard position in the 2:15 p.m. game in place of junior Naadir Tharpe, who has started all but one game — the season-opener, in which he served a suspension against Louisiana at Monroe.

Mason, a 5-foot-11, 185-pounder from Petersburg, Va., who averages 8.9 points with 20 assists against seven turnovers, started that contest.

“We’re going to put Frank out there to start the game,” Self said. “He’s been one of our more consistent, better performers so far this year. I think he deserves the opportunity.”

Of Mason, Self added: “Frank doesn’t talk, but he’s been great. He had about as bad a two minutes against UTEP as a guy could possibly have to end the game ... but if you’re going to line up the games that are hard to win on who our best player has been, you can make a case it’s been Frank, whether it be Duke, Villanova, Wake. I’m really pleased with him. But he’s got a lot to learn, too, but he’s trying. He tries hard every day. Every day he tries.”

Tharpe, 5-11, 170 from Worcester, Mass., averages 6.3 points with 30 assists against 12 turnovers.

Practicing hard: The Jayhawks (6-1) have had fruitful practices since winning two games and losing one Thursday through Saturday in the Bahamas.

“We’ve had a good week. We’ve gone hard this week,” Self said. “This is one thing about my guys that I need to be careful of: It’s a marathon, and you’re going to have games where you don’t play your best. The key is to win the games where you don’t play your best, and we didn’t do that one time against a top-20 team (Villanova) on a neutral floor. And with young kids, it’s going to happen..”

Buffs fans to pack Coors Center: Self expects a vast majority of 11,064-seat Coors Events Center to be occupied by Colorado fans for Saturday’s KU-CU game. In past years, the building was referred to as “Allen Fieldhouse West” because of all the KU fans in the crowd.

“We’ll have our fair share of people there. I bet we have a thousand fans there. But I think a thousand may be a high number, whereas in the past we probably had half the building. That’s a compliment to Tad (Boyle, fourth-year CU coach),” Self said.

Road trip: KU is about to play back-to-back nonconference road games (Colorado on Saturday, Florida on Tuesday) for the first time since Roy Williams’ Jayhawks headed to Oregon and Tulsa in the 2002-03 season.

“It’s going to be a hard road trip. I don’t know whoever did our scheduling … I don’t really understand. I’m the one who did it,” Self said with a laugh. “But it’s probably not the wisest thing to have done because ... but you know what, we’ll come together. The Atlantis trip didn’t serve its purpose for coming together, so hopefully we’ll do a much better job when we go to Boulder.”

Comments

Kent Richardson 4 months, 1 week ago

Point guard killed us at the end of last year. Point guard has killed us this year in our tough games.

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Raynard Wilson 4 months, 1 week ago

I'm not sure what game y'all have been watching, but Frank earned this starting role. He stepped up in a major way in the Battle for Atlantis and he delivered as an "Unknown" Freshman. A lot of you have maybe only seen 6 games from him, but I have watched him my entire life and he has always played with the type of tenacity that is unmatched.

He's an underdog with a lot of pressure on his shoulders and he carries it well to be a young man. The desire to win and the hunger for success is undeniable in this kid. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. Not to discredit Tharpe at all... I just believe that Mason earned his start. Besides that I believe the teams plays great when they both are on the floor together.

I know this kid personally and I know how hard he has worked for his respect every single day since middle school. When you're 5-10 you have to possess a big heart to play in this league and Frank displays that.

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Bryce Landon 4 months, 1 week ago

Here's hoping we see Kansas in crimson red tomorrow! Go and beat those Big 12 backstabbing Fluffaloes!

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Aaron Paisley 4 months, 1 week ago

Mason is starting because he is the most aggressive player and Self is hoping that mentality rubs off on the rest of the starters. I still believe Tharpe is the better overall PG, but Mason's positive attributes better fit what KU needs right now.

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Carl Harris 4 months, 1 week ago

During Frank Mason's last 2 years at Petersburg High School in Petersburg, VA. He led our High School to at least the State Semi-Finals both times.

His High School produced Former NBA Players Moses Malone and Mark West.

Frank was averaging over 25 pts per game the last 2 years.

I'm a 1984 Petersburg High School graduate.

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Preston Dwiggins 4 months, 1 week ago

As much as I have defended Mason on this thread, I leave with this...He needs to stop shooting 3's. The kid has a ton of heart and athleticism. Love me some FM.

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Erich Hartmann 4 months, 1 week ago

Now we get to throw chunks of Masonry at our foes right from the get-go! And to make that possible, it required Naads...

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Carl Granderson 4 months, 1 week ago

As a 1983 graduate of Petersburg High School. I can say, we a proud of Frank Mason and will support and pray for him. Be strong young man and represent yourself well.

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Joe Norton 4 months, 1 week ago

Who would of thought our lowest ranked recruit would be running this team and the most important player so far before the season started. Not a soul! You can't put a ranking on determination and heart in determining who is the best on the court. Mason is already a special player and I'm glad we got him!

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Ricky Whitfield 4 months, 1 week ago

Tharpe is good, but when it comes to playing basketball, the coach is gonna put the best 5 on the floor. Tharpe is a great distributor and floor general BUT he is a liability on defense.

Mason can put the clamps on the other teams starting point guard. He can score when needed and doesn't need a play.

The only difference between a lot of these players on this level is who has seen him. Frank Mason is a best kept secret he will show us all why he is starting.

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Eric Baker 4 months, 1 week ago

This is as much to push Tharpe as it is to reward Mason. I think Mason has earned the starting spot, although I still think Tharpe is the better point guard right now. But Mason is playing better than Tharpe at the moment, is giving the team energy, and is not afraid to make bold decisions. I doubt he'll stay at the starting spot for too long, though, because I think this is going to motivate Tharpe to kick his effort into high gear. This will be very good for the team.

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Mike Riches 4 months, 1 week ago

I agree on Embiid...he's already averaging 5 more minutes a game than Black, and doesn't seem like the kind of guy that would care more about starting than actually playing. He seems to improve almost every time he steps on the court, it won't be long before we're seeing him start AND play 30 minutes a game. Man I love this team!

BTW, I'll be rooting for the Baylor Bears tonight...and Auburn big time tomorrow!

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Tony Bandle 4 months, 1 week ago

OAKVILLE ODDITIES:

1] Is it a surprise that Frank will be starting for the Hawks?...NO! Is it a surprise he is starting before Christmas break?..TOTALLY! HCBS has been sincere and consistent in his praise of Mason. Just think when those penetration shots into the lane start falling!

2] Does Jo Jo deserve to start now?...YES! Should Jo Jo start now?.....NO! He will benefit more coming off the bench which, based on Black's prediliction to foul, will be inevitable every game early.

3] Even now, only seven games into the season, you can see the rotation sifting down to a more "Self-like" number. From a starting point of 12, Lucas, Greene, White III are being called on less, thus going with a more traditionally HCBS number of 9.

4] Come crunch time it will be "The Self Seven" with Selden, Wiggins, Ellis, Mason, Tharpe, Embiid and Traylor, with Frankamp and Black joining the bench.....just wait and watch.

5] I can't decide which hurts more, having a ulcerated callous shaved off the bottom of my foot or seeing Misery in the SEC Championship game.....actually, I know exactly which hurts more!! >:- ( !!

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Ron Franklin 4 months, 1 week ago

Mason is a slasher and intense on defense. That is why he is getting the nod, not because he is a 'scorer'. Maybe I'm looking too far into the semantics of it...

He is not a scorer. He's a try harder than you are-er. He has been militarized. He's tough minded and aggressive.

If you want a good reference point for "Scorer" look to McDermott or Parker.

+/- does favor Mason. Mason gets to the line more. Assists Favor Mason 2.9:1 vs 2.5:1. 3pt% is best by Naadir. 2% Slightly Favors Mason.

As of now my defensive strategy would be to leave Mason basically unguarded outside, and pack the paint and face-guard Wiggins.

Don't get me wrong, I agree with having Mason starting, I just don't agree that he is a scorer. Of course, I'll be waiting for the "he holds the record for his highschool scoring"

On a side: based on %, Mason is taking as many shots per minute played as Wiggins. That's not the formula I'd want to be using.

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Gerry Butler 4 months, 1 week ago

oh ya forgot to say on last post to, you find it hard to believe that mason is over connor and brennan? REALLY? SERIOUSLY? have you been watching the same games we have? connor versus frank? not even close, no comparision WHAT SOEVER I mean really as far as greene goes like has been stated not EVEN the same position come on now

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Gerry Butler 4 months, 1 week ago

let me say there is nothing THAT wrong with tharpe,however, I do think this is a solid move as others have mentioned anybody who has actually watched our games can see mason is relentless in driving the ball to the lane, and quite to the contrary of some on here he has made some sweet passes to other players. is he weak on the outside game? ya he is outside shot lacks at this point, but with some hard work on his shots and experience it will come don't get me wrong not disappointed with tharpe, definitely need him and I think he will stay positive, its just mason deserves his chance and ya I think joel is just a couple of minutes away before he becomes our starting 5. black is definitely more physical ruff and tuff but like is mentioned foul prone thank god for depth, that's a luxury we DO have at that spot. tuff game tomorrow hope we just play solid and preform at higher level then in tournament. but we knew this was gonna be the case so very young. was stated that we were like the 398th youngest team in collegiate level GO HAWKS

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Asad Zoberi 4 months, 1 week ago

In the past Self would have never started a freshman PG over a junior PG. Perhaps he was too rigid on his philosphy. But he is evolving. And I give him credit for getting more flexible. Sooner or later I expect to see Embiid starting instead of Black.

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Eric Dawson 4 months, 1 week ago

Not really a surprise. I believe it was late December/early January last season that Self commented that if KU signee Mason was on board he would be the starting PG. Frank has been a great freshman, and come March he will be a great college player, period. Experience earned under the best coach in college hoops today will hone his skills to razor sharpness. We just have to remember to not howl too loudly when he makes the occasional mistake he will as he goes through the learning process.

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Rich Hetherington 4 months, 1 week ago

I'll have to be honest, I AM SHOCKED! I love what Mason has brought to the team and the intensity he plays with, but for everything he's done, our +/- with him is just ok. (Embiid is the king of +/- so if he can stay out of foul trouble, that's who needs to become a starter!) I still contest that Tharpe is a much better shooter and a much better passer (than Mason). I think this may be Self telling Tharpe to step it up, because I know he can drive and penetrate the lane too, and when he does, he has the ability score, or to make better passes in the lane or to kick it outside to an open man. I really thought Tharpe was going to have a breakout season and so far I'm a little let down. I'm hoping we see him bounce back and continue to start through his junior an senior seasons.

If I can take it a step further, I'm still a little surprised Mason is even getting playing time over Frankamp and Greene. I trust Self and the coaching staff though so if that's who they want out there, I'll just have to adjust my thinking and give Mason more of a chance. I was just really excited about Greene and Frankamp coming and didn't know much about Mason. So far though, he's been a spark-plug and likely has a great future ahead of him here at Kansas!

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Billy Smith 4 months, 1 week ago

Ok, so that leaves one more tweak to be made, starting Embiid over Black. Black may have more expierence, but the guy is a fouling machine. He's lucky to play 20 minutes a game. Just start Embiid and Lucas, and bring Tharpe and Black off the bench.

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Brian Mensch 4 months, 1 week ago

Only a matter of time before Beed gets the starting post over Black...Never thought I would see 4 freshmen and a soph in the starting lineup at Kansas under Self...but I dig it.

I still find it amazing that if Mason would have studied for one government test in high school would be an unknown in Baltimore right now instead of playing for the Kansas.

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Greg Lux 4 months, 1 week ago

This is truly a lot about nothing. Coach is rewarding a player for his efforts. He is also sending a message to the team. Starting is a reward for hard play and effort. Nothing wrong with Tharpe. He is doing an average job at point, but this team needs a spark and I think Coach just gave them one.

Merry Christmas Rock Chalk

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Michael Pannacciulli 4 months, 1 week ago

Yes Frank is a nice player...he will get better too which is exciting. Tharpe maybe better coming off the bench anyway. No shame there.

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Rodney Crain 4 months, 1 week ago

Frank deserves to start, he earned it. I wonder if this will help in recruiting for next year to see us start a freshman PG so early? Hope Tharpe keeps his head up.

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Aloysius Dothedishes 4 months, 1 week ago

Wow.. Didn't see that coming. Granted, he played his heart out against 'nova. Still.. Wow!

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Preston Dwiggins 4 months, 1 week ago

Frank deserves the opportunity. When we met the new player's at the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic, I told my wife that I was most impressed with Mason. He seems like a great young man. I have confidence in him getting us back on track. Hopefully this is the spark we need to get our motors running at full throttle.

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Mike Riches 4 months, 1 week ago

Congratulations to Mason! Seven games into his collegiate career and he's been named the starting PG of a top ten team, one of the most successful programs in college basketball history! Not bad for a guy that was barely recruited coming out of high school! If that kind of progress over the past couple years is any indication of how he'll continue to improve throughout this season, I'm thrilled to watch him lead this team at the point!

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John Fitzgerald 4 months, 1 week ago

Mason has been my favorite player so far this year. I like Tharpe but Frank is playing some good basketball and always plays with high intensity.

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