Monday, June 10, 2013

Frank Mason gets taste of hoops hoopla

Eight-year-old Jackson Noland waits as Kansas freshman Wayne Selden signs his T-shirt during an autograph session for attendees of Bill Self's basketball camp Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Eight-year-old Jackson Noland waits as Kansas freshman Wayne Selden signs his T-shirt during an autograph session for attendees of Bill Self's basketball camp Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse.



Eight-year-old Jackson Noland waits as Kansas freshman Wayne Selden signs his T-shirt during an autograph session for attendees of Bill Self's basketball camp Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Frank Mason and his Kansas University basketball teammates good-naturedly signed shirts, shoes, basketballs, posters and plain sheets of paper for hundreds of KU coach Bill Self’s basketball campers during a marathon 2 1⁄2-hour orientation session Sunday in Booth Family Hall of Athletics.

“It’s amazing. This is my first event doing something like this. I’m just happy to see all the kids smiling,” said Mason, KU’s 5-foot-11, 180-pound freshman point guard out of Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va.

“I knew it would be like this,” Mason added, “because the tradition is very great here. It’s the fans. They are wonderful. I hope to have a lot more events like this.”

Mason has all the makings of a future fan favorite at KU. Self calls the speedy point guard, who averaged 17 points and eight assists a year ago for 30-4 Massanutten, a “jet.”

“I think my strength is getting my teammates involved, getting in the paint, but most of all on the defensive end, being a good defender,” said Mason.

Also ... “being a point guard, being a leader, controlling the tempo,” he added.

The former Towson University signee, who went to prep school for one year after failing to qualify for a college scholarship, averaged a state-best 27.4 points a game during his senior campaign at Petersburg (Va.) High. During his Petersburg career, he scored 1,901 points, and the Wave went a combined 78-4.

He exploded for 50 points off 16-for-21 shooting two summers ago in the 804 All-Star Game in Richmond, Va.

“Well, my 50-point game in the all star game was a great experience. I didn’t know I was close to 50 until the end,” Mason said. “It was surprising.”

He received recruiting interest that summer from Tennessee, Louisville, Seton Hall and UConn. KU offered Mason a scholarship in July of 2012 after watching the lead guard’s AAU team win a tournament in Las Vegas. Despite the major-college interest — he chose KU over Alabama, Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia Tech — he never quite caught the attention of the recruiting writers. He wound up the No. 76-rated player in the Class of 2013 by after beginning the 2012-13 season ranked No. 134.

“I don’t pay attention to rankings,” Mason said. “I just play my game and believe in my strengths, believe in my coaching staff and coach Self, who is a great coach, and everything else falls into place.”

Asked if he has anything to prove, he said: “We have something to prove to every other college team and every other program. That’s about it. I don’t have anything to prove personally.”

KU coach Self doesn’t pay heed to national rankings when signing players.

“Frank is one of the best-kept secrets in high school basketball,” Self said. “I really believe even though his high school ranking is not much, he’s a guy that is as good as any guard out there.”

He’s expected to battle Naadir Tharpe for the starting point-guard position. Combo guard Conner Frankamp also could be in the mix at the lead-guard slot. Two-guard Wayne Selden also played some point in high school.

“My goals my first year are to compete every day, work hard and do what I can to help the team win,” said Mason, who is roommate of freshman shooting guard Brannen Greene. ”I have wonderful teammates. Everyone loves to compete. We are going for the national title and no less — Big 12 champs and more.”

For now, Mason is just happy to be here.

“I absolutely love this place. I love the program, everything about it,” he said.

In other KU newcomer news, freshman Andrew Wiggins, who has decided to not play for Canada’s Under 19 team this summer so he can work out with his teammates in Lawrence, will be here “probably mid-week,” Self said Sunday on the first day of his Sunday-Thursday camp.


Preston Dwiggins 6 years, 1 month ago

I hope to see Wiggins at basketball camp later this week...COUGH...COUGH...I mean, my son hopes he's there : )

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 1 month ago

Frank, welcome to KU! You sound like a Jayhawk before your first game!

Scott MacWilliams 6 years, 1 month ago

"but most of all on the defensive end, being a good defender,” said Mason.

Sounds like music to my ears!! I bet HCBS had this pegged a long time ago, so I'll be pulling for FM to make some def noise keep his man 0-for-all night!!

Welcome to the cradle of college hoops, Frank, and here's to a great career for you.

Rock Chalk!!

On a side note, I hope they plan to honor the Jayhawk Women's 2013 NCAA CHAMPS in track & field at Late Night. They certainly deserve a huge AFH standing O. I'm also hoping that this is the start of a new track dynasty at KU!!

KansasComet 6 years, 1 month ago

Can't wait to watch Mason push the ball up court this season greetings from Parga, Greece

REHawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Frank the Jet. Daily, I am more impressed with the recruits whom Bill Self and Co. have signed for this season. Please keep these articles coming, Gary Bedore.

Joe Baker 6 years, 1 month ago

Yeah- Their mature attitude stands out as much as their talent. This is truly a dream team in many ways.

hawk316 6 years, 1 month ago

true, I'm with you. Very impressed with the attitudes reflected by the comments by several of these freshmen. Seems like a classy group of young men. Now, if they can play... :-)

Joseph Leon 6 years, 1 month ago

I am really impressed too. Maybe the writing is just getting better, but these seem like a bunch of guys who have their heads screwed on straight and say the right things.

FearlessJayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Great competition in practice makes for great performances in prime-time.

Hawk8086 6 years, 1 month ago

Mason has flown under the radar. It will be interesting to see how much, if any, playing time he earns. Not likely that he can start over Tharpe, but he does have the chance to compete for backup PG minutes. Appears that the backup PG position will be between Frankamp and Mason, with Frankamp also having the ability to get minutes at the 2. Either way, I like the long term potential of Mason.

Andy Tweedy 6 years, 1 month ago

I've whined about LJW writer's overuse of the word "exploded" before. But "He exploded for 50 points..." qualifies! That's a ton of points for anybody at any level. I coudln't score 50 points against my 7 year old niece unless we went sunup to sundown.

Boouk 6 years, 1 month ago

I still don't see Mason playing much this year with Tharpe, Frankamp, Selden, Wiggins, Greene, and White on the perimeter.

Michael Bratisax 6 years, 1 month ago

Meaningful minutes? I think he will have a better career than Tharpe when all is said and done but like Tharpe, he will be on a very short leash his freshman year.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 1 month ago

Yes! When you're on the floor at KU, ahem, the University of Kansas, they are all meaningful minutes. Probably 10 minutes a game.

David Hodges 6 years, 1 month ago

Self sure sounds like that will be the case. He seems to be very high on this kid. I bet we at least see him a bunch early before Self cements the rotation. Those early games and practices will determine how much we see him later. Love this kids attitude though.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 1 month ago

In Self's rotation, it seems unlikely that both Mason and Frankamp play. Just numbers.

We know we have Tharpe, Selden, Wiggins, Ellis, Embiid, Black -- that's 6.

A ninth rotation guy would be a low minutes post guy, in Traylor's role last season (Traylor or Lucas -- of course, Embiid could start the year in this role with Traylor or Lucas in one of the top 3 post rotation spots)

Regardless, that leaves a battle for 2 perimeter spots. Likely Greene or White gets one of those due to height. Most likely is White -- he has experience on his side.

So one rotation spot left.

That spot will likely come down to ball handling. Who can be the primary ball handler behind Tharpe? And that's where Mason may have a shot.

My bet is that Frankamp will be an adequate second ball handler and will take that 5th spot.

Mick Allen 6 years, 1 month ago

Nadir better come ready to play. Mason is more athletic than Tharpe. He is a much better defender as he has the lateral quickness to keep his man in front and I believe you will see he is even faster than Nadir pushing the ball on the dribble. Nadir made much progress last year and of course, as one of the few experienced players we have returning, it will be his job to lose. Mason is good enough this could happen. He will certainly get minutes at the point before Frankamp.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 1 month ago

It's possible that Self expands his rotation from the 7 to 8 to 9 to 11. I mean, we haven't been this deep since '08, and maybe not even then.

Joe Baker 6 years, 1 month ago

1-2 RS, but who? I don't see a rotation over 7, maybe 8 tops. I've always thought Mason and White could possibly RS. White knows the system, so I see possibly Mason and a Greene as possible RS. Maybe just Mason at this point. I do agree about ball handling and they all handle the ball fairly well.

The only argument against Greene is that he's too big and smart to RS against big B12 guards. I think with a little Hudy this Summer Greene has a huge advantage at the 1-4 spots.

KUFan90 6 years, 1 month ago

I think the rotation will be 9 : 4 bigs and 5 perimeter. I dont see Greene redshirting since hi was pretty highly recruited. I see White red shirting (unless the experience factor tops this). I agree w HEM that either Lucas or Traylor will ride the pine this year. And that leaves Mason or Francamp as the 10th man (and unfortunately out of the rotation). As excited as I am to see Francamp play, I think Mason will edge him out.

Michael Bratisax 6 years, 1 month ago

This years team may have more depth than '08 with the last 2 recruiting classes but nowhere near the experience.

This could be HCBS's toughest test as a coach. I can't see the rotation be larger than 9 going from past history.

Joe Baker 6 years, 1 month ago

I disagree with Embiid. I see Lucas starting most games 25-30 mins a game the first half. If Embiid can develop physically and learn the big system, he plays the second half. Lucas RS and is a big banger. He's got a great butt for posting. Plus, he can hold his position and push other bigs around. You underestimate Lucas my friend. I love Embiid and am huge on his playing, but he's got a big order to fill against Lucas.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 1 month ago

I sense a little Lucas-crush here.

Remember, Self chose Traylor over Lucas for playing time in 2012-13. And you saw Traylor. You think that Lucas has gone from unranked redshirt, a guy behind Traylor, to starting? And to playing over the top 1 or 2 (depending on the service) center in the country?

I'll admit, I just don't know what we'll get with Lucas. But there is no evidence to suggest that the guy is going to play ahead of Traylor or Embiid, let alone start.

I would love to see him play ahead of Traylor, in the hope that he is better than Traylor.

David Leathers 6 years, 1 month ago

I sense a little Traylor-hatred here.

What makes you think he is so bad? Do you remember TRob as a freshman? Heck, even as a sophomore he wasn't that great. I hate to make predictions on the rotation, and I have no clue what's going to happen with Lucas, but I saw Traylor too. He is not as bad as you make him out to be.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 1 month ago

Nah, not Traylor-hatred at all. Great kid. Amazing story. Just looking at performance.

What did Traylor do well? I'm curious as to what improvement you saw from game 1 through the last game? I posed this question before here and the only item of improvement was free throw shooting. He was literally the exact same player from game 1 until the end of the season. Can't hit a 5 foot bank shot. Got burned multiple times on D. Below average rebounder. Only blocked shot are as the second defender coming to the play. Ok .. he's great on the follow slam from time to time .. like the one he did in the Michigan St. game in November.

And TRob and Traylor aren't even in the same league. Not close. Talent and skill top the list. TRob's bigger (thicker). TRob is more athletic. After watching him play, you'll note no one says "baby TRob" anymore. There's a difference between the #37 player, and the #136 player.

Traylor's just barely an adequate 4th post player in our rotation. Barely.

But nothing says he can't get better. I just don't see any significant jumps.

sarcastichawk 6 years, 1 month ago

HEM, I enjoy the majority of your posts but I have to Agree with CaliHawk. We get it, you aren't high on Traylor, you don't think he improved at all last year, you don't think there is much potential for him to have a significant impact any time soon but is it necessary to bring this up EVERY single time there is a discussion about our frontcourt. (it's almost getting as bad as the VCU/Elijah Johnson experience comments)

It does come off as a bit hater-ish, especially when you say "I would love to see him play ahead of Traylor, in the hope that he is better than Traylor." I see your point but Really? Why not hope Traylor is better than Black or a much more serviceable back-up for Ellis? Cut the kid a break.

JayHawkFanToo 6 years, 1 month ago

HEM, This is an unfair comparison between Traylor and Lucas. You are forgetting that Traylor had already used up his red shirt year and could not sit out anymore, but Lucas could. Also, Traylor had spent one year learning the system (like McLemore), and Lucas had not. We cannot conclude that red shirting Lucas and playing Traylor means that one is better than the other. We can only infer that they were at different times in their development and with different options available (or unavailable) to them.

Michael Bratisax 6 years, 1 month ago

Not much chance either of them will start over Black although both will get minutes at either the 4 or 5. I don't believe HCBS will change his coaching style and will continue to let players play multiple positions.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 1 month ago

The NBA drafts as much on potential as they do on the present, and because of this Jojo plays a lot and is gone. I hate it too, but better to have cheered and lost than never cheered at all.

The word is already out about Embiid. I see him as an OAD player because of his game in the all-star games. He blocked Julius Randle's layup in the first few minutes and followed that up with very intense play. Yeah, he may be "rough" although I think that word is laughably hive-minded because he isn't rough at all, nor do I think he's "inexperienced." It's basketball, not brain surgery. He held his own against America's best in a great class.

Michael Bratisax 6 years, 1 month ago

I agree with everything you say and IF he helps our team more than the other post players...he starts. But the same applies to the other players as well. It isn't HCBS job to get him NBA ready even at the risk of deterring future OAD recruits.

I'm just looking forward to a possible unforgettable season and hoping the results live up to expectations. I think we would both cheer for that.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 1 month ago

The NBA drafts as much on potential as they do on the present, and because of this Jojo plays a lot and is gone. I hate it too, but better to have cheered and lost than never cheered at all. The word is already out about Embiid. I see him as an OAD player because of his game in the all-star games. He blocked Julius Randle's layup in the first few minutes and followed that up with very intense play. Yeah, he may be "rough" although I think that word is laughably hive-minded because he isn't rough at all, nor do I think he's "inexperienced." It's basketball, not brain surgery. He held his own against America's best in a great class.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 1 month ago

So, do you think that Lucas is a better player than Julius Randle? Embiid held his own against him.

741hawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Seems like Bill has the talent to have an expanded rotation this year . . . keeping fresh players on the court and pressuring the opposition.

Vernon Riggs 6 years, 1 month ago

In the past (Oral Roberts, Tulsa, UofI and Kansas) when HCBS had the depth, he used a 9-man rotation with 5 Guards/Wings and 4 Bigs. When you look the numbers, it will be hard for Mason and Frankamp to both get minutes. This is deep, yet untested, group of Jayhawks. HCBS may just sub like a hockey or indoor soccer coach, with three lines.

Greg Lux 6 years, 1 month ago

Frank is definitely going to be good for Tharpe. He will push him to be even better to keep this starting job. Match ups like that are what makes players better. Welcome to Jayhawk land Frank. I hope you enjoy your stay and do very very well.

Rock Chalk

Tony Bandle 6 years, 1 month ago

Intial rotation [subject to change as the season progresses.]

1] Center - Black backed by Embiid/Lucas.

2] Power Forward - Ellis backed by Traylor then maybe Black when Embiid takes over.

3] Point Guard - Tharpe backed by Mason and maybe Wayne or Conner

4] Wing - Wiggins backed by AW3/Greene if neither red shirts

5] Shooting Guard - Selden backed by Frankamp or any number of combos.

6] Red Shirt - Greene/AW3 or maybe neither.

I actually listed all the schollie players, listed all the positions that each one was capable of playing, got so confused by the almost infinite number of permutations, I turned on the TV and watched the Cardinals score 7 runs in the top of the tenth to beat the hated Reds!!

Joe Baker 6 years, 1 month ago

Asked if he has anything to prove, he said: “We have something to prove to every other college team and every other program. That’s about it. I don’t have anything to prove personally.”

Loves it, "We," spoken like a true pg. He is a 'jet,' gets teammates involved, leader, control the tempo"? Ah. spoken with the makings of a great pg. I don't know why, but this kid may not have the hype of Trey Burke. He may be every bit as good or have as much upside.

Stay focused, learn, grow on and off court, be patient, listen to HCBS, and you'll have a great future at KU. I wasn't a big supporter of Mason's signing. I've watched high school vids and there is the potential and ingredients for some great games. But just follow Self's system to the end. You'll do well Mr Frank 'the jet' Mason.

kutailg88r 6 years, 1 month ago

A lot of us are excited by Tharp's improvement and his future potential, but at a HCBS luncheon last season, he said if Frank Mason were at KU then - he'd be the starting point guard. This kid has a bunch of the good Tyshawn in him. He and Nadir will be pretty interchangeable by mid season, and that's a very good thing.

David Leathers 6 years, 1 month ago

That's funny you mention Tyshawn.

Just the other day on Twitter, Mason had tweeted something to the like of:

"Just got some really good advice from Tyshawn."

Joe Baker 6 years, 1 month ago

Tharpe, Selden, Wiggins, Ellis, and Lucas - First half through January.

I like Tharpe, Ellis, and Lucas as bookends to Selden and Wiggins.

Tharpe, Selden, Wiggins, Ellis, and possibly more Embiid (pending development) Late January - NC...haha

Either way, I'm stoked with any lineup. Self has so many options and is a master at utilizing those options.

Joe Baker 6 years, 1 month ago

BTW- I think Traylor and Black bang it out for the backup to the 4 and 5 spots. I see Traylor with the edge at this point.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 1 month ago

truehawk93 .. Black didn't come here to play behind Traylor. Few things in life are "guarantees". I'm betting that's close to a guarantee.

I've watched a lot of freshman come through here, and Traylor was one of the few that I would say made very little if any improvement from game 1 through the last game of the season (ok, free throw shooting). Same player .. a lot of the same.

Black would have to show up with a wooden leg to be behind Traylor.

Joseph Kuebel 6 years, 1 month ago

Completely agree. The reason Black didn't average 15ppg (or something pretty major like that) last year and did as a soph is 100% due to him and Josh Pastner not being on the same page... I see Black starting at the beginning of the year and the possibility of Embiid getting equal mins as Black by the end of the season.

jay381 6 years, 1 month ago

I live in Memphis. You are correct. The Memphis team has a very young coach in Pastner and some in my opinion less that top tier assistants. He has no "big man" coach at all. All of the assistants are former guards and they have no inside game. A business acquaintance told me he knows the family and going to KS was the best thing that ever happened to Black. He is a beast and will fit very well in the Self system and is also older. After the summer with Hudy he will be hard to control and with coaching from someone that has a clue about the position I really think he will be a significant addition to the team..

Vernon Riggs 6 years, 1 month ago

Both averaged over 6 fouls per 40 minutes last year. I don't see the average minutes very high on either player. It would be hard to image anyone but Wiggins, Ellis and Selden averaging more than the high 20's per game. Tharpe in the low-mid 20's. Black, Lucus, Trayer, Embiid, Greene, Frankamp and Mason all below mid teens.

texashawk10 6 years, 1 month ago

As the 4th big, Traylor's job last year was to just hold the fort down and play as aggressively on defense as he could without regard to his foul numbers.

Michael Bratisax 6 years, 1 month ago

'Black would have to show up with a wooden leg to be behind Traylor.'

Great line...

Joe Baker 6 years, 1 month ago

We'll see if Black adjusts from Pastner's system to Self's. I think he struggles with learning early. He is an intelligent guy and should make some ground come January.

I want who provides D, then O. I want the one who can produce O from D. I also know that Self will go with his seasoned, tried and true players. Lucas isn't sitting the bench after RS. Traylor knows the system too. However, I did see some struggles with him in the big rotation on the court at times. I think Lucas and Traylor have the edge of experience with Self.

It's up to Black. If he wants it, he needs to take it. I don't think our board banter is going to make much difference with any player. Who will want it more? Black has way more at stake. This is it and he knows the NBA will be watching KU, they always do. I think the BU and OSU games will have scouts and we'll see how Mr Black performs. He is older and more mature, let's see how he handles Self's big man rotation.

David Brown 6 years, 1 month ago

What about the Y-Axis? We want three-dimensional players don't we?

Jack Wilson 6 years, 1 month ago

Ok, we are entering the "giddy" zone here with some on Mason.

What makes anyone think that Mason will be ready? Remember, he's a freshman. He is a lower ranked guy. How did Tharpe, who was comparably ranked, look his freshman season? How do we know "Mason is good enough" to displace Tharpe (see babyphog above)?

His role will likely be just as drgnslayr suggested .. learning behind Tharpe as a true point guard.

Why would anyone assume he's a better D-I defender than Tharpe? Tharpe has had two seasons of Self's coaching and practices to get where he's at.

Logic, history, and just knowing coach Self tells us Tharpe is not even challenged this season by Mason. But seeing Tharpe play last season makes that case even better. The guy was our best point guard, and has exceptional attributes heading into his junior season. But was a disaster his freshman season.

Mason was Self's 5th or 6th choice as point guard in this class. While the article says that Self doesn't pay attention to player ratings, it is interesting how the guys he first pursues are 95% of the time the highly rated guys. The article makes it seem like Mason was his man from the start and ratings didn't matter. But we know that's not true.

There is a significant chance, assuming Frankamp can handle being the second ball handler, that Mason plays less than Adams did this past season. But that doesn't mean he's not the point guard of the future.

Mason seems like a great kid to have come in, sit for a couple seasons (perhaps redshirt 2nd season), and be there for three productive seasons after that. Why expect more?

Joe Baker 6 years, 1 month ago

Make no mistake, Tharpe is Self's pg. I wouldn't be surprised to see Mason RS this year.

K_haskett 6 years ago

Mason is no where near a red-shirt. Or a back-up. Wait to see

Mick Allen 6 years, 1 month ago

We don't know if he is good enough to displace Nadir. We will find out. Did you miss Self's comment from another poster on here that heard Self say if Mason were here[ last year]he would be our starting point. I have watched KU basketball from the first game played in the Phog, who is my grandfather and I do not become "giddy" when considering which of our very talented newcomers will get significant minutes their first year. HEM have you even watched Mason's video? If you had and know one half of the basketball you purport to know, the difference in athletic ability between Tharpe and Mason is significant and Mason is stronger and quicker

Michael Bratisax 6 years, 1 month ago

But Mason wasn't here. Tharpe was and has 2 years of experience on a team that lacks experience. Tharpe made a huge jump in his second year and I don't see any reason to believe he won't do the same this year. I also think Self's comments were made in such a way as to motivate Tharpe.

Watching videos is fun but not a good way to assess how good a player will be.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 1 month ago

babyphog .. Easy there.

First, I certainly don't base my opinion on players solely, or even greatly, on youtube videos. If you do, you should reconsider your thought process.

Second, when you watch those videos, remember that the opposition is many times guys that won't play in college. Even in AAU games. Most AAU guys don't play any significant level of college ball, if at all.

Third, in those videos, you need to look for skill. Really, they're only effective when evaluating post players and their foot work, etc. Relatively useless regarding perimeter guys. You can note ball handling ability, but the problem is that they're not playing against real pressure. Everybody posts their good moments. Take in all of the information.

Fourth, basketball, my friend, is not won on athletic ability. It is a skill based game. Whether or not Mason is more athletic than Tharpe is largely irrelevant. It doesn't hurt, but it doesn't mean a ton. Otherwise, Bo Jackson would have known basketball.

Fifth, for a point guard, taking care of the ball is huge. Can Mason deliver a pass to the wing under Division 1 defensive pressure ... pressure, mind you, that he has never seen before. Ever. This cannot be underestimated. Dudes .. men .. 22 year old men .. in his face. Marcus Smart in his jock. 5 inches taller than him. Many point guards are torn down, so to speak, before they recover to be serviceable and then good players. Tharpe is one. It doesn't mean they aren't good. Remember how Adams struggled with the ball? The next D-Wade? It is a very difficult job.

Sixth, you have become giddy. Over the #76 player in the country. Wiggins? Giddy is good. Selden? Sure. Mason? Not so fast.

Seventh, and I hate to rain on your parade, but before he went to prep school, Mason's best offer was Towson. That tells you something if you want to think through it.

Eighth, he was coach Self's 5th or 6th choice. Don't gloss over that. That means something. Anthony Barber, Demetrius Jackson, etc. Self speaks nicely of the kid, but he never says that he's better than anyone he passed on. Read Self's quotes on guys that didn't play much.

Ninth, if Self says anything referring to Mason starting, it must of course be construed against the backdrop of motivation for Tharpe. I need to see it in writing. Please post a link. I always say that Self's words mean something, so I'd love to see it. But do you really think that Self is going to turn this ship over to a freshman? The #76 player? A five star guy? Maybe ... but still unlikely.

Giddiness is a disease. But it's treatable. Ask the Merv Lindsay, Anrio Adams, and Milton Doyle survivors. They beat the disease and now are productive posters once more.

Mick Allen 6 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for your basketball 101 primer. You, come up with some dandy conclusions, Mr. state the obvious. Basketball is a "skill based game" Great point and when did it ever hurt in skill based games to have exceptional athletic ability? I certainly realize without you telling me that basketball is more than running fast and jumping high but when did it ever hurt a point guard to have exceptional quickness with or without the ball or have the strength to get in the lane while being jostled and bumped? You also talk like taking minutes from Tharpe is like trying to take them from Paul, Parker or Nash. Who offered Tharpe other than KU? The way you talk Tharpe is irreplaceable and will be first team all Big 12 next season. Your most outrageous statement is that in watching videos only look for "skill" in evaluating post players and it is relatively useless in evaluating perimeter guys??? Then you say you can note ball handling abilities, I assume you consider this a "skill", but they are not playing against real pressure. Should I be impressed with a big's footwork when he is guarded by a defender a half a foot shorter. How in the world do you separate skill from athletic ability? Was Michael Jordan skilled but not athletic, or was he athletic but not skilled? Your Bo Jackson comparison is befuddling. I guess it takes no skill to hit a baseball 450 feet or throw a man out at home from the left field wall. Is it hard to find skilled players who are unathletic? I imagine it would be. I will agree that taking care of the ball for a point guard is responsibility number one. Once again was Nadir so skilled in this area last year that he can't be challenged? How many times did he pull up his dribble in the corner or on the sidelines when full court pressure came? Certainly the athletic ability called speed with the dribble could beat the double team from the full court pressure as would strength to step through the double team. How can you seriously say that Mason being more athletic than Tharpe is largely irrelevant, at the most athletic position on the floor? Where did you obtain your basketball knowledge? From a Bruce Weber summer camp? Why are you so giddy about a point guard who realistically had a mediocre year whose starting job is secure for the entire season no matter how he performs according to you. I never said Mason would start at point, I said it wasNadir's to lose and I think Mason is talented enough by February that they will at least split time at the point. Self's comment that Mason would have started at point last year came from an earlier poster who heard him say it at a roundball meeting. If you believe that poster was not being truthful, that is your call. Overestimating one's basketball knowledge is a disease also and I'm afraid you are terminal.

David Leathers 6 years, 1 month ago

^^ The toughest thing I have ever tried to read.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 1 month ago

The Bo Jackson comparison was that he was perhaps the most athletic person ever born, yet he could not play the game of basketball. He had no basketball skill. He had baseball skill. You missed the point there.

Of course, I'm not saying that athleticism doesn't matter. Skill trumps it significantly. That's the point. Would you rather have Bobby Hurley at point guard, or Tyshawn Taylor? Steve Nash, Jason Kidd .. none wildly athletic. That's the point. Ideally, you would have both. But give me the skilled guy first and foremost. And I'm not saying Mason isn't skilled. We just don't know yet.

On the videos thing. I've seen so many folks fall in that trap. Guys look like all-stars in the videos they make themselves. Against slow guys. Weak players. Non-D-1 guys. I am very confident in seeing what's relevant in videos.

This reason I'm giddy on Tharpe is that I saw the lightbulb go on. Pure, unequivocal evidence. If you thought Tharpe had a mediocre season, I'm not sure what your expectaions were. We shall see for 2013-14. But please bookmark this page.

melrank 6 years, 1 month ago

"Giddiness is a disease. But it's treatable. Ask the Merv Lindsay, Anrio Adams, and Milton Doyle survivors. They beat the disease and now are productive posters once more."

We don't always agree but that is one funny quote - well done!

Jack Wilson 6 years, 1 month ago

I would obviously agree with Ralster. But, kD, I'd also take A+ skills with B athleticism over A+ athleticism and B skills. Any day. In the game of basketball. It is why our national teams have had difficulty with Euro teams, etc. We are always the most athletic team. Just my view.

K_haskett 6 years ago

Frank Mason will start. Kid won mvp in Vegas, His team also won the championship. He is the 2nd highest scorer in his High school's history only behind the great Moses Malone. Frank is rated where he is only because he hasnt been seen by everybody. the bigger the stage the better he will play. Frank Mason will start. If not the first game it'll be soon

Page Butler 6 years, 1 month ago

Connor Frankamp is an amazing ball handler. I watched him do spectacular things last season and I have no doubt he can do it all at the next level. He has my vote for backup PG next season.

David Leathers 6 years, 1 month ago

That sounds like a biased opinion. If you didn't get to see Mason last year then you wouldn't know that he did spectacular things too.

Look, I love Conner Frankamp to death. Not many Kansas kids can stroke the ball like him. And being born in Kansas, I'm rooting for him right along side you. However, Mason can handle the ball a little bit better than Conner, has a little better court vision than Conner, and seems to be a lot quicker than him. Conner does have the edge in shooting ability (duh!), but with all of the offensive firepower that will be out there next season, will it be needed?

Hawk8086 6 years, 1 month ago

Agreed. I see Mason as a good long term PG potential. Not all of these guys are going to play (at least significantly). 8-9 max. as usual. In Self's system, experience counts for alot. That's why, for instance, White has an advantage over Greene. Maybe Mason earns backup PG, maybe Frankamp earns that job....who knows. Frankamp has the advantage of also being able to play the 2, which will help his chances of seeing significant minutes, but the majority of the perimter minutes will go to Tharpe, Selden, and of course, AW. White, Greene, Frankamp, and Mason jostle for minutes off the bench, with not all of them playing alot.

K_haskett 6 years ago

Frank will be an instant impact. your comments are based on highlight vid's and what you've heard. anybody that has actually seen mason play knows the sky is the limit for him.

always_correct 6 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for this article, guys. Have you thought about doing a feature on each player? Like 1 each day of a week. Or spreading them out to one a week?

ku_foaf 6 years, 1 month ago

The films I've seen of Mason are very impressive. I think Self just got to him before others say his potential. Great to have him!

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 1 month ago

It's mind boggling to think of the talent we have, this, and too much on the board is made of experience if you factor KU's loss last year against the youngest team in the tournament--Michigan. In November, Self won't make "youth" excuses even though he'll need time to just get the team to gel. By March, "youth" won't be mentioned.

mikehawk 6 years, 1 month ago

My pick for surprise player of the year. My pick last year was Naadir. I also think AWIII is being overlooked as an emerging player who may be written off by the fans. I think this team is more positioned to be a deadly 3 point team than any team in the Bill Self era. Let them take it Coach. Make'em run if they pass it up. I can't believe I just said that.

wrwlumpy 6 years, 1 month ago

“My goals my first year are to compete every day, work hard and do what I can to help the team win,” said Mason, who is roommate of freshman shooting guard Brannen Greene. ”I have wonderful teammates. Everyone loves to compete. We are going for the national title and no less — Big 12 champs and more.”

Everyone on this team can't help but believe the same thing.

In regards to Lucas and White, The day after the Michigan game there were Twitter pics of both of them in the weight room. " Caption, New Season Starts Today."

Lucas, White, Tharpe and Ellis have those same thoughts as above, but they had them even before Andrew, Wayne, Jo Jo and Tarik joined the team. Also, Lucas has worked out with Young all summer and with coach Roberts.

Remember last year in one of the two early in-state games where Lucas was allowed to play, Coach said afterwards the Lucas had the best game..

By the way, how about that Mario Chalmers?

Tony Bandle 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm not sure which player but I sure as hell know which coach!!! :)

Just on my sheer gut feeling and having nothing to back it up, I think that Wayne Selden spits nails and craps dynamite if he is on the losing side.

ParisHawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Hate to lose: Selden, Tharpe.

I think the most competitive go beyond hating to lose. They love to make others lose. Like Chalmers said to Lebron last game: "time to go for the kill." Sherron had it.

Anyone see any killer instinct this year?

K_haskett 6 years ago

Frank mason scored 50 points in a all star game. 1,901 in his career, 111-5 as his highschool record. and will guard the best player on any team....His middle name should be "killer"

Michael Luby 6 years, 1 month ago

We haven't had any chance at all to see killer instinct.

DDDHawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Frank, I will be excited to see you be a "jet" on the basketball court!

texashawk10 6 years, 1 month ago

Right now, I see Bill Self actually being able to use 9 players to fill out his 9 man rotation. Tharpe, Selden, Wiggins, Ellis, and I'm going with Black as the 5th starter for now. 2 out of Embiid, Traylor, and Lucas will get the 3rd and 4th big man spots and I'm going with Embiid as the 3rd and Traylor in the same role as last year. I agree with HEM that there is a reason why Traylor played over Lucas last year and Traylor is better suited to play the 4 in college than Lucas is. I also think Traylor has a ceiling high enough to be a regular rotation guy all 4 years because he's got very good athleticism and is still pretty new to organized basketball so I think there is room for him to grow. As for the back up wing spot, I'm going with Brannen Greene over AW3 because I think Greene is the more overall skilled player based of what I've seen. AW3 is the player I look at as the most likely to redshirt this upcoming season. AW3 has some potential, but he still needs a lot of work on defense and doing stuff other than shooting 3's on offense. That leaves the last rotation spot and it will be a battle between Frankamp and Mason. If Frankamp or Selden can be a competent enough ball handler to back up Tharpe, then Frankamp will have a huge leg up in being the back up small guard. If neither is competent enough to back up Tharpe, then Mason should have the leg up to back up Tharpe. The 3 battles to really keep an eye on in October when practice starts are Frankamp/Mason for the back up small guard spot, Greene/White to back up Wiggins, and Traylor/Lucas for the 4th big man spot.

ameraidi 6 years, 1 month ago

Can't wait for bball season to start...rock chalk all the way from Dubai in the UAE.

jaybate 6 years, 1 month ago

Each season PT is driven by two things:

A) The quest to find the best 7 defenders that guard their positions, help, and protect; and

B) 3 of those 7 must offer the best chance to shoot 40% from trey--of those 2 start and 1 rotates.

Note: Self prefers 4 trifectates, but often can't find 4 that can guard, help and protect.

Inference: since neither Wiggins, nor Selden, is likely going to be able to shoot better than 38% from trey, and both are apt to be starters, Self will have to force a 40% trey shooter into every substitution minute possible at the 1, 2 and 3, or opponents will beat KU with trey shooting and sagging in the paint.


  1. Mason plays backup only if Conner can't play point. If Conner can play point, Mason may never see the floor after December.

  2. If Conner can't play point, then Mason backs up Tharpe and self subs the best two defenders/trey shooters at 2 and 3 among Conner, AWIII, and Greene.

Bottom Line:

If Conner, AWIII, and Greene can all guard and protect, they will all play ALOT!!!!!

And one may even beat out Selden for a starting spot, because the only way to get the most out of Wiggins is to have a 40% trey on his opposite wing, and the only way to get the most out of Selden is to have a 40% trey on HIS opposite wing TOO!!!!

But right now it seems very unlikely that Conner, AWIII, and Greene will all be able to be able to play Self defense and protect and shoot 40%.

We're likely to know by December 1st which of these 3 can guard well enough to be in the rotation.

Frank Mason's PT depends entirely on two, or less, of those three trifectates being able to guard and protect.

wrwlumpy 6 years, 1 month ago

Jaybate, this perfect storm that is playing itself out in Lawrence Kansas is creating some of the best blogging that we've seen.

I'm starting to realize that many of our bloggers are former coaches, former point guards, former Jayhawks and intelligent fans with crystal clear memories of everything that has to do with KU Ball.

I would love for ESPN to do a special on this years summer practices leading up to our first game with Duke, similar to NFL Training camp. But that probably wouldn't be allowed, although they did a segmented series with Kentucky similar to it.

Five months before basketball season. And another 100 replies to whether or not Tyler and Evan will be getting minutes this year.

jaybate 6 years, 1 month ago

Yes, wrwlumpy. Some talent has committed itself. And it is paying word dividends.

And I do take some satisfaction from the enlightened, diverse discourse in our community. I have contributed much and challenged many for many years now to try to help sew the seeds for a standard of discourse of an online community worthy of The Legacy--one that could justifiably be called the website of record of KU Basketball. It is just a foundation, but it should establish a path dependence that will carry on quite sometime. And I am grateful too to the pro journalists for listening enough to what has been going on to raise their own standards, too. Much innovation has occurred on Tom's and others' watches--much to their credit. We are here advancing thoughtful discourse and analysis in a high tide of stimulus-response Tweeting. Newell Post Live is the thinking fan's alternative to Twitteralia. Here we are including old and new to advance the legacy rather than turn it into iBabel.

Health issues have slowed me of late. Can't say how they will play out. But I am glad to continue to read intelligent commentary here, at a moment when so many wrongly fear intelligence is being routed by a dumbness cult in our broader society.

Franklin Roosevelt was right.

And he still is right.

AZHawk72 6 years, 1 month ago

If we're playing Virginia Commonwealth in March, I'd expect the five on the court to be Mason, Selden, Wiggins, Ellis, and Embiid--and I can't wait. Perhaps, more so than any group lately, my gut tells me that November's lineup will not resemble the five in March.

Get well soon, Jaybate, but I think FDR is still left.

r1wigs 6 years, 1 month ago

Why is it a story about Mason and they have a picture of Selden?

K_haskett 6 years ago

All im going to say is...Tharpe better come in each and everyday and work as hard as he has ever worked. Mason wont settle

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