Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Freshman Frankamp brings hot shot to KU

Kansas guard Conner Frankamp smiles while talking with teammate Tyler Self on the bench prior to a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at the Horejsi Center.

Kansas guard Conner Frankamp smiles while talking with teammate Tyler Self on the bench prior to a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at the Horejsi Center.


Last December, after one of his amazing shooting displays, Wichita North senior/future Kansas University combo guard Conner Frankamp heard himself glowingly referred to as, “The White Mamba.”

Conner Frankamp says he made 400 of 410 shots on his best day

Kansas freshman Conner Frankamp says he made 400 of 410 shots on his best shooting workout day with his father, Marty. Frankamp talked to reporters on Monday, June 17, 2013. File video, shot by Nick Krug, is from a <a href="">Frankamp shooting workout in September of 2012</a>.

“Some reporter on the news said something about it. It kind of went on from there. Everybody picked it up from there,” said Frankamp, a deadly shooter who doesn’t mind being nicknamed after one of the world’s most venomous snakes.

“It’s all right,” he added of the moniker, “because I like Kobe (Bryant) a lot and he’s the ‘Black Mamba.’ It works out pretty well.”

If anybody in Kansas deserves a ‘Mamba’ moniker it has to be the 6-foot, 160-pound Frankamp, who, as he proved in last Wednesday’s Bill Self campers game, can strike quickly. He iced four threes in as many tries, at least two from NBA range.

“In high school they played a lot of defense on me, so they had guys on me a lot. I had to learn to shoot from farther distances,” Frankamp said Monday at Self’s camp. “I kind of adapted to that, worked on that and practiced everything, getting used to defense and everything.”

Frankamp’s work ethic showed in his high school feats.

A two-time all-state selection, who was often double teamed, Frankamp averaged 31.1 points, 3.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game his senior season for 20-3 North. He made 93 three-pointers, shot 49.2 percent from three-point range and 91.7 percent from the free-throw line.

Frankamp had 14 games of 31 or more points and five of 40 or more. The all-time leading scorer in Wichita City League history, Frankamp broke the 33-year-old city league single-game scoring mark by potting 52 points as a sophomore against Northwest. In that game, he was 18-of-38 shooting (he made eight threes and was 8-of-8 from the line).

“Probably winning the three-point contest (at 2013 Final Four) in Atlanta,” Frankamp said, asked which of his three-point displays proved most memorable. “That was pretty cool. There were some really good shooters there and everything. I felt there was good competition. I shot pretty well, so that helped.”

Frankamp hit 22 of 25 three-pointers in the final round to defeat current KU teammate Brannen Greene, UCLA’s Bryce Alford, Michigan’s Zak Irvin, Memphis’ Nick King and others at the American Family Insurance three-point championship last April.

“In a competition like that, for sure,” Frankamp said, asked if it was the most accurate he’s ever been.

Frankamp, who despite being leading scorer for USA Basketball’s Under-17 national team that won gold at the FIBA world championships two summers ago, was snubbed by the McDonald’s All-America game committee last spring.’s No. 34-rated player in the Class of 2013 admitted that oversight had him fired up for the competition in Atlanta on ESPN.

“That for sure motivated me a lot. I didn’t get too down on myself about it. I had to keep moving on and work harder,” he said.

His workouts with his rebounder — dad Marty — are legendary in Wichita.

“I’ve made 400 out of 410 (shots) in one workout. That was my best workout ever,” Frankamp said. “We shoot all different types of shots. That includes free throws and everything, too. I’ve had some others pretty close to that. We just (called it a) fairly good shooting day and moved on.”

Now in summer school at KU, Frankamp is working at both shooting guard and point guard as he vies for minutes his freshman season.

“For sure,” he said, asked if he can play on the ball. “I feel I’m a good passer as well. I just try to work on everything. Wherever coach needs me.”

He said he needs to work on ... “defense, lateral quickness and staying in front of quick guards. There are some quick guards in the Big 12 ... defense for sure.”

Like all freshmen, Frankamp figures to benefit from KU’s weight program, directed by Andrea Hudy.

“Last week we had a really tough workout on Monday. Today’s Monday, too. I’m kind of nervous about today. I think it’ll be all right,” Frankamp said with a smile on Monday. “I’ve had some pretty tough workouts with my trainer over the past four years (his dad’s former teammate at Coffeyville Community College, Roy Birch). The one last Monday was probably the toughest I’ve had for my entire life, actually.”

Frankamp, who is roommate of KU transfer Hunter Mickelson, said he’s been impressed with fellow members of his freshman class.

“Wayne Selden is playing really well. He’s so physically strong for such a young kid. Brannen Greene has been playing really well, too, and shooting the ball well,” Frankamp said. “Pretty much everybody has impressed me. Frank Mason is so quick, so fast. He gets to the lane pretty much whenever he wants. It’s nice having him kick it out to me and Brannen for an open shot. He’s helped a lot.”

KU coach Self is certainly happy the Jayhawks beat out Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA, Boston College, Wichita State and others for Frankamp, who committed in July of 2011.

“Hey ... the dude can make shots,” Self said. “That’s one thing we’ve got to free his mind to be able to do that. With USA Basketball, he did everything. He played on the ball, off the ball and was leading scorer on the team that had Jabari Parker (No. 4-ranked player headed to Duke) and guys like that. He’s a good scorer. Other players enjoy playing with him and I absolutely love watching him play. He’s a stud.”

Alexander visit coming: Cliff Alexander, a 6-8, 240-pound senior-to-be from Chicago’s Curie High School, will make an unofficial recruiting visit to KU on Thursday, reports. Kentucky and Michigan State have been believed to be leaders for the No. 5-ranked Alexander.

“No one is on top. I’m open to everybody. I’m open to all of the schools that are recruiting me,” Alexander told, citing a close relationship with KU assistant Jerrance Howard.


justanotherfan 10 months ago

There's no need or reason to question Conner's offensive abilities. He can shoot and handle. He is an ELITE shooter from distance. That will take him far. I think he could go down as one of the all time great three point marksmen in collegiate history. He's just got that shooters ability, like a JJ Redick or Steph Curry.

My questions remain about his defensive abilities. His HS played quite a bit of zone, much of it to let him save his energy for offense, where he represented the majority of their scoring. I can't fault them for that. If you have a guy that's in permanent heat check mode, you do what you can to maximize those opportunities.

He rarely had to guard anyone that was college ball talent outside of AAU - again, I understand that you have to maximize the fact that you have a truly gifted shooter on your hands. But my question is how he will handle guarding bigger and stronger guys in college, particularly if he ends up playing off the ball to maximize his shooting skills? This is especially a concern for a guy that is slightly built. It's not like Conner is built like Michael Lee. I think his quickness will help him here, but still worry that he could get bullied by bigger guys.

I'm especially curious because there's a good chance he will spend most of his career playing with similarly sized guys (Naadir, Frank) and someone has to guard the opposing 2 guard. Frank is so small that i doubt he can handle 2 guards at the college level and we saw last year what bigger guys were able to do to Naadir. If Conner can't guard bigger guys, I don't know how you can play more than 2 of those three for any kind of minutes because you won't be able to play them together. That doesn't mean Conner will be the odd many out (Frank probably is this year), but it does make things interesting going forward.


Jayhawk1410 10 months ago

Once he gets stronger he will be by far one of the best 3-point specialist KU has ever had. IMO Kirk was the best of them all.

Does anyone have a clue about a starting lineup? I know Self will mix it up until he gets a good group of guys. I'm so excited for this year, so much potential. This should be a better freshman class then Chalmers, Rush, Wright.


Randy Bombardier 10 months ago

Man this is going to be a great year. Who do you start? Great problem to have. I am looking forward to some great shooting and with Wiggins some great acrobatics on his way to the rim.


Ralster Jayhawk 10 months ago

If Conner Frankamp can hit 400 out of 410 on a good day, then he just might be better than Ali Farokmanesh...Possibly better than Keiton "Piggy" Page also...


RCJHTOTHEGRAVE 10 months ago

I think Naadir will be a great leader. Remember that shot against ok st? That was clutch. I expect him to step up. I'm just happy this year well have an actual point guard.


Lash 10 months ago

Before Conner is through no one will remember Boschee.......


PhogPhanatic20 10 months ago

I hope Conner goes with the shaved head look by his Sophomore year. That hair is beginning to look ridiculous. Plus, he IS the next Jeff Boschee for us.


Michael Luby 10 months ago

KU should start selling tickets to the pick up games for like $15 a game. AFH would be sold out in record numbers and KU would make more $$$.


ku_foaf 10 months ago

I think his age will be questioned more than any player since Greg Oden.

We all know he will not take the number of shots he did in HS. An amazing shooter. He does look fast, too. But as noted here, no defense, no real playing time. I am not saying that he cannot defend, I have no idea yet.

Maybe more hype, but he looks like a better shooter than Heinrich, Vaughn or Hawkins initially. Hard not to find it exciting.


Tony Bandle 10 months ago

Not unlike BigManU, maybe I'll change my ID to DeadEyeU!! :)

I am betting that there is none of us who could make 400 out of 410 layups standing two feet from the basket!!

Heck, I'm not sure I could make 400 out 410 dunks if I was standing on a ladder next to the hoop!!!!!


Steve Gantz 10 months ago

Connor's got to be the leader in most anticipated Jayhawk ever. It seems as if we've been reading about this kid since the Roy Williams era, didn't Roy offer him in Kindergarten? It sure will be a letdown if he just turns out to be another good 3 shooter like Reed, and not much else.


nuleafjhawk 10 months ago

400 out of 410?

Well Conner, a little bit of hard work and you should be able to bring those numbers up.


ParisHawk 10 months ago

Of all the players, Conner is the one most likely to play less than I want him to. Is that a compliment or not?

I guess that means his offensive talent makes my mouth water, but can he step up to D1 level defense?

I like Selden as much, but I'm much more confident about his PT.

Too much talent, too many players to like, too much growing up to do too fast, not enough PT!

Why can't all problems be like this?


fearthephog512 10 months ago

The dude made 1 out of every two shots in his ENTIRE senior year, of which he was mostly doubled teamed. Good grief, Charlie Brown, that's impressive.


bhol 10 months ago

Thank you chicagojayhawkism. We got to nip this in the bud now. There can be only one White Mamba -- SCAL!!!


Andrew Horigan 10 months ago

I'm so ready to see these kids on the court. This season is going to be nuts. Also, unfortunately Brian Scalabrine (You guys remember the big white dude on the Celtics and the Bulls a few seasons ago that looked like he had no business on the court) was already given the "white mamba" nickname, but hopefully Frankamp will be more deserving of it.


CaramelMacchMan 10 months ago

Man oh man! I can not wait for this season.


Alex Resnik 10 months ago

Self has assembled the kind of talent around Tharpe that he needs. He should only average around 9 pts a game next year. This is why Self got Tharpe so he can be a facilitator. I am very excited to see how he responds!! Should be positive!


NebraskaJayhawk 10 months ago

A lot of people are comparing his game to Jimmer Fredette. Wouldn't that be something..


Brett McCabe 10 months ago

What I like about the class is that we have the potential, if needed, to play bombs away with Freddy Up North. The ISU games were tough last year - having some scorers could help. Though they are freshmen, I'm confident that Bill will find a way.


bennybob 10 months ago

This year is most likely going to feature alot of ball screen and perimeter action to put Wiggins in positions to utulize his natural ability. that being said, I'm actually more looking forward to the '14-15 season because I can see Self finally having the peices to go back to his bread and butter Hi-Lo system that won us the national championship.

The problem we've had the last few seasons is that a defense could pack the lane to counter the Hi-Lo without worrying much about the shooters they were leaving open on the perimeter. EJ and Releford were great, but between Frankamp, Greene, and White, we're now going to have 3 guards in our rotation who all can realistically shoot 40% from behind the arc. Defenses aren't going to be able to leave the perimeter to help inside.

Perry Ellis + Joel Embiid with no help defense inside or 40% 3 point shooting, pick your poison. That's going to be a very potent offense.


KansasComet 10 months ago

It will be hard keeping this young man on the bench this season. He can flat out play. He is one of a kind. He is not a Tyrel Reed type or a Kirk Hinrich type. No disrespect to any guards that we have had in the past. He has his own style. Those that have not seen this young man play, get ready for a treat. This is one loaded KU team. The great thing is we have other great shooters on this team as well. Imagine if Conner Frankamp gets going, Andrew White III gets going and Brannen Green gets going, all at the same time. What an impressive run that could be. We could go up 20 or comeback from double digits in no time. I am not predicting championships, because those combine luck and skill. We do have a chance to be really special on the inside and from the outside.


Matt Stephan 10 months ago

The next few years may be some of KU's best 3 point shooting years in a while. Frankamp, Greene, Selden are all outstanding shooters. Andrew White was already a good 3 point shooter. I am sure that Andrew Wiggins can drain some 3s too. I think that is an edge that we will have against other teams.


marsbars 10 months ago

I wonder if some of his teammates could make 400 of 410 layups.


Jerry Rockhold 10 months ago

I took my younger son to watch Frankamp play in an AAU tourney in KC his junior year. At 1st glance, he's a very unlikely looking ball player at around 6' 160. However, his handle was very good, had good hops & can dunk, and shot the ball well against very good AAU players. He has a very high BBQ & can not only shoot, but can get his own shot as well. He's a winner & a gamer & a true gym rat/coach's son. After the game, we talked to him & did our small part to welcome him to Jayhawk Nation. He took a couple of minutes to talk to my son & seemed like a very good, very unaffected kid. There were big-time coaches in the bleachers a few feet away, Bill Self, Coach K, Huggins, to name a few & he was focusing on talking to my son. Pretty impressive & cool for a 17yr. old.

No one can accurately predict exactly how his skills will transfer/translate to D-1 level, but he's played with & against the best in AAU & International ball & to this point has done well.

Welcome to the tradition that is KU basketball, Conner. RCJ, GO KU!!!


JayDocMD 10 months ago

It seems Jerrance is paying early dividends. Not sure Cliff Alexander pays us a visit without Mr. Howard in his ear.


Matt Spitzli 10 months ago

"“Last week we had a really tough workout on Monday. Today’s Monday, too. I’m kind of nervous about today. I think it’ll be all right,” Frankamp said with a smile on Monday."

Thanks for clarifying that he said it on Monday. His being able to keep the days of the week straight is a good sign.


jhox 10 months ago

I thought I could shoot pretty well back in the day, when working out. But 400 out of 410...that's just freakin' insane.


KemDooKU 10 months ago

No worries on the hair - $35,000 and today's transplant technology he will have most of his hair back on top in no time - well 2 or 3 years max. -yes I know a little about it.


jaybate 10 months ago

If Self keeps landing 40% trey shootists like Conner, Greene, and White, plus recent dead eyes like Ben, Travis, Xavier, Tyrel, Brady, Sherron, Chalmers and Brandon, BIGMANU may have to change his alias to MAKESHOTU!

Really, it's been a stunning run of shootists.

Self's formula increasingly seems:

(Efficient bigs + great shootists + get-to-the-rim game) x DEFENSE^3 = .84 W&L


jaybate 10 months ago

• Conner has amazed me with his recovery from his ankle Fracture; that's often a tough recovery and he worked through it like it was nothing!

• Self calling a freshman a stud is something too!

• Sliding at D1 speed appears Conner's get better path. Tyrel Reed, how about working with Conner. You mastered it.

• Conner, like Travis Releford before him, is one of those guys that make Self feel younger about his own hair issues. :-)

• Conner's glow on Mason's get-in-the-paint speed encourages me about Mason.

• Embiid Skills redux---yesterday JayHawkFanToo took issue with my remark that Self's quotes perhaps suggested Embiid might be farther along on skills than all KU bigs but Ellis. His was fair questioning. HEM responded he had noticed a lot of skills in Embiid videos as far back as last season, which I then recalled him noting back then. My only add here is to look at the skills Self referred to and ask: which bigs other than Ellis already possess all these skills?

Self's quoted: “From a raw skill set, he’s big, long, quick, athletic, can move his feet, he can shoot over both shoulders, jump hook, things like that. It’s unbelievable for a guy playing three years to have that skill set.” He also is a decent FT shooter, if I recall correctly.

Last season, Jamari lacked the jump hook and shooting over both shoulders. Landon seemed a.bit slow footed and lacked quickness.. Justin lacks the shooting. No one talks about Tarik being able to jump hook.

There are other big man skills like drop step, arm hooking, hedge defense, holding spots, screening, rebounding, and passing. Self says Embiid needs to get better and so we can infer he means these things. But all of KU's bigs need to get better at those things and they are not footers.

I'm not knocking our other bigs. I am just saying they too are early in development, excepting Tarik, who I don't know much about, and Justin, who seems unable to harness his athleticism so far.


Jay Dogger 10 months ago

As far as recruiting goes, with the amount of young talent we have I have very low expectations regarding us landing top recruits next year. Maybe we should get a true project guy who wants to red shirt his freshman year.

An elite, tall PG would be nice but he would be behind Senior Tharpe for a year and competing with sophomores Mason and Frankamp. I'm not complaining, just saying how I see it.


Jay Dogger 10 months ago

Can't wait to see him play.

On the video his elevation looked horrible, but I got a feeling that was just the shooting equivalent of a warm up. He's been double teamed for quite a while so he knows how to fight to get shots off.

Saying he needs to work on D and quickness makes him sound honest.

It will being interesting to see how he fits in competing with Mason for back-up PG time and with the others for SG minutes.


MinnesotaJay 10 months ago

400 out of 410? 22 out of 25? Good grief! I guess I don't know much, but it seems like the winning strategy would be to get him open, then get him the ball. Your team is four offensive rebounders (just in case) and Frankamp. Absent turnovers, you should average around 2.7 points per possession!


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