Friday, October 4, 2013


Opinion: KU freshmen vs. vets could spice up Late Night


Late Night in the Phog. The Kansas University basketball players have a blast. The crowd loves catching a first live glimpse of newcomers punishing the rims with monster dunks, this year more than ever. The recruits in house will be treated to quite a show, in the stands and on the floor.

And then the scrimmage portion of the evening arrives and just one thing is missing: Few in attendance have a rooting interest and the scoreboard doesn’t really matter.

Since Late Night is all about having fun, here’s a suggestion on how to make the night even more entertaining this year: Put the six freshmen and three of walk-ons on the red team and let the veterans play on the other. See if the younger, more talented squad can take it to the veterans, who generally have a better idea of just how hard and physical you must compete on every possession to win against elite competition.

Red roster, in alphabetical order, scholarship players listed first: Joel Embiid, Conner Frankamp, Brannen Greene, Frank Mason, Wayne Selden, Andrew Wiggins. Walk-ons: Christian Garrett, Evan Manning, and Tyler Self.

Blue roster: Tarik Black, Perry Ellis, Landen Lucas, (Arkansas transfer) Hunter Mickelson, Naadir Tharpe, Jamari Traylor and Andrew White III. Walk-ons: Justin Wesley and Niko Roberts.

The roster split isn’t perfectly balanced because the blue squad is top-heavy with big men with Tharpe and Roberts the only guards. Four players — Tharpe, Mason, Frankamp and Selden — could handle the point and three of them are on the red roster. Still, it would make for an entertaining contest.

The matchups:

Mason vs. Tharpe: The harder and better Mason plays every day in practice the more Tharpe will push himself to improve. At this point in their careers, Tharpe has a better feel for how to play surrounded by four other fast, talented players and he’s a better shooter than Mason.

Advantage: Tharpe.

Selden vs. White: Selden is quicker, stronger and a better ballhandler than the sharp-shooting White.

Advantage: Selden.

Greene vs. Ellis: Greene would be the prize recruit for most Div. I schools, but gets lost in the hype surrounding others here. He’s smooth, quick, can drive to the hoop and has a killer jumper. Don’t be surprised if Ellis has become noticeably better since the end of last season, when he really came on strong. Ellis is a candidate to lead the team in scoring.

Advantage: Ellis.

Wiggins vs. Traylor: Wiggins is too quick to be checked by a post player, too big for a guard to handle, but if anybody has the bulk and athleticism to make him work hard for his points, Traylor’s the man. Traylor doesn’t bring much offensively, but has an explosive energy that will earn him minutes.

Advantage: Wiggins.

Embiid vs. Black: A 7-footer form Cameroon who took up basketball at the age of 16, Embiid is a graceful athlete who learned basketball skills naturally. But Black, a Memphis transfer in his senior year, is so strong, so savvy.

Advantage: Black.

The benches: Conner Frankamp’s ultra-soft jumper and ball-handling ability brings more flexibility to the red team than inside subs Lucas, Mickelson and Wesley.

Advantage: Red.

Regardless of how Self splits the squads tonight, the scrimmage will have no shortage of sweet shooters (Frankamp, Greene, White, Selden, Wiggins) and loud dunkers (Wiggins, Selden, Ellis, Traylor, Embiid, Wesley, Black and the 5-foot-11 Mason).

And in the end, that’s what Late Night is really all about — players putting on a high-octane basketball show loaded with hot three-point shooters and high-flying dunkers in hopes that the show will entice the high school superstars of today into becoming the Late Night players of tomorrow.


jaybate 8 years, 2 months ago

Dear Keegs,

Good idea!

Let's also pit tall against small, smart against stupid, Protestants against Catholics and Caucasian-Americans vs. African-Americans.

Let's use Late Night to try to undo in one night what Boot Camp did in a week.


Seriously, there is going to be enough green wood playing ahead of vets without calling stark attention to it.

Brett Fuller 8 years, 2 months ago

Actually if you will recall Larry Brown used to play "Celtics" vs "Lakers" and it was racially humorous.

Michael Luby 8 years, 2 months ago

Jaybate, is that really you, or is it pseudo you? Im suspicious. Anyways, don't scare poor TK away before the season starts! Now we'll never get to see hawk to rock posts.

NotWiller 8 years, 2 months ago

i'm just sorry i didn't log on earlier to make 'Bate's comment first. I can't think of a better strategy for building unproductive competition on this team. At individual positions, there's probably a fair bit of this happening in closed practices, but putting both individual and group reputation on the line in public this early, there's only downside. Cooperation, cohesion, teaching/learning....none of these are facilitated w/ this idea.

On the contrary, we might be able to infer the actual dynamic that's going on b/w the frosh and the others based on the scrimmage line-ups. If BS does go frosh v. others, then it might suggest that all the "we get along great" talk lately is legit. But i wouldn't take the inference too far, either.

Adam Collins 8 years, 2 months ago

Will KUSports be providing video highlights afterwards?

wrwlumpy 8 years, 2 months ago

Yes, please, for those of us that had their TWC bill double when the promo year ran out and switched to DTV, please give us video of the scrimmage and the skits. Who knew that a cable war in the Midwest could be won by a Jayhawk fan that works in TWC marketing, suggesting they could increase sales by exclusively featuring KU with 1 hour shows before each game and 1 hour of interviews after. All KU fans around the US that have TWC can now watch every game on a TV instead of their computer. I would still rather have DTV than the Wal-Mart approach to cable.

clevelandjayhawker 8 years, 2 months ago

I toolove Directv, but the ability to watch late night and the other 4 games is reason enough for me to want to switch to time warner....that or I will just have to breakdown and buy the online viewing.

I hope this isnt an issue in future years.

Jim Roth 8 years, 2 months ago

If they count fouls at Late Night, I think Traylor would foul out against Wiggins pretty quickly.

Michael Luby 8 years, 2 months ago

lets see if these clowns are going to ignore hoops til mid way thru the non conf schedule this year.

Cameron Cederlind 8 years, 2 months ago

"the sharp-shooting White."

I still need to see this . . .

Steve Reigle 8 years, 2 months ago

It would be really cool if during Late Nite the entire football team filed out of the tunnel and onto the floor for a wave to the crowd and applause from the crowd. There would not be time to introduce each player but just having them walk through that tunnel onto the floor to stand by the basketball players would be amazing.Terrific show of solidarity that would be.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 2 months ago

Hmmm .. Keegan projected Mason as the starter a few months ago, and now says "Advantage: Tharpe." Curious to say the least.

jaybate 8 years, 2 months ago


Someone said Mason is weak from three, and having trouble making reads; this makes sense to me. This is why board rats always need to discount the optimism on most freshman. Tharpe took two years to shape up. Mason probably will too. Frankly, I'm jazzed about this, because it means either CF will be getting some time at the point, or Selden/Wiggins will. CF at the point would stretch things nicely for the wings. Though I haven't seen enough of Selden to say, I would like it if he turned out to be a capable, long point guard back up for 10-20 mpg. This would be the crack in the door that Andrew White needs at the 2. A quintet of long cats could go along way, as Kentucky proved a couple years ago. A quintet of long, young cats could go along way, as Kentucky proved a couple years ago.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 2 months ago

Agree completely on freshman optimism .. and that is even a bit more true with our less than freshman friendly coach. He's just a bit more friendly to the ones that "get" what he wants done.

I do think some forget that a comparably ranked player (Tharpe) had trouble functioning on the court his freshman season. Playing D-I point guard is a big responsibility. It's not just dribbling under pressure and creating, but it's also delivering that first pass to start the offense when defenders are denying the ball .. real D-I quality defenders.

Just guessing, but Self may only need 8 minutes per game from an alternative point guard. If Selden could serve an "emergency" role as Self stated, I'm doubting Selden is that guy. That would be pretty cool if he could. But I'm not writing off Mason here; really, the opposite. I have not heard CF and "point guard" in the same sentence from Self. We had CF in the bag last fall and Self was saying we need to add a "point guard." If Mason is the only guy capable of those 8 minutes, he could be one of those semi-rotation guys. But we'll see.

Ideally, as you imply, if CF can do it, and he can be a rotation guy off the ball too, then you wouldn't have to play Mason if he's not ready. And you'd have that stud shooter. But there's two "ifs" there.

One thing is for sure .. there has to be another reliable ball handler at the point besides Tharpe. Tharpe can't play 40 per game.

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 2 months ago

"A quintet of long, young cats could go along way, as Kentucky proved a couple years ago."

As if we didn't all know exactly what you were referring to the first time you said it.

Beate Williams 8 years, 2 months ago

The way that is written and the conclusions reached simply do not sound like Jaybate to me. I could be wrong but that just does not sound like Jaybate.

DDDHawk 8 years, 2 months ago

Does anyone know if Late Night will be on any TV station other than ESPN 3? I have Cox, and am in Wichita. Thanks.

Waylon Cook 8 years, 2 months ago

Keegan I know you don't make much money. But I do know this. Its too much.

mikehawk 8 years, 2 months ago

Tonight for show. From here on for dough (figuratively).

Jay Waxse 8 years, 2 months ago

Anyone have a link or know where I can watch this if I don't have ESPN3??

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