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.


Jay Waxse 6 months, 3 weeks ago

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


mikehawk 6 months, 3 weeks ago

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


Waylon Cook 6 months, 3 weeks ago

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


DDDHawk 6 months, 3 weeks 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.


Wis Hawk 6 months, 3 weeks ago

"Long, young cats" just doesn't sound right for the Kansas Jayhawks no matter how you say it. A different shade of blue or purple? :(


Jonathan Allison 6 months, 3 weeks 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.


jaybate 6 months, 3 weeks 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 6 months, 3 weeks ago

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


iamakufan 6 months, 3 weeks 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.


Cameron Cederlind 6 months, 3 weeks ago

"the sharp-shooting White."

I still need to see this . . .


Michael Luby 6 months, 3 weeks ago

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


Jim Roth 6 months, 3 weeks ago

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


wrwlumpy 6 months, 3 weeks 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.


Adam Collins 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Will KUSports be providing video highlights afterwards?


jaybate 6 months, 3 weeks 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.


Commenting has been disabled for this item.