Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Opinion: Bill Self’s best choice? No redshirts

Kansas head coach Bill Self has words with freshman guard Frank Mason during the second half of an exhibition game on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self has words with freshman guard Frank Mason during the second half of an exhibition game on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 97-57 exhibition victory over Pitt State on Oct. 29, 2013.

Download podcast

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Perry Ellis, Andrew White III, Naadir Tharpe

Kansas' Perry Ellis, Andrew White III and Naadir Tharpe talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 97-57 exhibition victory over Pitt State on Oct. 29, 2013.

Download podcast

Box score

KU-Pitt State

One of the more enjoyable guessing games to follow this college basketball preseason, here in the middle of the college football season, has centered on which player or players will sit out the year as a redshirt.

Here’s a guess you don’t often hear, but could be the best idea of all: nobody.

Andrew White III appeared the smartest guess before the first practice, but it’s evident he did everything a player can do to improve himself since Michigan bounced Kansas from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16.

White played just 125 minutes as a freshman. His extended stays on the bench did nothing to sour his attitude toward wearing a Kansas uniform. He knew he had to make himself better and that’s what he did. He earned a spot in the season-opening rotation.

So scratch the idea of red-shirting a player in his second season the way Brady Morningstar and Travis Releford did.

That leaves the freshmen as red-shirt candidates. Even if Frank Mason were not starting the season-opener against Louisiana-Monroe because Naadir Tharpe will serve a one-game suspension for playing in a summer game in Chicago, he wouldn’t be a candidate. His point guard play at both ends will be needed to back up Tharpe.

That leaves Conner Frankamp and Brannen Greene. Greene’s too talented, even if he doesn’t yet play the sort of defense that will get him serious playing time. He’s the sort of sniper who could come in off the bench when the team is going through a drought, score nine points in three minutes and turn Allen Fieldhouse into a madhouse.

He knows how to keep his head up on offense and if he can train himself to keep his butt down on defense somewhere along the way, he could earn serious minutes. He’ll be more motivated to do so if he’s not asked to sit out the year in hopes of getting a fifth year out of him. What if he’s so good after three years that he bolts for the NBA anyway? Looking back, that one or two games he could have turned from a loss into a victory as a freshman would sting all the more.

Frankamp had a rough night at both ends in Tuesday night’s exhibition opener, a sloppy 97-57 victory against Pittsburg State, the Nebraska of Div. II in that it’s a football school first. Frankamp missed all three of his three-point attempts and committed three fouls. In high school, there was no such thing as a bad shot for Frankamp, a terrific sniper. It’s not unusual for a player with his background to get worse before he becomes better as he learns that a guarded three from the right corner is a bad shot and then wonders if a good shot also is a bad one.

If Frankamp is open to red-shirting, Kansas shouldn’t have any trouble getting past Louisiana Monroe without him backing up Mason, but if he would rather take a shot at improving enough to crack the rotation, no harm in that.


Ben Schwartz 7 years, 11 months ago

The redshirt question has always been Frankamp vs Greene IMO. They are both off-the-bench shooters and we probably don't need both of them this year.

AWIII is our Kevin Young in a different position this year. Even before Self basically confirmed it, the off-season hype pointed to him being the hard-working motor guy that brings energy off the bench. AWIII is a perfect 6th man on this team.

IMO Joel would be the best redshirt candidate because of how new he is to the entire game of basketball, but it is obvious he is too athletically gifted and the buzz of possibly being a first round draft pick squashes that idea.

I was leaning Greene before the game tonight, but I no longer think he redshirts... too valuable off the bench. Frankamp would be my least surprising choice now, but I'm not really sure how much a redshirt season would really benefit him. His game is the three point shot, and he is going to get better by simply shooting during games. Taking a season away from game-time shots could potentially just add rust. He does need to learn the system and can possibly make an impact from point, so there are a few reasons to redshirt.

John Fitzgerald 7 years, 11 months ago

Interesting that you say Embiid would be the best candidate for a redshirt. He has potential to start this year and I'd has the MOST to gain from playing. If anyone redshirts it has to be Frankamp. But I honestly think we should let them all play. Having that depth can be crucial down the stretch especially if injuries occur. Either way it will be a fun year. RCJH!

Bruce Beckum 7 years, 11 months ago

I would just say that while an extra year may not help Conner's shooting, another year of physical maturity could help his all-around game significantly.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 11 months ago

If I were in Frankamp's shoes the redshirt would be a very welcome option. It will allow him to learn the system, gain strength, work on his lateral quickness, etc. His 4th and 5th year would be huge for him and Kansas. However, I'm sure he would like to play with Ellis for a few minutes and this would be his only year to do that. I suspect Ellis will have a big year then head off to the League.

Steve Corder 7 years, 11 months ago

Embiid red shirt? No way.

I believe the red shirt season for a kid takes the edge off in practice. So, I am not a fan of its use. I want the kids in the program to scratch and fight for minutes. I want unintimadated and tough nosed competitors. That's how you get to the next level.

Ben Schwartz 7 years, 11 months ago

'Candidate' was a terrible word choice. Let me clarify: Embiid is definitely too gifted to redshirt, no argument. He will be in the NBA in a couple of years for sure, so the point is moot anyways. I was simply noting he stands the most to gain from additional coaching and practice. The kid is playing almost entirely on genetic gift right now and we are already talking about the NBA... imagine him once he has had time to study the game and get truly comfortable playing. Bad phrasing, sorry.

Jack Jones 7 years, 11 months ago

Too many players not to red shirt at least one, maybe even two. Most often red shirts are given to players who can use an additional year to mature physically, mature in basketball 'knowledge' (especially important if your a Kansas player, and become better players in their remaining college years. I can see little merit (or benefit to the player) in having someone sit, ready to play for 40 minutes every game and just sit

Matthew Goble 7 years, 11 months ago

After the first exhibition game, Frankamp has to be the most likely to redshirt. But I'll say this: I wouldn't be surprised if Greene is the one who ends up sitting out the year. Think of it -- he is a true "wing" player who already has Wiggins, Selden, and White ahead of him. At least Frankamp can play some point if we need him to -- and we might if Mason has a difficult time backing up Tharpe.

These things have a way of working themselves out and Coach Self knows what he is doing. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.

Rock Chalk!

Clarence Haynes 7 years, 11 months ago

What a luxury to have if it is managed well!

Jesse Johnson 7 years, 11 months ago

I agree with Keegan's thesis statement, but he didn't do much to argue that Frankamp shouldn't RS. I like Ben Schwartz's argument that Frankamp's specialty is 3 pt shooting and a RS won't do much to help him get better at that. I think Frankamp is at the point to where he's not going to get any better at shooting 3 pointers in games without playing in games. I would really like to see Self bite bullet and allow himself to rely on his amazingly deep bench and use players like Greene and Frankamp, even if only a combined 15 mins a game to, like Keegan says, help the team get out of a scoring drought. Having those two players available on the bench for that very specific purpose can, I think, make an already really good team even that much better and could be the difference between a W and a L in certain situations.

Casey Osburn 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm against redshirting anyone this season.

But...if we do redshirt someone, it has to be Conner. He looked the most out of his element last night. Body has a long way to go, has a somewhat slow release on his jumper, and defensively has a long way to go like most freshmen.

He is very little or no threat to jump to the pros early, so having him at the age of 22-23 instead of 18-19 is a good trade-off, IMO.

Alex Berger 7 years, 11 months ago

Conner is going to be here for Senior Night no matter what. No reason to have a 4th guard off the bench in his first year when we could have a well-seasoned, well-rounded veteran in his 5th year. He ends up working out to be our 11th or 12th player and Bill is most comfortable in the 7-9 rotation range anyway. If things get messy with injuries or anything else during the season then Self can easily burn the redshirt. This is a no brainer to me.

Gary McCullough 7 years, 11 months ago

From another LJW story about the Pitt State exhibition game:

Pitt State guard Jake Bullard, who played a team-high 34 minutes, said KU's never-ending bench played a big part in the run.

“They've got a lot of depth,” Bullard said. “They're bringing guys in and out and it was tough playing against a fresh guy every four minutes.”

We can run the legs off anyone in the nation with a bench this deep and talented. In two weeks we go against Duke. They love to take charges. With the new rules changes, we can put them in a hurt locker by throwing waves of talent at them.

Bruce Beckum 7 years, 11 months ago

He knows how to keep his head up on offense and if he can train himself to keep his butt down on defense somewhere along the way, he could earn serious minutes.

Great sentence, Mr. Keegan!

Brian Conrad 7 years, 11 months ago

will have same question next year if Okafor and Jones sign with KU. win over Duke could seal the deal !

Commenting has been disabled for this item.