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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Keegan

Column: Mason, Graham play well together

Kansas guard Devonte Graham defends against Frank Mason during practice on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 at the HP Fieldhouse in Kissimmee, Florida.

Kansas guard Devonte Graham defends against Frank Mason during practice on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 at the HP Fieldhouse in Kissimmee, Florida.

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Frank Mason checked back in, and Devonté Graham stayed on the floor with 11:52 remaining and the score tied in a game with Florida that Kansas University won Friday night, 71-65.

The game changed.

The comeback from a deficit that grew as large as 18 points already was well underway, the deficit trimmed to 10 points, but with two small guards on the floor together, the momentum shifted to another speed. Mason and Graham attacked, putting Florida defenders in retreat mode. The duo also changed the game at the other end, applying defensive pressure that made it tougher for the Gators to hang onto the ball and get into their offensive flow.

By the time Mason sprained his ankle and limped off the court, KU had tied the score with 5:46 left. In that span of 6:06, the Jayhawks had outscored Florida, 15-5. Mason had two steals during the stretch, the smooth-passing Graham one.

“Those guys need to play together some, there’s no question about that,” Self said during his Monday news conference. “We put so much pressure on the defense when those guys were in there together, as opposed to when just one of them was in the game.”

Mason returned for the final three minutes, and Graham stayed out there with him. Graham contributed nine points, three assists and three steals in 13 second-half minutes.

“It’s a confidence booster, knowing that coach trusts me through a stretch like that,” Graham said afterward. “The whole team and coaching staff have confidence in me, so I’m not really low on confidence, but it’s a good confidence-booster being in there at the end of the game like that.”

Next up for Graham, Cliff Alexander, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Kelly Oubre is their first true road game, at 6 p.m. today vs. Georgetown.

Mason’s activity has been limited by the ankle injury, but he practiced Tuesday and is set to play.

Georgetown’s guards are much bigger than Florida’s, so Self might not want to play Graham and Mason together as much. Then again, depending on how things go, he might want to speed things up or pester Georgetown’s guards by making them battle quickness.

Mason, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, is from Petersburg, Virginia, roughly a two-hour drive from Verizon Center. The 6-2 Graham is from Raleigh, North Carolina, twice as long a drive. If Self does play them together, it won’t be for the friends and family in the stands. The long (David Padgett) and the short (Conner Frankamp) of it is that Self doesn’t coach to satisfy parents. He coaches to win games.

Comments

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

Best two PG's guards we have had since the 2008 team. We are going to have 3 great years with these two young men. Game changers is a great description of those two when they enter the game.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 11 months ago

I'm not sure I agree. I think both have a ways to go to surpass Tyshawn Taylor. Taylor helped lead us to the 2012 championship game where we acquitted ourselves well despite losing to a very talented Kentucky team.

Of course that was a senior PG and both Mason and Graham have the time and maybe the talent to change my mind.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

Taylor made freshman mistakes when he was a senior :) These two guys seem so much more promising this early in their careers than anyone we have had since 2008 NC.

To me that 2012 run was as much come from behind finishes fueled by EJ more than TT's play really. Purdue, NCS and OSU in the final four EJ just went off. Without EJ closing out we lose those games and never get to the KY game (we were never in and never got closer than 5 in that game). Which is why EJ's senior year was so hard to watch.

Mike Riches 6 years, 11 months ago

“It’s a confidence booster, knowing that coach trusts me through a stretch like that.” 

To me, one of the most impressive of Graham's stats Friday, was his 9-10 FT, many of which came in the closing minutes. His ball handling against Florida's press was really good as well. Those are the kinds of things that earn trust from the coaches as well as the other players!

Matt Friedeman 6 years, 11 months ago

"The long (David Padgett) and the short (Conner Frankamp) of it is that Self doesn’t coach to satisfy parents. He coaches to win games."

Cold. Cold as ice.

Russ McCaig 6 years, 11 months ago

I had heard that Brady Morningstar's dad told him, in response to Brady saying that he wanted to attend Kansas, "They begin trying to replace you immediately".

Glen Miller 6 years, 11 months ago

I liked it. I don't think a lot of fans understand that Connor probably wanted to stay. From what I've read and heard, his dad was the driving force behind the transfer. I used to coach little league baseball and had to deal with a parent or two like him. It's sad that parents interfere and meddle like that. Oh well, WSU lucked out and we've got an open schollie. Wish him luck, but thought he should have had the guts to make his own decisions for himself.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 11 months ago

I believe Padgett made his own decision. He did not want to play with his back towards the basket and I thought he made that very clear. Self was not expecting Padgett to leave. Conner might be a different story and believe you are most likely correct.

Dick Vitale on Padgett leaving Kansas: http://espn.go.com/dickvitale/vcolumn040419padgetttransfer.html

Michael Leiker 6 years, 11 months ago

Went to the KU game at NU in 2004 (or maybe it was 2005), the one where they blew KU out and Nick Bahe went off for like 25...we ate at Old Chicago the night before and me and my buddies were just railing on Padgett for a couple of hours, then his folks in the next booth stand up and walk out of the place...we felt horrible. Then we laughed.

Elias Dunlavy 6 years, 11 months ago

Im not sure the last bit about satisfying David Padgett & Conner Frankamp parents was necessary

Glen Miller 6 years, 11 months ago

Maybe not, but sometimes the truth hurts. I see no harm in it myself.

Cameron Cederlind 6 years, 11 months ago

"Frank Mason checked back in, and Devonté Graham stayed on the floor with 11:52 remaining and the score tied"

"By the time Mason sprained his ankle and limped off the court, KU had tied the score with 5:46 left."

Joseph Bullock 6 years, 11 months ago

Tyshawn Taylor played as well as any PG we have had in a long time, the last of the 2012 season, through the NCAA Tournament!
and it is on Conner, if he isn't man enough to earn his minutes. if he wanted to say, he would have done so, regardless of what his dad said. and it is also true about Padgett. his dads excuse was that he wanted to play somewhere that he could play facing the basket. he actually was the high post, so he played facing the basket, most of the time. him and his dad were piss off because he lost his starting spot at NCAA Tournament time, to Jeff Graves, who played unbelievably great (as he always did when games mattered the most). I can't stand quitters. So get over Conner.

Walter Bridges 6 years, 11 months ago

Why do you think it was his dad's excuse? He committed to play at Kansas under Roy Williams who would not have had him post up nearly as much as HCBS. He honored his commitment despite the change in coaching and had a pretty good freshman season on an elite eight team.

If he had stayed, he would've been part of a really good nucleus including Wayne Simien, Aaron Miles and Keith Langford plus new recruits Russell Robinson, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun. He (not his dad) had decided that his best chance in the NBA was worth sitting out a year and leaving a team with a legitimate chance of a national championship.

Unless someone has another source or site that says otherwise, Padgett made his own decision which ultimately proved to be disastrous.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

as posted above Joe --

To me that 2012 run was as much come from behind finishes fueled by EJ more than TT's play really. Taylor did not help with that run, EJ saved those games.

Purdue, NCS and OSU in the final four EJ just went off. Without EJ closing out we lose those games and never get to the KY game (we were never in and never got closer than 5 in that game). Which is why EJ's senior year was so hard to watch.

TT as a senior is no better than then Graham or Mason right now. Just more experienced.

Robert Brock 6 years, 11 months ago

The good news is that one of them is a point guard. I don't know what position Frank Mason plays. TBD, I guess.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

With MI in big time trouble right now, I expect they will up their interest in Jaylen Brown even more than it already was. Regardless how many scholarships they have to offer, which is zero.

Just what we need with the few remaining recruits who actually visited our campus. He might be heading to KY or somewhere else but the vise keeps tightening as the days slip by and hold out for the few recruits left.

Mick Allen 6 years, 11 months ago

Robert, do you think Mason has played well? If so what position has he been playing? Although HCBS has said on occasion that Mason came to us as a scoring guard or a 2, unlike you,HCBS seems to think he has made the transition to point quite well or he wouldn't continue to run him out there as our starting point guard every day. No offense to you, but if Self thinks he is a point guard I am going to value his opinion more than I value yours. Also Walter, while I agree with your contention that neither Mason nor Graham have risen to the level of Taylor's point guard play his senior year, remember Taylor was the most criticized player on the squad his freshman, sophomore and junior years. Mason is a sophomore and Graham a freshman. Plenty of time for both to elevate their game.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

I agree Mick on Mason. I will take Mason and Graham's solid play though over Traylor. They will only get better with experience and more vocal which will make us a very tough team the next few years. Taylor was bad or Great game to game to me his senior year.

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