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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bill Self enthused by Frank Mason’s defense vs. Bears

Oklahoma State forward Le'Bryan Nash loses the ball before Kansas defenders Frank Mason (0) and Wayne Selden on the final possession as time expires during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Oklahoma State forward Le'Bryan Nash loses the ball before Kansas defenders Frank Mason (0) and Wayne Selden on the final possession as time expires during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Frank Mason certainly gave Kansas University’s basketball team an offensive boost off the bench in Monday’s 78-68 victory over Baylor.

The 5-foot-11 freshman’s nine points off 4-of-5 shooting and six assists against one turnover helped the Jayhawks ultimately conquer the Bears’ zone defense. Yet it was the backup point guard’s ‘D’ that had Kansas coach Bill Self beaming in the wake of KU’s fifth conference victory in five tries.

“I thought Frank did an unbelievable job guarding Heslip. He didn’t score on Frank. He was able to make six threes on everybody else off our screwups,” Self said, referring to BU’s Brady Heslip, who scored 19 points off 6-of-9 three-point shooting in 31 minutes.

“Frank did a great job, or he (Heslip) could really have had a big game,” Self added on his weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show.

Mason asked Self if he could take a turn defensively on Heslip, who burned KU for four threes in four tries the first half. Heslip hit two of five threes the second half.

“That’s not something I’m used to seeing,” Mason said after the game, referring to a long-range bomber like Heslip. “I told coach I wanted to guard him ... (that) he wouldn’t get open shots on me. Any shot he made would be contested or a hard shot.”

That attitude showed during the times Mason did shadow the 6-foot-2 Heslip.

“Frank was way tuned up defensively,” Self said. “He refused to be screened. Some others run into a screen and do not get through it, do not compete. Those are losing plays. Frank only knows one speed, which is good. He’s a competitive guy.”

Mason has already had an eventful season.

“Stop and think about it ... he goes from playing great against Duke (15 points on Nov. 12) and basically played better than Naadir (Tharpe) and started (in Colorado and Florida losses, Dec. 7 and 10). Now he’s been our first perimeter guy off the bench. He has impacted the game,” Self said.

“When ‘Naa’ is playing well and others are playing well, he has not played as much. When he gets in there and I do play him, it seems to me it’s very positive in what he gives us because he’s a competitive little guy.”

Mason was involved in some big plays during the final seconds of KU’s 80-78 victory over Oklahoma State last Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.

First, he missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw situation with 23.1 seconds left and KU up, 79-75. OSU’s Phil Forte (23 points, 7-for-10 from three) drained a three at 5.7 seconds left to slice the gap to 79-78.

Fouled with 5.4 seconds remaining, Mason hit the front end of a one-and-one, then missed the second free throw, and KU led by just two, 80-78, with OSU charging down-court for a final shot.

Mason was able to get a hand on the ball as Le’Bryan Nash (10 points, 5-for-11 shooting) went up to shoot from long range. Nash was able to regroup and launch a shot that would not have counted had it dropped.

“As a freshman shooting those free throws at the end in the fieldhouse, even though we were home, I was very nervous,” Mason said. “Once I missed the second one, I knew I had to make a play. The guy I ended up on (Nash) wasn’t my man. Since it was under 10 seconds, we pretty much can guard anyone. I felt I needed to make a play to make up for those free throws.”

Thing is, if Mason had fouled Nash in the act of shooting, KU ultimately might have lost.

“I had confidence, but I wasn’t thinking at the time. After the game I was like, ‘Dang, I could have fouled him or hit his wrist,’” Mason said. “I made the play and was happy with the results.”

Self has been pleased with the progress of Mason, who played last year at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va.

“Frank is the quickest, most athletic kid (on KU’s team),” Self said. “Wiggs’ (Andrew Wiggins) first step and second jump and everything is a different level. But when you talk about a guy who can get up and down the court or slide or keep a guy in front of him and still pressure, Frank is without question our most athletic kid.”

Self says Mason also has a great personality.

“If you’d poll our guys, they’d say Frank is the funniest guy on the team,” Self said. “Joel (Embiid, freshman center) is pretty funny, too. I’d give the nod to Frank.”

“The guys think I’m funny. They think I’m hilarious,” Mason said. “I think we are very close. The whole team, we do everything together. Even if it’s going out, we all like to move in a big group.”

The Jayhawks (14-4, 5-0) are undefeated in league play heading into Saturday’s 8 p.m. game at TCU because of hard work, Mason said.

“Our bodies are sore. We haven’t gotten that much rest (with five games in 12 days),” he said. “We do a couple practices a day (over break) and shootaround. We are always active.”

Wooden list: Wiggins has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list, the Los Angles Athletic Club announced Wednesday. Players not chosen to the midseason list are still eligible for the final ballot. The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the country’s top 10 players, will be announced the week of the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.

Draft talk: Self was asked on ESPN’s SVP and Russillo show Wednesday how the team is handling talk of Embiid and Wiggins likely being the top two players taken in the 2014 NBA Draft.

“We haven’t handled it at all. They don’t care,” Self said of the duo. “Everybody likes good thing to be said about them ... hey, Joel doesn’t care, and Andrew doesn’t, either. These are really nice, sweet kids, and they are happy when the other does well.

“I know it happened with Kentucky. They had a couple kids go 1 and 2 (Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist). I don’t think they were jealous of each other. I don’t think that would be a terrible thing to go 2. The whole thing is neither one of them might. Who knows if they are top five guys? There’s a lot of ball left, a lot of good players out there, good prospects. Just because people have said some things like that doesn’t mean it to be true.

“A lot of people say, ‘If they are going to go this high, it’s a foregone conclusion they are gone.’ These are things that have never been addressed with us. They are not talking like that. I know the talk was with Wiggs the whole time, but Joel ... trust me, we haven’t not talked to one person about that. He’s not in a hurry to talk about it. Their heads are right now. They have their heart in the right place.”

Comments

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 1 week ago

I knew Self was going to comment about Mason's D, especially after a chance to review the tape. I'm surprised he didn't mention how good he looked on O, drawing the defense and dishing the dimes. Earlier in the season, exept Duke, he was trying to score over the bigs with terrible results. Because of Mason's emergence as a true PG, I doubt is Lyle ends up at Kansas where he'd have a tough time finding PT the next couple of years. OSU is making a run for Lyle and Turner.

I wish Tharpe and Mason had more size to them. Those little guys are always going to be playing uphill when we go against big elite guards. Lyle is a big guard and could hurt us at OSU, especially coupled with Turner.

I can't see Kansas in the running for Turner if Embiid returns. Turner would be like Lyle and find himself on the Kansas bench. I saw Turner play against Winslow's St. Johns and believe getting PT over Embiid, Alexander, Ellis, Traylor or for that matter possibly Lucas would be tough.

I watched Alexander on the HS Showcase (ESPNU). Alexander gives his all but has some serious work ahead of him. He looks to be in terrible shape, relative to elite D1. He gets winded, lacks the muscle definition of our guys, and does alot of standing around flat footed However, he runs the floor hard, goes for blocks, passes great off the block and through double and triple teams, and FINISHES with style.

I also watch Oubre play in the same showcase. He's a great athlete and has a nice stroke but he's all about left. I'm not sure he has a right anything because he never attempted showed it..

Chris Shaw 9 months, 1 week ago

If Embiid returns, there is no reason for Turner to come to KU. If Embiid leaves KU seems to be in good shape with Turner. Easy to have choices when you're "BigManU".

I'm tried of Big combo guards trying to be PG. Times have changed and Self's advantage back in the day has disappeared. Give me the "Little Guy" that is a true point guard that nobody wants. Give me Cedric Hunter and Adonis Jordan all day long.

Brett McCabe 9 months, 1 week ago

Adonis is a good reference in that he and Frank have similar builds and a lot of bulldog in them. I think that Frank could ultimately be a better offensive force than Adonis, and if his D is tenacious, he could end up having a special career at KU.

Longer guards are great when they can slash (like Tyshawn) or splash (from the three). If they can't dominate in one of those two ways, I'd prefer a traditional point guard who can raise a little heck.

Jeremy Paul 9 months, 1 week ago

Man, Cedric Hunter and Adonis Jordan were good, weren't they? On my unofficial list of the greatest point guards at KU since I've been paying attention (I moved to Kansas in 1985) I'd put Jordan #2 and Hunter #3. (No offense to you Aaron Miles lovers--he's #4).

I really think Mason could end up on this list. He is very tough, quick, fearless. He reminds me a lot of Sherron Collins, but in shape. The best thing about him is the fact that this article is even written--his defense at the beginning of the year was horrible, and probably what kept him on the bench. He looked lost on D at the start. But the fact that he's worked hard and improved so much is huge. He could end up being a great one.

Tony Bandle 9 months, 1 week ago

Based on your personal time frame, I assume Sherron is #1...too bad you never saw Jo Jo White....OMG. If the three point line had been invented, he could have led the nation in scoring.

Jeremy Paul 9 months, 1 week ago

If they'd only invented the 3-point line in 1986 instead of 87, I think KU would have won it all that year. Ron Kellogg was the greatest 3-point shooter in the history of there not being a 3-point shot.

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 1 week ago

No doubt at all the original JoJo has been our top guard. Who of us can forget those great teams with JoJo, Walt Wesley, Al Lopes, Roger Bohnenstiehl and others. Of all of the biggest heartbreaking losses, that Texas Western one ranks at the top. Actually there are several at the top of that list.

All Kansas fans should continue to pray for JoJo White's continuing recovery from the procedure to remove a tumor on the back of his brain, Everyone should buy his biography "Make it Count."

Walter Bridges 9 months, 1 week ago

JoJo White just (11/13) put out a book “Make It Count”. Haven't read it yet.

Jonathan Allison 9 months, 1 week ago

Suzi, I agree with you on Alexander. He's gonna get whipped into shape at KU. He puts up some ridiculous stats, but he's not in any condition yet to play at Kansas. That will change when he gets here. If not, he may not survive boot camp! Think about Big Cliff though after he leans up just a little bit. He'll still be big enough to push around 9 out of 10 Big 12 big men, and it will almost certainly help him from an agility standpoint. Remember Darnell Jackson lost a little weight before his senior year and he was a totally different player alfter that in the way that he attacked the rim.

Walter Bridges 9 months, 1 week ago

The Hoop Hall Classic is annually one of the most loaded events of the high school basketball season, and with dozens of coaches, scouts and media in attendance, it's one of the final chances players have to make statements.

And coming out of this past weekend's event, the biggest talking point was about Cliff Alexander. As in, is the Chicago big man the No. 1 player in the country?

After putting up 30 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks to lead Curie (Ill.) to a win over then-No. 1 Montverde Academy (Fla.), he made his case for No. 1 loud and clear.

Not muscular? Lose weight? This guy is cut.

http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/eye-on-college-basketball/24417102/is-cliff-alexander-no-1-in-2014-how-do-other-elites-fit-in-college

GET REAL!

Benz Junque 9 months, 1 week ago

If Embiid returns there is no scholarship available for Turner at this time.

Robert Brock 9 months, 1 week ago

Oubre's offense is fairly ordinary. What Oubre brings is outstanding defense. Quick lateral movement and long arms...

Walter Bridges 9 months, 1 week ago

From the same Tourney as Alexander:

"Kelly Oubre, Kansas (No. 8): He was terrific over the weekend, and continues to rise in the rankings. He can score in different ways, with shooting range and athleticism at the rim. Moreover, he has versatility on the defensive end, which Bill Self can use to his advantage with switches. He could step in for Andrew Wiggins at the three, and will form a tough defensive duo with Wayne Selden."

http://www.masslive.com/hoophallclassic/index.ssf/2014/01/kelly_oubre_jr_highlights_from.html

"Though fellow Kansas commit Cliff Alexander may have been the most dominant performer of the Hoophall Classic weekend, Findlay Prep's Kelly Oubre impressed in the Pilots 73-44 victory over Wesleyan Christian (N.C.) Monday afternoon.

The 6-foot-7 swingman scored 23 points, grabbed four rebounds, had two steals, and also spent some time in the first half cooling off Wesleyan's Theo Pinson, who is committed to North Carolina. Pinson scored his team's first 11 points before Oubre got the assignment and held him to three points while he guarded him for a large portion of the rest of the half."

http://www.masslive.com/hoophallclassic/index.ssf/2014/01/kelly_oubre_jr_highlights_from.html

Oubre, the No. 12 player in the Rivals 150 ranking for the class of 2014, scored a team-high 23 points to lead Findlay Prep to a 73-44 victory over Wesleyan Christian (N.C.). He earned the game’s most outstanding player award, displaying his impressive athletic ability and versatility...

Yup...fairly ordinary.

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 1 week ago

I pointed out that he was all left. He never showed any right to his game. I'm sure it is there but he didn't show it.

Walter Bridges 9 months, 1 week ago

I posted the same video twice...my fault.

Mick Allen 9 months, 1 week ago

"Trying to score over the bigs with terrible results". A little harsh Suzi. While he did force some shots, I'd guess he finished half of his forays to the rim. The more he plays, the more selective he will be as to when to dish and when to finish. He is small but a tremendous athlete. He can dunk from a standing start under the rim. Remember his flush off the lob from Naa? He is a very clever passer. HCBS commented on his excellent defense against Heslip. I think as the season progresses you will see him play more denial defense and jump the passing lanes for steals jump starting our break. Though small he is incredibly strong as HCBS pointed out in describing his ability not to be screened. I do believe he is Sherron lite. His 3 point shooting has improved over the last 3 games. Part of the reason for his early season struggles from the outside was in high school he got by with shooting a hybrid set shot from the arc, something that did not translate to the college game where there is more on ball pressure and longer athletes. He has almost had to reinvent his jump shot. I believe HCBS feels that at some point in his KU career, he could become coach's next Dee Brown. That's probably enough chest beating for Frank for now.

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 1 week ago

It is right to chest beat about Mason. It amazes me how these young men grow their games and maturily so quickly at Kansas. I try hard to mitigate my strong homer instincts to achieve a meager measure of objectivity but it seems Kansas is about as good as it gets in that department.

With regards to Mason, we all saw he had the skill set and mentality to be great. I’m not going to go back over all the game tapes to document his prior poor decisions, as I did against UF. I saw his decisions when drawing the D so bad that I questioned his vision to see plays. It was only against BU that he publicly showed that opinion is now dead wrong. BU is also the first game he showed his ability to D. Quite frankly, pun intended, I was very pleasantly shocked. During our group post game slo-mo, stop & start, game review, everyone said good bye to Lyle and Vaughn. After 2.5 years, why can't Tharpe put in that kind of effort on D?

Mason’s only negative was not hitting the closing FTs, like he did at Duke. However, it showed his toughness to get back on D to make that last play. His ability not to foul, like in the UTEP to me shows his added confidence.

My eyes will be on Mason and Embiid during the TCU game but will never stray far from Wiggins and the others. That 3 game stretch after TCU is another critical run with an ISU home game before two tough away games at UT and BU. The Texas Hawks will be out in force for this TCU, UT and BU stretch.

Tony Bandle 9 months, 1 week ago

"....GROUP POST-GAME SLO-MO, STOP & START, GAME REVIEW..." !!

Christ, I thought I was hard-core...holy moley, Suzi, good work to you and your group. You need to give us all a post game summary of your group's conclusions after each game.

I know..we could call if "Marshall's Law".

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 1 week ago

It can be seen as a bit over the top but we enjoy it. Doing the film review like Self does with the team is therapy for people to relieve their youth experiences with Kansas Basketball.

If Embiid returns, I hope Turner attends SMU.

Walter Bridges 9 months, 1 week ago

Curious..does your vision change from one event to the next? Cliff Alexander was the clear cut winner from the Hoops Classic and all you see is some flat footed overweight out of shape player.

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 1 week ago

Walter, as I stated, he showed alot! I certainly agree Alexander was the clear cut winner!!! The guy plays with passion, runs the court, passes very well, shots well from the line, finishes with style, and makes his teammates better. I don't think his teammates contributed to making Alexander look much better. The big guy ran the court several times without them giving the ball up to him for an easy two. How many times did one of those guards miss some kind of goofy layup attempt when a simple up to Alexander would have resulted in a highlight dunk.

I am more than possitive his conditioning and strenght training will be discussed over the summer and through Boot Camp. Alexander has great strength and when he gets professional training from Huddy....wow.

I'll go with Alexander for the top ranking solely because of the heart he brings with his game. Self, Huddy and Kansas fans are going to love this guy.

Walter Bridges 9 months, 1 week ago

Enjoyed your post but wish we could leave next years freshmen 'till next year. CA is the #4 overall and I can guarantee he will be in great condition after Andrea Hudy and HCBS's boot camp.

I doubt Embiid will be back but is so, I'd rather see us sign a taller true PG than Turner. JaQuan Lyle is good friends w/Cliff but is another shooting guard. Selden, Oubre, Greene, Frankamp...where does he get minutes?

Some video on Oubre..he looks as if he can go to his right to me. http://kansas.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1597948

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 1 week ago

I totally agree because watching our current class develop is a major thrill. I brought up next years class because the Hoops Classic was recently on TV. Repeats are going on now. Also, I've heard alot coming out of Stillwater that they are all over Turner and Lyle.

Bernard Gregory 9 months, 1 week ago

I am glad that Frank is getting the opportunity to showcase his talents and for all that worry about his size, he has been beating the odds a lot. I remember when everybody was worrying about his ranking and predicting he would red shirt and or transfer. This kid loves it at Kansas and I know that once he really gets it then we will really see something special because believe me the kid has the IT factor.

Yonatan Negash 9 months, 1 week ago

2013 - 2014 NCAA Basketball National Champions

Kansas Jayhawks

There I said it.

Chris Shaw 9 months, 1 week ago

I would assume by the Sherron reference later in the post that it's Sherron, but I could be wrong.

Jeremy Paul 9 months, 1 week ago

Sherron was great. So clutch. He's on my short list of my favorite players of all-time. But he also made me slam my head through a wall at times. Kevin Pritchard was pretty great too. In fact, I would have to say that of all the people I pretended that I was while shooting buckets in the driveway, I was Pritchard most of the time.

Chris Shaw 9 months, 1 week ago

Ugh! I am sorry I asked now. :) Jacque Vaughn? Wow! I don't even have Jacque Vaughn in my Top 5 point guards of the Modern Day of Basketball era. You Know Jacque Vaughn is the only Point Guard since 1985 (Expansion of NCAA Tournament) that hasn't taken his Kansas team to a Final 4?

I have Sherron, Cedric Hunter, Adonis Jordan, Aaron Miles, and Kevin Pritchard all above Jacque Vaughn.

Chandler Accipiter 9 months, 1 week ago

I had to log in after a loooong layoff just to thumbs up this! Put RossRob and Tyshawn ahead of Jacque as well. Final 4's, Championship games, and National Championships are the true measure of a team leader such as a point guard.

Jeremy Paul 9 months, 1 week ago

Does that go for a quarterback as well?

Chandler Accipiter 9 months, 1 week ago

No, I don't think you can apply those same standards to a QB. I don't think it even applies to NBA point guards. The college point guard is usually the floor general on both ends of the court and an extension of the coaching staff even when the team has superstar players at some of those other positions.

Mark Lindrud 9 months, 1 week ago

No mention of Russell Robinson? A great leader and distributor who lead our title team with maturity and great poise. Very underrated.

Chris Shaw 9 months, 1 week ago

Russ Rob played great and was a great senior leader, but when you don't play the end of the games...it's kind of hard for me to put him in the same list or category as Sherron Collins. Russ Rob is 3rd all-time in steals and he was a great defensive guy, but when crunch time hit...Russ Rob would be replaced by Sherron down the stretch.

Erich Hartmann 9 months, 1 week ago

At the very end of regulation vs. Memphis, Self had RussRob+Sherron+Chalmers in at the same time. Recall Sherron's steal, he threw it to Chalmer's who promptly drove straight into the trees, forced to handoff to RussRob who was right there next to him, who quickly fed Sherron who was still way in the corner, and Sherron buried the 2nd most important 3ptr in the 2000's for KU...(assisted by RussRob).

I, too, dont think RussRob is getting enough credit here. He was a vital piece to that Champ team, along with the other 7 starter-caliber guys.

Benz Junque 9 months, 1 week ago

That doesn't make him one of the greatest PGs to play at KU. He was a good player on a great team and did what he was good at very well. There are simply other players at the position that were better than him individually.

Ian Emerson 9 months, 1 week ago

Senior year Tyshawn is the best PG in KU history

Ryan Michael 9 months, 1 week ago

TT was excellent his senior year... Best PG in KU history? No way.

Benz Junque 9 months, 1 week ago

Agreed, not even close. He had a good 2nd half of the season, though.

Erich Hartmann 9 months, 1 week ago

How about Sherron + RussRob the best 2 PGs, as they have 1 thing in their possession that they BOTH were vital in earning: a National Champ ring. Russell Robinson is still the standard (A:T ratio) by which Bill Self guards are judged. He is also the defensive standard, along with Rush (& maybe Wiggybaby) for Bill Self guards defensively. I cannot believe people are beginning to forget the utter mayhem RussRob + Chalmers + Rush caused defensively. RussRob + Chalmers + Sherron sold me totally on the big combo guard concept. But you gotta have 2 of them on the floor at all times to keep the danger level high for opponents. That's the difference between EJ alone vs. Michigan compared to the year before when it was EJ + TT --> all the way to the Champ game....

Tony Bandle 9 months, 1 week ago

Next Season;

Back line - Naadir, Frank, Conner, Wayne [I think he stays].

Swing - Kelly, Brannen, AWIII [yes. he'll be here wearing a red shirt].

Front line - Cliff, Jamari, Landon, Perry, Hunter and Jo Jo [ just got a feeling he's gonna give it 2 years - probably just wishful thinking but what the heck!! ].

Not a bad roster, eh!!!

Jonathan Allison 9 months, 1 week ago

If the is the roster then who's the top 5? Who's the first and second big off the bench? Who's the first two smalls off the bench?

Tharpe, Selden, Oubre, Embiid, Ellis Alexander, Traylor, Frank, Green?

Just filling two holes, Wiggins and Black. That is a roster destined for greatness.

Joe Joseph 9 months, 1 week ago

I don't see how that team loses. Ever.

Erich Hartmann 9 months, 1 week ago

That's what KY nation thought this year, how could BigBlueKentucky ever lose a game?

Chandler Accipiter 9 months, 1 week ago

Selden, although at times you could hardly call it guarding. The play where he went 25 feet out of his way around the screen, when Heslip was running the baseline and drained a 3 from the corner was the last straw before he got pulled off him.

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 1 week ago

Selden mostly. Yes Wiggins did shut him down when guarding him, during the critical stretches. However, late in the game when Kansas had a comfortable lead, Wiggins backed off in his customary manor. As a result Heslip burned him. Mason was on him off and on but when he was on him...he stayed on him, never allowing him space to shoot comforably.

Walter Bridges 9 months, 1 week ago

Wiggins didn't back off him, he shut him down, even the announcers commented on it. Self took him off when Mason was back in the game.

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 1 week ago

Wiggins was on him when he hit one with about 2 minutes left in the game and Kansas up by 11. Before that, for most of the second half, Wiggins totally shut him down. We are of one mind on that for sure.

Walter Bridges 9 months, 1 week ago

actually, I agree w/your posts far more often than I don't. Well thought and articulated but posting too many I agrees or plus 1 gets pretty boring.

Paul Meyer 9 months, 1 week ago

Is there a link to the panoramic shot from last Saturday's opening tip Allen Fieldhouse?

Benz Junque 9 months, 1 week ago

Wow, our little corner up in 9A sure is dark!

Yolanda Gay 9 months, 1 week ago

I feel sorry for Lucas. He redshirts and gets little to no playing time. Great hussle when he did play.

People are forgetting about Mickelson (sp?). I would think he'd be good having 1 year under his belt in practice (I think he can practice) going against Embiid, Traylor, Black. Sitting out a year seems to help kids adjust to college.

Mick Allen 9 months, 1 week ago

Hunter has been practicing with the team since practice started. You'll be surprised at his shot blocking ability and he has a nice soft shot with some range. Needs to bulk up and get stronger and Hudy will certainly help him in this regard.

Chris Shaw 9 months, 1 week ago

Why do you feel sorry for Lucas? He's essentially a Freshmen that is now two years in the system. He may not get much time as a redshirt sophomore next year either, but by the time he is a junior and senior at the age of 22 and 23...He's gonna be a force. He's just waiting his turn. Sometimes your success doesn't happen over night.

Walter Bridges 9 months, 1 week ago

I think Chris has it right. Lucas has already shown that he is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team.

He''ll get his shot and I think he will shine.

Benz Junque 9 months, 1 week ago

Don't feel bad for Lucas. He is getting a Harvard education in basketball playing at Kansas. From the limited glimpses we have had of him, he is taking advantage of his learning at KU, will be good off the bench next year and is going to be a very solid player his last two years.

Timothy Rake 9 months, 1 week ago

Mason is one of Bill Self's best little "finds" as an "underrated" top 100. He's gonna make a great point guard - already showing lots of maturity on both offense and defense.

AS for the best PG of all time at KU, I tend to agree with Jeremy - Jacques Vaughn. Fearless and sometimes spectacular without the Sherron Collins "out-of-control" moments.

BTW, on another subject, anybody following the blogs UNC? Anybody calling for Roy's head with such a mediocre start to ACC play?

Tony Bandle 9 months, 1 week ago

Wanda Williams......LOL!! Only kidding but it made me smile!! :)

Jack Wilson 9 months, 1 week ago

Timothy: You do know that Mason was Self's 6th, maybe 7th choice as the point guard in the 2013 class, right? The only reason he's here is because we missed on others. Literally, in order of their Rivals ranking. Self deserves credit for having a reasonable back up plan. He didn't "find" Mason.

Erich Hartmann 9 months, 1 week ago

Timothy--> SO sorry on the Jacque Vaughn thing, as Sherron + RussRob + Chalmers actually delivered a NC to KU, not Jacque Vaughn. Then 2 more athletic combo guards (together) got us to a champ game (EJ+TT). Self's system requirements are for multiple ball-handling, distributing, and scoring type guards (thus the term "combo" guard, regardless of height). You are seeing that play out now: Selden + Tharpe + Mason, ALL can handle, and all can score. Give me Kirk Hinrich over Vaughn, if you want to compare Roy-system guys. And Miles+Langford got us to the Champ game...which is a fact that cannot be ignored.

Let me share a sad little story, back when I was watching the Jacque Vaughn era: While he was a marvelous distributive pure PG, possibly best ever in that aspect, I recall feeling a sick feeling in pit of stomach when I saw several games where the opposing D was sagging into the paint, leaving him open at the 3 line, and even open up to the FT line, daring the non-shooter to shoot it. Yes, he may have hit an occasional long shot, but not known for his scoring. Back then I felt mad our KU player was being disrespected by the opponents, but they were only revealing the scouting report. Notice there is no role for a non-scoring PG in the NBA either. Nice that Vaughn got to play for 10yrs, but that game has changed too. Look at DRose, Paul, and Westbrook. Hell, even Rondo scores now. And Chalmers has saved the Heat's bacon in 2 NBA Finals series now. And that kid always could score...

Jack Wilson 9 months, 1 week ago

A few thoughts:

-Mason I: It was pretty clear early in the year that his defense was superior to Tharpe's and that his effort defensively was there. Despite some criticisms of his defense here ... which I felt were misplaced at the time .. he showed that he was not just trying, but trying to the right things. And he did many things very well. He slid hard and quick. His tenacity stood out (which can be contrasted to Tharpe). He was "nose on the ball." I recognize that it is hard to judge defense. It is isn't a "I'm right, you're wrong" thing. Judging defense is many times subjective, based on what you're looking for, what is important to you, whether you forgive lapses, if you're more/less results oriented, etc. My judging him was based on those easier to see factors that lead to being a great defender. He's not a great defender yet, though. And that's also why I really like Brannen Greene as a potential excellent defender, as an example. It's nice to see that Self is publically recognizing Mason's work.

-Mason II: Frank Mason is a stud, and I'm glad my skepticism on him was just flat wrong. He is the perfect four year player. Mason is clearly (in my mind) a better point guard than Tharpe. I really think that we have a our point guard of the future in Mason. It is interesting, but the chatter was that Mason wasn't good against the zone. But we saw the result Monday. Mason is settling in, and getting more comfortable. He's playing more under control, it appears that he is trying to create for his teammates .. but very importantly, he is strategically attacking. He's just not lowering his head and going (contrast to the Florida game). It appears that he is learning that lesson perhaps 3 seasons quicker than Tyshawn Taylor did. I have no qualms in saying that Mason is our best point guard. To me, it's a no doubter.

-That being said, Tharpe's shooting is an absolute necessity on this team. At times, Tharpe is our best player. He's becoming a partial answer to our early season shooting issues. Very nice to have both of them. Tharpe has made a nice leap from last season as a confident, reliable scorer.

-On Lucas ... don't feel sorry for him. He is just a redshirt freshman. Unranked. We see the development, and he probably looks better than most have anticipated. Seems to me he might be in the mix his junior/senior season, if not next season. If Embiid leaves, Lucas may be the only guy that gives us true "center" look.

-Regarding Turner, guys, he isn't coming here unless Embiid and Ellis turn pro. No way he walks into a situation where he has a 50-50 chance of coming off the bench, competing with say Ellis and Alexander. Top 5 guys just don't do that. And the PF/C distinction is completely irrelevant. Self has regularly played two PFs, and started them (example Arthur and Jackson). Personally, I would write off Turner, not give it a single thought until you hear that Ellis and Embiid are both turning pro (and Ellis won't).

Mick Allen 9 months, 1 week ago

Jack I agree totally with your critique of Mason. The Florida game as you indicated was his worst game at KU. He has learned to be more discerning in attacking the rim. I also agree that Tharpe is our best shooter and his ability to score will allow him to remain the starter. On a less significant note I was surprised that HCBS named Mason the funniest player on the team on his weekly show on Metro Sports. His serious , expressionless demeanor on the court makes him appear to be a "no nonsense" guy, but Self indicated he has a dry sense of humor delivered in a dead pan style with no smiling or laughing.

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 1 week ago

I still think Tharpe does a much better job running the O and has a better, more consistant J. After that UTEP, CU, and UTEP games, I was like ... ok Bill get over your little Mason experiment for now. Self held him out a little the next couple of games, probably to rebuild Tharpe's confidence and work ofline more with Mason. Self being the great coach hung with him. Self constantly delivers...and constantly makes me feel like an idiot. That's why he gets paid the big bucks.

No question about the better defender, otherwise known as Tharpe's break time.

If we miss on Turner, I'm hoping he heads to SMU. LB would have a danerous team. My dream '15 final 4 would be...Kansas, Kentucky, UNC and SMU. I'm absolutly positive Brown would cherish the opportunity to show his former students he remains the Master of the House.

Benz Junque 9 months, 1 week ago

Brown hasn't flaked on this job and quit yet? How much longer do we give him staying at SMU?

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 1 week ago

Untill his 16 year old daughter graduates from SMU. That's about 6 more years and will make him 78. With drugs, pacemakers, body part replacements, 80 is the new 50. With a 16 year old daughter it should be obvious LB's mind and body remain highly functional.

Your comments hint at scorn toward LB, which surprised me. I got to know LB fairly well when he was here. All Kansas fans should love him.

Benz Junque 9 months, 1 week ago

No scorn at all, just realism. Six years is his longest tenure at any of the 13 head coaching positions he has had.

Walter Bridges 9 months, 1 week ago

He's 14-4 at the moment with #2 Emmanuel Mudiay coming to SMU next year. Won both an NBA & NCAA Championship..

yup..just a flake.

Benz Junque 9 months, 1 week ago

I didn't say he wasn't an excellent coach. Reading comprehension, people.

Has anyone looked at his job history?

2 years with ABA Carolina Cougars then 5 years with ABA Denver Nuggets then 2 years at UCLA then 2 years with New Jersy Nets then 5 years at Kansas then 3+ years with San Antonio Spurs then ... on and on.

Heck, he quit his first coaching job before he ever coached a single game and moved to a different job.

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 1 week ago

LB was born under a wondering star. Everyone loved Ted Owens b ut he ran into some reall hard luck recruiting, i.e. Alvin Adams, etc. The programs was really down when LB came in and did a major turnaround, including a NC. Also while at Kansas, he mentored so many including Cal and Self.

LB has publicly said his one regrett might be he didn't stay anywhere long enough to build a family situation like Dean Smith. Nevertheless, he is what he is and we all love him for that.

Mick Allen 9 months, 1 week ago

With out question Tharpe has a more consistent jump shot currently and why he will and should retain the starting job at this time. Your statement about Bill getting over "his little Mason experiment for now" seems somewhat demeaning to Mason's potential and his ability to play significant minutes as a freshman as he has done this season. There seems to be a consensus among those that post on this site, that HCBS is a defense first coach. Consequently, in determining who gets the minutes at point when they are not in together, Tharpe's "break time defense" has to be a factor in determining who gets the minutes on a game by game basis. Is the other team's point guard lighting Tharpe up, or has the opponent packed in their zone defense daring us to shoot the jump shot. You contend that Nadiir "does a much better job running the O". Does he get us into our sets better, quicker? Mason is Tharpe's equal as a distributor. Early in the year both had trouble running the offense against the zone, e.g. Villanova, Colorado and Florida. Part of running an offense is realizing when the offense is stagnant, not penetrating the zone with the pass or the dribble and not finding the creases in the zone. The old school of thought was you had to beat it with the pass not off the bounce with the dribble. Obviously that is not the philosophy now as far as attacking the zone. Mason is better at splitting the zone and getting to the lane off the dribble and creating a shot when the set offense is not getting us good looks, like he did against Baylor. That too can be labeled "running the offense". I do think you would agree that the manner in which HCBS has used their combined efforts has given us strong guard play in the conference season. What the other team is giving us and what they are denying us will determine which one of the two's talents are most needed in that particular game. The combination of the two's talents has given us strong guard play in the conference. I think it also important to remember Mason is a freshman with 16 games of experience and Nadiir has had the benefit of 2 and 1/2 years of experience in our system. Mason's improvement has been mercurial.

Suzi Marshall 9 months, 1 week ago

I see where you are going with your comments and do not disagree.

Early in the season I was really POed at Tharpe for his play and questioned on these post "what he had done to get ready for the season when it was now clearly his time." I recall Tharpe trying to score over opposting bigs when his were open, i.e. on breaks. Mason was doing the same thing. Then Self ran out of patience with Tharpe and inserted Mason. Mason then promply showed during that UTEP-CO-UF run he was no where ready for prime time. He was a nightmare on O and made serious mistakes on darn near every possession. His D was not that much better than Tharpes. Mason's talent and determined effort was clear to see, but down the road. We were lossing games because of our PG play and we seemed, at the time, destined for disaster.

After the UF game, I was calling for Self to invoke his emergency backup PG plans to give Selden a shot at PG. This would also have opened up the 2 slot for a shooter, i.e. AWIII or even CF. I was feeling disparate calling this team "Self's worst team at Kansas but with by far the greatest tallent."

Tharpe then has his little chit chat with Self, then bang.....UNM, GT and Toledo, he steps up his game. Mason's time was reduced significantly (6 minutes) against UNM and we played great. The really interesting thing was Self continued to show his faith in Mason by bringing him back for signifcant minutes vs GT (about 15) and Toledo (about 23). Mason, to his credit, showed his great resilancy in the SDSU mess with 25 minutes (4-8, 2-3 on threes). However, even in those games and the following Big 12 games, his assist were minimal.

Frankly, Mason did not show a total game until BU when he showed a quantum leap with everything. I wasn't expecting anything like BU out of him until mid next year.

Yes the ball sticks with Tharpe on O and he can have some mind numbing turnovers. However, his shooting has bailed the team out with some great wins. Tharpe has also had some nice assist games. We are winning and all the guys are enjoying the game. Self isn't going to mess with the starting lineup now.

Aaron Paisley 9 months, 1 week ago

Mason and Tharpe are two different types of PG's. I personally believe Tharpe is more in the Tyshawn Taylor mold of doing what the team needs him to do on a given night to win whether that be a scorer or distributor. His defense isn't up the level of Tyshawn's. Tharpe is KU's most consistent 3 point shooter this year and Tyshawn was also a very consistent (and underrated) 3 point shooter. Each also can/was at times the best player on the court for both teams at the same time and you have to take the good with the bad with each.

Frank Mason is more in the Sherron Collins mold of being a score first PG. Neither were great shooters, but both are great at attacking the rim and are surprisingly quick for being undersized (height wise). Mason is becoming a better defender and could eventually be as good a defender as Sherron was.

My personal favorite line up offensively is when both Tharpe and Mason are on the floor together because their styles are different enough to where it's not a liability on the offensive end. Personally, I think Mason would've been the perfect fit at PG on last year's team instead of EJ.

Benz Junque 9 months, 1 week ago

His occassionally boneheaded turnovers are certainly up to Taylor's level...

Erich Hartmann 9 months, 1 week ago

I thought Sherron Collins 3pt shooting was "pure" from Day 1 as a frosh. Ask Willie Warren...and senior shooters can still have a bad shooting game (Sherron vs. UNI, and Reed vs. VCU). Having a horrible shooting day is part of the game, folks, from MJ on downwards to all who have played this game. Sucks when it knocks KU out of the Madness, but it happens, and will happen again someday.

Len Shaffer 9 months, 1 week ago

"Wiggins has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list, the Los Angles Athletic Club announced Wednesday. Players not chosen to the midseason list are still eligible for the final ballot."

Not to nit pick, but if players not chosen are still eligible, what exactly is the point of announcing a top 25? Mind you, I'm not saying that it's wrong to reconsider players at the end of the year; in fact I think it has to be that way. It just seems kind of funny to "cut down" from the top 50 to the "final 25," when it's actually NOT the final 25. Kind of defeats the whole point of it, doesn't it?

BTW, how perfect is the name "The Bulldog" for Frank Mason? It fits him to a tee. I LOVE the way he attacks the rim!

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