Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Team USA vet Frankamp eager for second international tour

Red Team guard Conner Frankamp dishes a pass under the bucket and past Blue Team player Evan Manning (5) and Brannen Greene during a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at the Horejsi Center.

Red Team guard Conner Frankamp dishes a pass under the bucket and past Blue Team player Evan Manning (5) and Brannen Greene during a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at the Horejsi Center.


Conner Frankamp was curious, but not concerned when Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self called a team meeting after workouts on Monday night.

“He told us before we were going in that it was going to be something good,” Frankamp, KU’s sophomore combo guard from Wichita, said with a smile.

“We were all kind of shocked about it. We were fired up,” he added, asked about Self’s proclamation that the Jayhawks, as a team, would represent the United States at the 2015 World University Games in Korea.

“I had no idea that was in the realm for anything. We’re going over there as a business trip representing our country. We don’t want to let a lot of people down. We’re all very excited for it,” Frankamp said.

For Frankamp, this marks an opportunity to win a second gold medal while playing for the red, white and blue. He scored 22 points to lead the U.S. to a 95-62 win over Australia in the gold-medal game of the FIBA Under 17 World Championships in the summer of 2012 in Lithuania.

“It was awesome. To represent our country is something amazing. Not many people get to do it. It was awesome being able to win the gold medal as well,” said Frankamp, who was joined on that team by players such as Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones.

“Being surrounded with those good players made me a better player. Just winning was also amazing,” Frankamp said.

Another Jayhawk with Team USA experience is Frankamp’s roommate, freshman Cliff Alexander, who struck gold in the zone qualifier of the 2013 3x3 tournament in Washington, D.C. KU’s Perry Ellis and Kelly Oubre have participated in USA Basketball’s developmental national team program.

“It’s really going to be a cool experience for us,” Frankamp said.

The 6-foot, 170-pounder, who said he’s put on about eight pounds since arriving at KU as a freshman, said he’s working on all aspects of his game this summer. He’s in the mix with Devonté Graham and Frank Mason for the starting point guard position.

‘I think they are both really good players and I know they will help the team quite a bit,” Frankamp said. “We will all compete at practice, of course, and off the court be good friends. We all want to help the team the best we can.”

Self has said whichever backcourt player gets the ball will bring it up court and start the offensive possession this season.

“It seems a lot of people in college basketball are going to that, with more guards and everything,” Frankamp said. “It will be a good style for us, I think. We have to get up and down the court a lot faster, be able to use our athletic ability. Dribbling is something important to me, so I work on that quite a bit, also continue working on my shot.”

He said he’s “very happy with my progress” after averaging 2.5 points a game in limited duty as a freshman. He had 12 points in 18 minutes in KU’s season-ending loss vs. Stanford.

“I just hope I can continue to get better and progress even more,” he said, noting a perfect season would encompass “the team having a great season and making a long run in the tournament and being able to contribute as much as I can and help the team a lot.”

Recruiting lift: Self was asked if KU’s appearance in the World University Games might help recruiting. Any player who signs with KU in the Class of 2015 would be eligible to go on the trip to Korea next July.

“I don’t think you do this because it’s a recruiting nugget. Maybe that could be a byproduct of it. I don’t know,” Self said. “There should be television exposure for all our games. I know that’s being worked on right now.”

Returning Jayhawks?: If KU has 12 scholarship players on the 2015-16 roster next summer, it likely won’t hold tryouts for spots on the World Games team with Jayhawks 25 and under.

However ... “if we don’t have 12 on scholarship, why wouldn’t we look to bring some experience or maybe an older guy back that may need to be seen, maybe play a role in doing something that would be a lifelong memory for him?” Self said, noting KU would be going against many pros from numerous countries.

“Gurley, thank God, is too old and heavy for sure,” he added, needling former KU guard Greg Gurley of the Williams Fund, not eligible to make the 12-man team.

Spurs good example: KU coach Self on Monday’s Big 12 summer teleconference praised the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. Self’s buddy, R.C. Buford, is general manager of a team that has won five NBA crowns. Self attended the Game Five clincher on Sunday and sat next to Buford in the stands.

“I’m happy for him, obviously, because we’ve been close for so many years. I’m happy for the entire organization — first class — and they played at a level, to be quite candid with you, I don’t think we’ve seen very many NBA teams, in recent memory, that I can remember, that would actually play at that level,” Self said.

“That was a true team and they did so many great things. To see how three Hall-of-Famers (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker), the three best players on the team, how excited they were when (Kawhi) Leonard won MVP, it makes for a pretty special situation. What Pop (coach Gregg Popovich) and the Spurs have done will make it much easier for college coaches to coach,” Self added, noting he would point out to his players how the champs moved the basketball without it sticking to hands.


Suzi Marshall 7 years, 3 months ago

Watching the Spurs play and win was a thrill I have not experienced since the Jordan Bulls and Hakeem Rockets won. I was particularly interested in the play of Ginobili since reports Mykailiuk is a good comparison ( In fact, that sites list Mykailiuk as the best international prospect since '96 or that is what I think the sites says. On the skills, they list his shot as a very strong 9 or 10 with passing and quickness at 8s. Nothing lower that a 7 (

I wish he'd get to Lawrence earlier. He's missing 3 months with the rest of the team and much needed strength & conditioning.

This will be the most scrutinized season for KU Basketball ever. The eyes of the USA basketball world will be on KU the entire season.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 3 months ago


1] I will be very curious as to what kind of support the Hawks get in 2015 from fans of UK, Duke, KSU, NC, etc. Something tells me that provincialism will rule over national pride...which is unfortunate. Although, I have to admit, it would be hard for me to cheer for a Calipari-led team.

2] There are two sides to every coin....this 2015 World U Games could end up being a big distraction for the upcoming 2014 season and could definitely impact the 2015 campaign.

3] Conner, with his international experience and success, is a shoo-in to play a major role.

4] Just did the USA go 6-2 and finish 9th??!! Did four team tie for first and four teams tie for second??

5] If I may finish Bill's qoute regarding Popovich...." will make it much easier for college coaches to coach"....IN THE NBA!!!!!!

6] I think that for the World U Games, Bill needs to put out the best 12 Jayhawks he can find, even if it means a couple of current players have to give up there spots to more talented experienced alumni. This may end up being part of the distraction that I alluded to earlier.

7] South Korea in the summertime...YIKES!!!

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

These games are going to be on overnight, on ESPU I believe, they will have a tough time getting any kind of an audience, let alone tied to a school. (I don't think provincial means what you think it means unless your think of KU as a country or a Empire). CF certainly can help but this tournament is different than the U17. The international teams are more loaded with Pros and prospects like Svee, the competition is much different than the U17. Not sure why anyone thinks Pop is going to leave SA. Tim D wants to play, Pop wants to coach, RC is not going to tell them its time to leave??? I disagree take your 12 guys on scholarship and do your best. If some guys do not want to go or there are injuries and you have an opening, sure add the best guy you can get. The goal is 4 weeks of extra practice and two weeks of competitive games, should really help our team come together. Its a great honor but the world teams approach this like the Olympics, Team USA does not. Team USA focus is on the WC and Olympics, qualifying with as little work as possible and winning the Olympics (dominating if possible). Lets just hope our guys do not get caught up in any North Korea posturing, or a beef between China and Japan while we are there.

Mike Riches 7 years, 3 months ago

How about a starting five of Selden, BMac, Wiggins, TRob, and Embiid? :) I think this will be so great for recruiting next year, there won't be any open roster spots. Distraction avoided!

Jack Wilson 7 years, 3 months ago

I would be very surprised if BMac, TRob, or any NBA guy would mess with this. Also, I think Embiid and Wiggins wouldn't be "USA" guys given their home countries.

However, someone like Kevin Young might be a pretty cool fit for an open roster spot.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 3 months ago

if KYo isn't on the Puerto Rican Men's National Team by then.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

I agree, just cannot see them interested in this, its 6 weeks of work for a 2nd tier tournament, (World Championship and Olympics are top tier). After a long NBA season I would rest and work on my game rather than play in this, possibly risking injury (lots of games in a short period of time). I think Self has it right if he has 12 scholarship players his team is set.

James Carithers 7 years, 3 months ago

I think Tyshawn Taylor is probably who Self's talking about. He needs to get more exposure to get back onto an NBA team, despite playing pretty well when they sent him back down to D-League. Travis Releford would also be eligible, and so would Elijah Johnson (all of whom I would guess would like to play NBA ball).

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