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Friday, March 21, 2014

Keegan

Column: Mistake-free play of Conner Frankamp just what KU needed

Kansas guard Conner Frankamp pulls up for a shot over Eastern Kentucky guard Isaac McGlone during the first half on Friday, March 21, 2014 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

Kansas guard Conner Frankamp pulls up for a shot over Eastern Kentucky guard Isaac McGlone during the first half on Friday, March 21, 2014 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self, Perry Ellis and Conner Frankamp discuss KU's tourney win over Eastern Kentucky

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, sophomore forward Perry Ellis and freshman guard Conner Frankamp discuss KU's NCAA Tournament win over Eastern Kentucky on Friday in St. Louis.

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Bill Self talks about nature of NCAA Tournament

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self discusses the madness that comes along with the NCAA Tournament after the Jayhawks beat upset-minded Eastern Kentucky in St. Louis.

KANSAS 80, EASTERN KENTUCKY 69

Box score

— Wichita State fans wearing gold didn’t have to check their programs to learn the identity of  the little guy wearing the white No. 23 jersey entering the game off the bench.

Conner Frankamp scored more points in high school than anybody in the history of basketball-rich Wichita. Shockers fans didn’t forget that and cheered him on Friday in the Scottrade Center while they waited for their team to take the floor in the next game.

Kansas University fans, wearing blue, know the walk-ons’ names and know all about the high school careers of the scholarship players, so they didn’t need any help either.

The only ones who had to glance at their rosters were the only ones who had to know everything about him and knew nothing: The opposition.

Jamari Traylor was the undisputed MVP for Kansas in its 80-69 victory against relentless Eastern Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. Frankamp won best-supporting-actor honors, pitching in with 10 points and four assists in 25 minutes, all of those numbers career-highs.

“We didn’t scout him,” Eastern Kentucky center Eric Stutz said of Frankamp. “And I think that hurt us. We didn’t know what to expect.”

Frankamp’s previous career high in minutes, 17, came in the season-opener, one of just nine games in which he had reached double figures in minutes heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Studying Frankamp's high school career wouldn’t have helped the Colonels much, because his job was to bring the ball down court and shoot whenever possible. His 10 points Friday had very little to do with how he changed the game. Kansas had 13 first-half turnovers, including five in the first four-plus minutes. The extended-pressure defense the EKU players refer to as “chaos” exposed KU’s ball-handling deficiencies and left the Jayhawks in desperate need of a veteran presence. Ironically, it was the least experienced player, Frankamp, who provided it and restored order when he replaced starting point guard Naadir Tharpe.

“He really showed up and surprised us, because he was careful with the ball,” Stutz said. “We went into the game knowing that we could turn their starting point guard over. That was our game plan. And that just stalled us. It was tough to know that that beat us.” 

Teammates are always the last to express surprise about a break-out performance. They can see it coming, based on daily time shared on the practice floor.

“He didn’t get that much chance to play until today and he stepped up, made plays and didn’t look like a freshman to me tonight,” fellow reserve freshman guard Frank Mason said. “I watch him in practice every day. I knew he was capable of doing this. It was just the time and opportunity.”

And as is so often the case with Frankamp, the guard made the most of his opportunity. One day he might develop into a big-time scorer for Kansas. For now, the best thing he does for his team is what he does not do. He does not commit turnovers. He increased his season minutes total to 207. His season turnover total remained at three. He has 15 assists.

One of the more remarkable statistics from any lead guard, starter or reserve, in the NCAA tournament belongs to Frankamp: He has played 122 consecutive minutes without a turnover. Kansas needs more of that sort of ball security.

Starting the game on the bench, Frankamp locked in on how the Colonels defended and knew what he had to do to keep from spitting up the ball.

“Yes, it did,” Frankamp said of whether watching the game before playing in it helped him. “For sure. They were denying everywhere, playing really high on the guys and that opened up the back doors, so we just tried to find that the best we could.”

He repeatedly put the ball where it needed to go.

He missed both three-point shots, but buried two mid-range jumpers, shot 3 of 6 and made all four free throws. He looked like the least nervous player on the floor.

“After watching the Duke game, we knew that anything can happen,” Frankamp said of Mercer’s huge upset. “We were down, but we tried to stay poised and not get too rattled and just try to make the easy play.”

That’s exactly what Frankamp did, and in the process he calmed down teammates.

“Huge, huge,” Tarik Black said of Frankamp. “He and Jamari won the game for us.”

Comments

Tyson Ailshie 6 months ago

“We went into the game knowing that we could turn their starting point guard over. That was our game plan." I think that pretty much says it all. Bench Tharpe.

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darren martin 6 months ago

that comment should be blown up in a huge banner and given to Tharpe. if it doesn't motivate him to play better then he should as u said be benched

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

Maybe KU finally has a starting PG...

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

Amazing, Stutz was so matter of fact about it.

Tharpe should be on the Bench watching the game.

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Doug Cramer 6 months ago

Without Frankamp we lose this game. Frankamp should be our starting PG from here on out.

Otherwise Tharp will pull an E.J. if Self lets him.

Way to go Connor !

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

I wish people would stop giving EJ such a bad rap. He was forced to play PG for his senior year because Tharpe (with an 'e') was still unable to run the team his sophomore year. EJ had been a shooting guard at Kansas (maybe you saw the 2012 championship game) from day one at KU.

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

EJ's play at the end of that MI game just killed us. If we hold on to win that game we go on to beat FL and we have a senior laden team back in the Final Four.
I can kind of give him a pass on his very poor senior year but his play in his last game is going to stick out with a lot of fans for a very long time cause it cost us so much. So I see Doug's point, these games are too important to put up with play like Tharpe's yesterday, and EJ's last year.

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

It was the worst melt down I've ever seen but I have a bigger issue on WHY was he still in the game? If you were coaching, would you have let EJ continue?

Do you have an issue with that? Hey this guy is killing us but no need to have him sit out those last two minutes.. After EJ punched the Michigan player in the nuts that would have been more than I needed to yank him...

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

EJ WAS NOT a PG. He was forced to play PG because Tharpe COULDN'T do it as a Soph..

Would you blame Seldon if he was forced to play PF and we lost? Frankamp and Mason are better as freshman than Tharpe after 2 years. I wish somebody would remember how well EJ played the 2 in his Junior year.

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Benz Junque 6 months ago

For god sakes, let it go. He was an excellent player who had all season to prepare for his role. There really isn't a designated PG role in Self's offense which is why he recruits so many combo guards. His game was barely any different as the "PG" as is was when Taylor was here.

EJ choked when it mattered. I get that you want to blame Self for it, but get real. Sometimes guys just have a terrible day at the worst possible time.

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

Walter, did EJ lose that MI game last year? He did. Others made a mistake or two, he basically melted in the closing minutes. That loss ran through his hands those final minutes all the way to his final decision to pass to Tharpe.

I don't blame him for not being a PG but I do have a big issue with a seasoned Senior playing like that down the stretch. There is no excuse for that.

In his Junior year he is the reason we won a few of those games that got us to the Championship game. It does not forgive that last game. It never will. For me and for many many others. We had that game won.

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

Ok..your just repeating yourself and I'd much rather watch today's games

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

not really but ok

you still did not answer the question -- Did EJ lose that MI game?

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

And you never answered if you had any problem with Coach Self leaving him in the game. I must assume that you agreed with his decision

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

YES I had a huge issue after his first mistake with Self leaving him in the game. In fact the group I was watching that game with were all screaming at the TV to get him the hell out of the game at that point. The level of the screaming rose with each mistake he made and each point MI scored because of them.

YES I had a problem with Self leaving him in the game. Heck if the bench was empty I would have rather played with 4 in fact, he was that bad.

He cost us that game, yes or no Walter?

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

EJ's poor Sr year...#1 wins, Big 12 regular season AND Tournament Champs playing at a different position because the only PG was 2nd yr Tharpe...dreadful.

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Larry Smith 6 months ago

EJ was the #2 rated PG in the contry behind John Wall coming out of high school.

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

True, but he never played that position at KU until his senior year. You might remember Sherron Collins and Tyshawn Taylor played at the 1 plus it's a large leap from playing PG as a senior in high school then it is as a senior in college.

Mario Chalmers was also a highly ranked PG but he also played the 2 for most of his college career.

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

--EJ's poor Sr year...#1 wins, Big 12 regular season AND Tournament Champs playing at a different position because the only PG was 2nd yr Tharpe...dreadful. --

-- #1 wins is a career #, B12 reg and tourn Champs those are team accomplishments, do not think he did that on his own. He had a poor SR year at KU himself, it was a disappointment after such a promising Junior year statistically. Switch to PG sure, I believe he came out of high school as a PG btw, but ok still a switch. EJ was average to good, never great.

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

Did you know team accomplishments are the sum of the individuals that make up the team?

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

Walter we were talking about EJ as a player, not if his team can overcome his poor play and still win. You cannot overlook how poorly he played and call the teams accomplishments as a reason he was good. Does that mean the guys who played 1 or 2 minutes a game were great too, just cause they played with a very good team? EJ was a weak, soft player who as a Junior won us some games with his play. He disappeared his senior year. That is like looking at yesterdays game and saying since Tharpe was on our team, he played great cause our team won. Sorry you cannot connect those dots when we are talking about the specific player. Well I guess you can but it would not make any sense...

I will never think EJ was a great player for KU. He was average to good and he cost us that MI game.

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Dick Murdock 6 months ago

It's a great thing we have Coach Self, who knows better than anybody how important it is to protect the ball. Because of that, Tharpe sat an awful lot tonight. My guess is, this will continue going forward.

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Benz Junque 6 months ago

I doubt it. Frankamp is fine against teams like EKU but will be completely over matched in the Sweet Sixteen if we face Syracuse. I would start Frankamp against Stanford until the first TV timeout to see if he can get the team started strong and then get Tharpe back in there to get his confidence back up. We'll need him next week if we can get there.

And folks, Tharpe was not the only offender. Looking at the stats, virtually everyone on the team was guilty of multiple poor turnovers in the first half. KU AS A TEAM needs to start stronger. Hopefully just a case of the jitters. They were not ready to play when they went out there, not just Tharpe.

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

Benz we can only go to the well so many times with Tharpe. Its not just the turn overs, Tharpe makes bad decisions, picks up his dribble way to early for a PG to me (ruins any chance for a better angle of pass and invites a double team 35 feet away from the basket), does not defend his position, and struggles with his shot. I say he is on a very very short leash.

Next Year Tharpe cannot start for our team.

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Benz Junque 6 months ago

And Ellis freaks out too often for my tastes. And Traylor makes some boneheaded decisions. And Wiggins gets sloppy with the ball when driving. And... I get it. EVERYONE will need to get their act together to win more games. They either will or they won't.

Tharpe will be the starter next year barring a miraculous improvement by Mason or Frankamp this summer. Many thought any team that had Tyshawn Taylor as their PG leader was DOOMED, so maybe we simply don't know everything...

Maybe Tharpe gets his brain wrapped around what he needs to do. He has had games where he was dialed in and was not just competent but was actually pretty amazing. So it's not like he isn't capable of playing that way. He just needs to figure out what he needs to do to play that way more often. I have more confidence that this can happen than I do of Frankamp being good enough to lead next year's team as a full time starter. That's a WAY bigger gap to close.

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

Benz no one hurts this team more than Tharpe. My point was we cannot keep hoping he will get it. It's been three years. Taylor had above average talent at least you got a mix of positive and negative each game. He guarded his position too.

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Armen Kurdian 6 months ago

After Connor came in there, and settled the team down, sure, maybe not perfect as a PG, but the team started to play more coherently, then I started screaming my bloody head off when I saw NT back in the game. Play starts with him, and when he was in we started falling behind again, with Connor we started playing together.

Look, I know NT wants to do well, and I know he is trying hard, but you can't just let things play out in the tourney like that. Start Tharpe, see if he settles down...just tell him don't even try to score unless he has a clear path to the basket. Feed everyone else, get our shooters open, get some threes down, and run the offense.

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Mark Lindrud 6 months ago

Connor may not be a superior athlete or be tall or big, but he's playing steady and has minimal mistakes at the point.

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Shannon Gustafson 6 months ago

Self should treat Tharpe like he treats most freshman...give him a short leash. Turn it over or play bad defense and you go to the bench, only to return if the backup (Mason/Frankamp) isn't doing any better, needs a quick breather, or gets in foul trouble.

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

Were you watching some other team Tharpe's freshman year? He was on a VERY short leash.

HCBS doesn't usually play his juniors the way he plays his freshman.

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Shannon Gustafson 6 months ago

Yes, I did...and I'm aware Self doesn't usually play juniors the way he plays freshman. That's why I said he "should" treat him like a freshman (though he's not)...he's still playing like one in ~30% of his games (turnovers, no defense) and plays minimal/poor defense in his "good" games.

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

I got it..you make a good point.

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Dirk Medema 6 months ago

It is great to see this year's Wichita freshmen breakout a bit to end the year. I was really hoping that he would have been more of a John Paxson/BJ Armstrong type PG to the Jordan/Pippen of Selden & Wiggins this year. Unfortunately, the 3 just was not there very much.

Unfortunately, the rest of the stats have matched. It is great that Connor had 4 A's today, but there have also been games where he hasn't contributed a positive O stat. Solid PG play will be the key to how far we go this year, and I am at least glad that Coach has options, and enough sense to understand what they are and how to get the most out of each of them. Naadir and Frank have both come up big enough on multiple occasions throughout the year. We need to minimize the exposure to the negative or empty PG play games,

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

This year's Wichita freshmen? Was there more than one?

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Shannon Gustafson 6 months ago

As opposed to last year's Wichita freshman (Ellis). That means there has been more than one.

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Dirk Medema 6 months ago

ding ding ding

We have a winner here Johnny :-)

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

"It is great to see this year's Wichita freshmen breakout a bit to end the year."

So Dick, how many games did Frankamp start in his freshman year? If you're comparing Ellis to Frankamp, then why didn't you simply state that. Not once did you mention Ellis. You do know that freshman and freshmen denote singularity and plurality?

Wait, of course you don't Dick.

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Chris Seferyn 6 months ago

Tharpe has been killing us all year. When he plays well, we dominate. When he disappears, we have no offensive flow. I think that he's got a nagging injury or something that is not allowing him to make plays right now. Frankamp shouldn't start but he should be the first guy off the bench at the under 16 tv timeout. He's the most consistent guard we have including Wiggins who kept dropping the ball for some reason in the first half.

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Steve Corder 6 months ago

FC did what all points are suppose to do, protect the ball and get the offense to flow. Self had him play, if my memory is correct, the last 12 minutes of the game.

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Brian Conrad 6 months ago

Tharpe is great kid, but not sure he is getting it ... Conner did today.. Tharpe needs to understand pass and protect the ball. Period ! he was interviewed and said he knows he needs to be more aggressive.. WRONG ! stop lazy one handed passes and dribbling through your legs .. JUST play point .. good decisions , crisp passes and make free throws... points are just a bonus... turnovers will get you on bench. Jayhawk fans want you to be player of the game... games with 10 assists and zero turnovers will get way more praise than 20 points , 15 turnovers and a loss...

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Len Shaffer 6 months ago

All of your points are important, Brian, but you can sum it all up in one thing you said: good decisions.

There were so many times when Tharpe rushed the pass and either turned it over or put someone else in a difficult position. On the other hand, Frankamp made one good choice after another. He often looked like he was about to pass, but then kept dribbling and moved over a little first to make sure he had the proper angle. There were so many little things he did well. I can't understand why Tharpe continues to make such poor decisions, with all of his experience.

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Ethan Berger 6 months ago

Great point about Connor kept on dribbiling. Tharpe got in a lot of trouble by picking up his dribbile.

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

All your points are important Len, but you could sum it all up in one thing you said: poor decisions

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Mark Chenoweth 6 months ago

Hats off to Conner. He played so very well on BOTH ends of the court. Tharpe kept losing his man. Cousy would have killed us if Tharpe had stayed on him all game. Naadir, please don't leave three-point shooters when they are a team's main offensive weapon. Conner restored order, kept KU in contact early, and saved the day.

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Steve Zimmerman 6 months ago

We should remember Conner played representing USA-U17 or something like that prior to his arrival in Lawrence. He was the best scorer, as a PG. That experience came in handy, I guess. Tharpe will regain his composure in the next game.

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Ryan Michael 6 months ago

Tharpe has been making bone-headed mistakes all season long... He's been the worst defensive PG in the big 12 all season long. What makes you think he'll fix that next game?

Frankamp should start.

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Steve Zimmerman 6 months ago

I don't care who should start. I respect coach's decision. And I love our players.. I only hope the best for them. I have respect for them, by not bashing or saying negative things towards them. Only constructive comments.

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Jack Jones 6 months ago

I seriously doubt that this team will, or should give up on any one player. Every single player has had games this season, when ~ primarily due to inexperience ~ they have had games in which they have performed poorly, some more, some less. Fortunately, we have had the luxury of depth, with above average talent, that can step in, as Conner did today and make a significant contribution ~ usually resulting in a win. If we are to continue to make a run in the tournament, it is that depth, and HC Self pushing those buttons that will make the difference.

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

Jack how many starters on our team have been benched due to their poor play during the game or for future games? Tharpe has been so inconsistent this year you have no idea how he is going to play. He starts every game but at this point of the season since he seems to be overmatched or incapable of playing against anyone with talent, he has to be pulled quickly before he costs us a game. He gets beat on defense, he struggles with his shot, he struggles running the offense, turns the ball over, and makes bad decisions. Maybe we don't give up on him but he has to have the shortest leash of anyone on our team. He should be getting better but he is actually getting worse as the season goes on.

We cannot start next season with Tharpe as our starting PG. He is too much of a liability.

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

Tharpe had his first turnover within the first 30 seconds of the game. I've never seen such a short attention span.

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Ethan Berger 6 months ago

That first wasn't all Tharpe, Black went out then went back in. The ball was picked up so Black should have come back to Tharpe. Tharpe shouldn't have picked it up so soon but wasn't all on him.

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

You make a valid point Ethan but it was still Tharpe's responsibility. Give him 3/4 of a turnover :-)

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Bryce Landon 6 months ago

Not sure what is going on with Naadir Tharpe, but he has been out of it since the Oklahoma State game. Bench him; he doesn't deserve to play anymore.

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Jay Reynolds 6 months ago

They were together in the second half yesterday playing catch at the top of the key, completely befuddled by EKU's zone and barely avoiding a turnover.

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Reggie Flenory 6 months ago

It amazes me that naadir is a friggin jr and still making freshman mistakes naadir is a good kid but his lack of consistency is frustrating and gonna get us put out early this isnt the regular season its loose and go home we cant afford to worry about naadirs feeling or confidence at this point bench em

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Margaret Schadler 6 months ago

Tharpe doesn't take time to know where his players r going before he passes. Doesn't work to lead a player north if they r going south. However, he had a couple of beautiful routes to the basket last night. Good twin-sloppy twin.

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Chad Smith 6 months ago

I've tried to defend Tharpe a couple times but I've given up and yesterday was the last straw. This is the tournament, Tharpe did the the two things that will get you beat by a double digit seed 1) turn the ball over a lot and carelessly. 2) let the other team take wide open 3 point shots. If it weren't for frankamp, we'd be lamenting a first round exit. I'm not saying Tharpe shouldn't play, but did you notice when he came off the bench, he slashed and got to the bucket and played more controlled? Start frankamp and have Tharpe come in active and focused off the bench and spell Connor. Seriously, It might be the change that spurs this team to greater heights.

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Ludwig Supraphonic 6 months ago

"Starting the game on the bench, Frankamp locked in on how the Colonels defended and knew what he had to do to keep from spitting up the ball." Seems like Conner was most effective because he didn't start.

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Sam Burns 6 months ago

I've been saying for weeks that Connor should be playing instead of Tharpe. He has adjusted to the college game now, is comfortable with the offense, and takes care of the ball. More playing time, and we will see him start shooting the ball the way he is capable of. Yes, I agree, without his play yesterday we would be done for this year. Jamari played great and was very important, but Connor saved the day!

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Sam Constance 6 months ago

As someone said above, when Tharpe plays well, we are nearly unstoppable. I think this is the part of the equation that so many of the "bench Tharpe" rabble rousers are missing.

Admittedly, he was not good yesterday. And while we won't go far with him playing poorly like that, we're also not going far without him at all. We're not going to make a deep run in the tourney with two freshmen guards in charge of leading the team--one of whom has only played sparingly this season.

So Self has a choice: bench Tharpe and pretty much give up on him giving KU any kind of contribution, and lose before the Final Four, or work with Tharpe and keep the option open that we will see the confident, playmaking Tharpe and keep the door open for a deep tourney run.

To me, there isn't much of a choice. Should Self have Tharpe on a short leash? Of course--we can't afford to go through half the game to adjust if he's playing poorly--especially as bad as he played yesterday. But no good coach is going to completely jettison a player who has given us as many good minutes as Tharpe has, even if he's given us some frustratingly bad minutes.

The answer is not to start Frankamp, who has played at least 17 minutes only twice this season (including yesterday). The answer is to start Tharpe, and pull him at the first sign of trouble. That way Frankamp doesn't have to take on the pressure of suddenly becoming the starter for a 2-seed in the NCAA tournament. I know everyone is gushing over Frankamp's performance yesterday, and rightfully so. But let's not pretend as if it is a certainty for him to be the same model of steadiness if he sees an expanded role moving forward. He is still a Freshman with a low level of experience. It would be a shame to make a major change that could lose the benefits Tharpe brings us when he's on if all we get in return is a different brand of inconsistency.

All that being said, I do hope Frankamp starts seeing expanded minutes moving forward.

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RJ King 6 months ago

Exactly. And let's not overlook Frankamp's analysis from the bench early on.

The importance of him checking out the defense to see what adjustments need to made cannot be overstated. This was huge and Connor really made use of his observations.

Not sure the Frankamp starting with Tharpe off the bench would make the best use of their strengths.

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Mark Lindrud 6 months ago

We won't bench Tharpe as far as being a starter, but is safe to say his mistake leash is getting shorter. The point guard has to be the quarterback and run the offense and lately Tharpe hasn't been doing that consistently. We can't keep him in for a lot of minutes if he isn't up to the task.

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

Sam, is Tharpe the starting PG next year?

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Walter Bridges 6 months ago

Did Bill Self recruit a point guard? That should answer your question.

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

Just asking, do you put the spoiled milk back in the fridge thinking it will be ok in the morning? Maybe there is a PG out there wanting to pull a T Black transfer for one year??? I just do not want to go through another year of 20 turnovers a game and guards running by Tharpe like its a wind sprint drill.

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

See Walter Sam knows what I was asking!

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Sam Constance 6 months ago

That's a tough question to answer. Based on our current recruiting commits and the list of remaining available recruits, it looks like we will have the same three options next year that we had this year: Tharpe, Mason, Frankamp.

All three of them have some shortcomings as the lead guard. Personally, I don't think Mason has the right mentality to be the starting PG. He is very gifted and athletic, but he has that Sherron Collins pedal-to-the-floor at all times attitude which can be great for the right type of team--but not a team with talented offensive players at almost every position on the floor.

So that leaves Tharpe and Frankamp. I like the idea of Frankamp being the lead guard based on what I've seen of him, but as noted, that's been very little game action. I can only assume Self has reasons for continuing to stick with Tharpe instead of Frankamp (or hell, Mason over Frankamp), so it's hard to prognosticate as to whether Frankamp will overcome whatever's been holding him back because we don't know what it is.

I like his lack of turnovers and his theoretical potential to hit threes, but I wonder if he might have shortcomings as a passer.

I don't think the spoiled milk analogy works here because once milk is spoiled, it's spoiled. People, on the other hand, can grow and change--even though Tharpe is going to be a senior next year, he's still in his early 20s. Most players still have plenty of growth to do at that age, so it's tough to declare that he has become the point guard he will always be. He's improved by pretty large margins EVERY season he's been here, but especially in two areas we need him to improve the most:

Shooting and A/TO ratio

Here are his progressions over his FR, SO, JR season:

FG%: 28.9 - 34.3 - 44.3 3P%: 27.3 - 33.0 - 37.8 Assists: 0.7 - 3.1 - 5.1 A/TO ratio: 1.0 - 2.2 - 2.5

My hope is that Conner progresses enough to the point where he can push Tharpe to be better: more focused.

So I guess I don't know the answer to your question. But I think he can be and KU can still have a good team with him as the starting PG.

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

Excellent Post Sam. Thank you.

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Sam Burns 6 months ago

And I'm so glad Bill saw it and made the change in time.

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Sam Burns 6 months ago

Even though I want Connor to be playing more and more, I am worried about him having to cover down low on a taller player, whether it is from a switch or just another taller guard.

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Aaron Paisley 6 months ago

Naadir Tharpe is very similar to Tyshawn on the offensive end of the floor. Naadir, like Tyshawn, is someone capable of being the best player on the floor for both teams at the same time. I do wonder though if Naadir is playing with an injury that hasn't been disclosed yet. We've seen it in the past where a player's level of play dips for seemingly no reason only to found out in the offseason that they were dealing with some type of injury for most of the season.

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Mark Lindrud 6 months ago

An injury, which I believe is to his finger doesn't effect poor decision making.

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Aaron Paisley 6 months ago

The dislocated thumb on his non shooting hand is not a secret, I'm thinking else that hasn't been disclosed because we've seen stuff over the years where a player will have a surgery on something pretty soon after the season ends and nothing was ever said publicly about that player having any kind of injury.

The thumb doesn't affect his decision making (I hope), but it does affect his shooting. The dislocated thumb is on his guide hand and his shot has been way off ever since that happened so it is reasonable to guess that the thumb is affecting a part of his game.

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Beau Woolsey 6 months ago

I've been on team Tharpe a long time but it's getting a little harder each game. I still think his three pointer is his strongest attribute and we should run more plays for it.

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Scott Frisbie 6 months ago

Does anyone know where I can watch a replay of the E. Kentucky game? Thanx

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Rodney Crain 6 months ago

My dvr but that is not going to help you.... :)

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Scott Frisbie 6 months ago

The most important attributes of a pg are to play turnover free and run the offense that coach Self wants. Is our pg doing that consistently? Uhh....no.

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Kevin Jenkins 6 months ago

Everybody has made great comments on Tharpe. I don't understand where his head or heart is. We have seen the talent he has, but he has no focus. I remember Tyshawn made so many bone-head mistakes and Self would bench him. Then he would come out playing great. But with Tharpe nothings working. We should be a great team. The PG is the guy running things and maybe it's too much stress for Tharpe? Let him start. We have better backups on the bench.. But if someone else starts, who do we have on the bench?

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