Advertisement

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Keegan

Column: KU point guards show flashes of potential in exhibition

Kansas guard Devonte Graham reaches to defend against a pass from Emporia State guard Perryonte Smith during the first half on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.

Kansas guard Devonte Graham reaches to defend against a pass from Emporia State guard Perryonte Smith during the first half on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.

Advertisement

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jamari Traylor, Brannen Greene & Landen Lucas talk about KU's 109-56 win over Emporia State

Jamari Traylor, Brannen Greene & Landen Lucas talk about KU's 109-56 win over Emporia State

Download podcast

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self says KU was better vs. Emporia State but still has work to do

Bill Self says KU was better vs. Emporia State but still has work to do to be ready for Friday night's season opener.

Download podcast

Judging the play of Kansas University point guards in exhibition games has some things in common with judging quarterbacks during spring football practices, when the QB is protected by a red jersey, which makes it tough to know how he’ll do when he’s not protected by his offensive line.

Naadir Tharpe left the team and was selected in the NBA Development League draft. Leading the team was his job a year ago but I sometimes wondered if he took leading to mean keeping the guy challenging for your position behind you.

In a Halloween surprise, Conner Frankamp announced his intentions to transfer because he wanted to play point guard, when in reality he would better serve the team as a zone-buster off the bench.

So now it’s down to Frank Mason III, a sophomore, and freshman Devonte Graham. They both seem more concerned with how they play than how they are used, which always is a good thing for a basketball team’s chemistry.

For what it’s worth, they both played well at both ends of the court in a 109-56 rout of Emporia State, a game in which the Hornets had six assists and 20 turnovers.

Mason and Graham combined for 21 points, seven assists, one turnover and three steals in 35 minutes.

UC Santa Barbara, picked to finish second in the Big West, represents a truer test of how well manned Kansas is at point guard because the UCSB guards do a nice job of finding their superstar.

Senior center Alan Williams, reigning Big West Conference Player of the Year as a junior, averaged 21.3 points and 11.5 rebounds to merit the honor. The best way to stop him lies in keeping him from getting the ball because once he gets it, he knows what to do with it, including draw fouls.

“I thought it was pretty good,” Self said of the defensive pressure applied on the perimeter. “I did. ... I thought we got out and defended them and created a little havoc and I thought our ball-screen defense was a little better. It’s nothing to be too excited about, but it’s a lot better than it was last week (against Washburn).”

Self said he thought Graham, who had a subpar game vs. Washburn, “played very well,” against Emporia State.

“I thought he got to the paint,” Self said. “He made a couple of bad passes, but for the most part, he created pace for us when he checked in. He didn’t have a great week of practice either so that was good to see him come out tonight and play with energy and play confidently.”

Self praised Mason for “taking care of the ball,” and said he is a much improved player from a year ago.

Wayne Selden also played some at the point, a good luxury to have in limited duty, but for Kansas to play to its normal standard, Mason and Graham will have to combine to upgrade the position from a year ago.

By the numbers: Kansas vs. Emporia State, Nov. 11, 2014

By the numbers: Kansas vs. Emporia State, Nov. 11, 2014

Comments

Steve Zimmerman 4 years, 4 months ago

Graham will be our floor general. Mason is already one. Selden can become another one, 6 assists!! - a luxury it is. Once the players get used to Selden's passing, we will see high number of assists consistently. if he can make Noel look better, i'm sure he can do the same to our bigs.

Reggie Flenory 4 years, 4 months ago

I like what I am hearing so far I'm super excited about cliffs development this year can't wait to see him grow. True test commin up Friday then kentucky

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 4 months ago

It's going to be interesting watching and comparing the development of Graham vs. Jones.

Tyler Capone 4 years, 4 months ago

I love our guards. One concern is i'm not sure if Greene has really improved at all from last year. Very one dimensional. Svi is only 17 so i'm not too concerned with him shooting 25% every game

Rodney Crain 4 years, 4 months ago

This is going to be fun to watch. Two young players that are going to be around for a lot of wins. They are only going to get better and better.

Joseph Bullock 4 years, 4 months ago

So true Rodney. And they both are unselfish, and are more than willing to play tough defense!

Joseph Bullock 4 years, 4 months ago

Tyler, Green has definitely improved. he was working harder at playing defense (although it is nowhere near where it needs to be). Also, even though he got taken out for taking a quick shot in the first half , Coach Self started him, the second half. Green is also our best shooter (I thought that, even before Conner left), but it is all about getting his shots, through running the offense! That is the key for him.

Mike Riches 4 years, 4 months ago

So impressed with Mason and Graham! Self said he hasn't seen much separation yet. At the 3, I don't see much difference between Greene, Svi and KO on offense, but I like KO and Svi more than Greene on defense. Really there's enough firepower on this team, none of those guys need to score 15 points a game...if they can knock down open threes and defend well, we'll be fine.

Len Shaffer 4 years, 4 months ago

"Naadir Tharpe left the team and was selected in the NBA Development League draft. Leading the team was his job a year ago but I sometimes wondered if he took leading to mean keeping the guy challenging for your position behind you."

Can someone translate that into English? WTF is he talking about? Did Tharpe try to keep Mason down? If so, that's the first I've heard of it.

Doug Merrill 4 years, 4 months ago

No - he played with insecurity, never certain he would keep the job, I think.

I had not heard that Frankamp wanted the point position. I thought it was about playing time, period.

I think he indeed would have had trouble getting on the court, come league play, if there aren't a bunch of injuries.

Tyler Capone 4 years, 4 months ago

Greene is a liability on defense and if he's our best shooter we're in trouble lol

Commenting has been disabled for this item.