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Friday, August 12, 2016

KU guards Graham, Mason turn heads at adidas Nations showcase

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) and Kansas guard Frank Mason III bump chests after an and-one bucket by Mason during the first half, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015 at Lahaina Civic Center in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) and Kansas guard Frank Mason III bump chests after an and-one bucket by Mason during the first half, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015 at Lahaina Civic Center in Lahaina, Hawaii.

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In late July, Jayhawks Devonté Graham, Frank Mason and Carlton Bragg teamed together at the adidas Nations showcase in Southern California, where some of the best college and high school players in the country competed in various scrimmages.

Earlier this week, DraftExpress.com, which tracks and predicts the top prospects on the NBA radar, released their Top 10 college players from the event and both Graham and Mason landed on the list.

Graham, who came in at No. 4 on the list, impressed scouts and analysts so much that DraftExpress bumped him from the second round into the first on their 2017 NBA mock draft.

Website president Jonathan Givony caught up with Graham at the event and Graham explained exactly what areas of his game he had been working on this summer.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” Graham said of the adidas Nations showcase. “I haven’t really been to a camp like this before. I was a little nervous at first, but once I got here I was just real comfortable, being aggressive, playing my game.”

The list was compiled by Julian Applebome, who was director of basketball operations of the NBA Development League’s Reno Bighorns last season. Applebome pegged Graham as a player with definite NBA potential.

“He has quite a bit of professional upside given his ability to influence the game in various ways, as a defender, as a shooter, and as a creator,” Applebome wrote. “It wouldn’t be surprising if Graham is able to take the next step as a prospect this season at Kansas, as many teams are looking for athletic guards in his mold who can hold their own on both ends of the floor.”

As for what specific skills Graham had been targeting, the junior guard from Raleigh, North Carolina, pointed more to mindset than fundamentals.

“Just being even more aggressive,” he told Givony. “I’ve been working on my jump shot a lot, being in the gym, constantly trying to get stronger and finishing around the basket.”

Mason finished sixth on Applebome’s list and his recent showing at adidas Nations certainly did not hurt his standing with NBA scouts.

“Mason won some scouts over in L.A. and is certain to get some long looks from NBA teams when his (Kansas) career is up,” Applebome wrote. “He is a tough, strong competitor who has been a major piece for Bill Self and a very successful, winning program over the last two seasons, and will absolutely have a long professional career wherever he ends up.”

Charity champs

Former Jayhawks Marcus and Markieff Morris and Tyshawn Taylor recently joined forces in Philadelphia to bring home the Danny Rumph Classic tournament title.

Playing for Team F.O.E., the twins and Taylor solicited help from NBA All-Star James Harden for the championship game, giving Team F.O.E. the title for the second year in a row.

“Philly’s got a lot of love for him,” Marcus Morris said of Harden in a post-tournament interview with AXG. “So I told him, just come out, show your face, we’re hoopin’, that’s what we do anyway. Not too many people will come to Philly, so the respect level was high for him and we had a great turnout.”

Taylor inks in Israel

Speaking of Taylor, earlier this week the lead guard on KU’s 2012 national runner-up squad signed a professional contract with Israeli professional club Maccabi Kiryat Gat.

After initially getting a shot in the NBA with the Brooklyn Nets, Taylor, 26, averaged 19.4 points per game playing in Venezuela last season.

Comments

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 4 years, 5 months ago

Well done boys. The Jayhawk nation is proud to call you one of their own. Both of you are excellent representatives of the university. It's been a privilege to witness your personal growth and accomplishments on the court over the past few years and we're looking forward to you finishing your college careers in style. RCJH

Jay Scott 4 years, 5 months ago

Just this past January the Chicken Littles were echoing Doug Gottlieb's comment that they were "mid major guards" and warning that the sky was falling because a new PG for this coming season hadn't been signed....

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 5 months ago

We all know that Doug Gottlieb is not a very good predictor, so your point is well taken. I echo Karen's comments, and just love to watch Devonte and Frank do their thing on the court. They are true leaders which is a huge advantage.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 5 months ago

There was a rough stretch last year following the first OU game but it's still amazing how quickly some fans start to flame out.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 5 months ago

Prediction: KU, 16-2, 2016-17 Big 12 Champion, 36-4, 2016-17 NCAA National Champion and, Jay, if you ever call me a Chicken Little, I will track you down and bop you right in the nose!! :)

Jay Scott 4 years, 5 months ago

No chance of that Tony. As a fan of architecture I realize that you're a legend.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 5 months ago

Prediction: KU 40-0, NCAATournament, Big 12 Conference and Conference Tournament Champs. I'm sticking with the undefeated prediction until we lose a game.

Last season when we lost 3 out of 5 games totally and completely freaked me out. I wouldn't call me a chicken little but I saw the sky falling for real. Thankfully Self and the boys put it back in place.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 5 months ago

Great news about fine representatives of KU Basketball. Things like this can only help us recruit for our frontcourt as well as being know for developing big men. Big applause for Frank and Devonte!

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 5 months ago

No harm in "going for the gold" Suzi. Like a current candidate has said many times, "If you are going to think anyway, why not think big!"

Mike Greer 4 years, 5 months ago

Now that my kids are about the same age as my Dad was when he was dishing out his words of wisdom to me, it's funny what sticks with you. He always said, "If you're going to wish, wish big!" Essentially if you're going to wish for a winning season, you might as well wish for an undefeated one.

John Randall 4 years, 5 months ago

Watching Team USA squeak past mediocre opponents this week in the Olympics, I'm more a believer than ever in HCBS' feelings about recruiting for character, BB IQ, team-first attitude with talent just another quality to be considered.

When Coach"K", with 12 elite talents to meld, Aus, Ser, Fra do nearly as well with only 4-8 such talents ... USA is shamefully lucky to have not dropped one or more in pool play! Maybe LeBron should be coaching ???

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