World conquered, nation on deck for Kansas basketball


Team USA coach Bill Self, center, hugs Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) as Frank Mason III carries an American flag after a Team USA double-overtime win against Germany Monday, July 13, at the World University Games in South Korea.

Team USA coach Bill Self, center, hugs Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) as Frank Mason III carries an American flag after a Team USA double-overtime win against Germany Monday, July 13, at the World University Games in South Korea. by Mike Yoder

First, the world title. Next challenge for the Kansas University basketball team, a tougher one, the national title.

In winning USA’s first World University Games gold medal in men’s basketball in 10 years, Kansas revealed so many positives about itself. The games also showed there is so much to like about international rules.

Seven quick takeaways from the World University Games:

1 - Thanks to Frank Mason, KU will be tough to beat in close games. Fearless Frank has the quickness, skill and boldness to get where he wants to go with the ball and finishes at the hoop and sets up teammates with equal effectiveness in the clutch.

2 - Even when Wayne Selden’s shots don’t drop, as was the case in the double-overtime, gold-medal-game victory vs. Germany, he has the confidence to come up with big plays late with the game in the balance. He’ll face more athletic players in the college game, but he’ll also be playing the right position this season and far more often than not will be at an athletic advantage against the opposing small forward.

3 - Hunter Mickelson, an active force at both ends, has earned a spot in the rotation with his shot-blocking, tip-ins and consistent energy. Energetic incoming freshman Cheick Diallo projects as the starter, but when he has his freshman moments, KU coach Bill Self has somewhere to turn for relief. Curiously, Self went more with Landen Lucas, the better rebounder but not the defender or scorer that Mickelson is, for most of the second half. Mickelson held German center Bogdan Radosavljevic scoreless in the first half. Radosavljevic awakened when Mickelson sat.

4 - Self had to have made a strong impression, setting himself up for bigger jobs on the international stage. There isn’t a better man to coach the Olympic team than Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, committed through the 2016 Games in Rio. But Coach K isn’t going to want to do it forever. His outrageous success as coach of the national team has to increase the chances of the next coach also coming from the college game. Team USA’s performance — so strong on effort and team play — in South Korea should move Self to the head of the non-Coach K division of college coaches, even ahead of Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Kentucky’s John Calipari.

5 - The international shot-clock rules (24 seconds, a reset to 14 seconds after a missed shot rebounded by the offensive team, eight seconds to advance the ball past mid-court) eliminates dead seconds, forces players to make moves and puts the game more in the hands of the players. It would work great in the college game.

6 - The international timeout rules, including limiting each team to two in the final two minutes, keeps an exciting, close game from grinding to a halt. It would lead to quicker games on TV, so that instead of watching the end of a game that doesn’t interest the on-deck audience, viewers can watch all 40 minutes of the games that interest them. The sooner college basketball goes to this format, the better.

7 - The added practice time, overseas bonding, strong performances under pressure can only benefit the Jayhawks in their quest to win what would be Self's second national title and fourth NCAA tournament title for the school. The roster has depth, experience and a clutch performer with the ball in his hands at the end of games and a smart, driven, seasoned coach pulling it all together.

None by Bobby Nightengale


Suzi Marshall 5 years, 7 months ago

It spells troubles when two of your team leaders take 59% of the team’s total shots and makes only 24%. However, this team has a third leader by the name of FRANK FRICKIN’ MASON!!!!

You can’t make this stuff up. After Moenninghoff nailed a bomb with a couple of minutes left to take a 77-75 lead, the Hawks looked dead when Germany had the ball back with a timeout at 1.20. Then, like a great champion, the bloody and tired in the final minute the Hawks climbed up from the floor. Wayne Frickin’ Selden landed a staggering shot from the left , followed by an uppercut from Moore, then Frank Frikin’ Mason put the Krauts on the matt before Wayne Double Frinkin’ Selden delivers the KO.

Down 77-75 with a little over a minute to play, we scored the last 9 points!


Ashwin Rao 5 years, 7 months ago

The post makes you sound excited... ;)

I am still floating in the air from all this! #RCJH!

Glen Miller 5 years, 7 months ago

9 games in 11 days without full conditioning and practice time......... any team would have jello legs at that point. The shooting percentages were down because the team was absolutely exhausted. I'm not taking the shooting percentages in the last few games to mean much. I'm more concerned with our will to win, no matter what and that's something I haven't seen since our Title season. Selden and Perry shot low percentages, but still stood tall and were there when the team needed them. You have to be able to think about all factors and conceed that numbers don't always tell the story.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 7 months ago

9 games in 11 days is pretty full conditioning :-)

but definitely agree with you. Good post.

Dale Rogers 5 years, 7 months ago

I got the impression from various Bill Self comments that he learned he has the players he can allow to be more creative, offensively, and perhaps use set play offense less frequently.

Mike Riches 5 years, 7 months ago

This was a great win for Kansas, for our players and certainly for Bill Self. It was also a great win for USA Basketball, who made the decision to choose one college program to represent our country in these games. There are so many advantages to using that kind of a system; it really was a phenomenal idea. And our Jayhawks just set the standard for any other school that may be chosen in the future to represent the USA in these games: Undefeated and a gold medal! That will be the gold standard for which Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, or any other school that may be chosen in the future, will be striving. Jayhawk Nation (as well as SMU and FGSU Nation) should be dang proud today! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!

Dirk Medema 5 years, 7 months ago

SMU and FGSU are sort of like cousins of the family - yes?

Jaston Archie 5 years, 7 months ago

Wow, ESPN just put the Kansas victory as top headline under NCAAM, the world must be ending. It's about time!

David Lara 5 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, I've been shocked at the depth of indifference to these games. In contrast to Kentucky's tour of the Caribbean or wherever last preseason which was all over the 4 letter network. Ridiculous. Representing the USA in an all world tournament vs. scrimmages against some semi-pro clubs. WTF are they programming over there?

Mick Allen 5 years, 7 months ago

How appropriate for Frank Mighty Mouse Mason to be draped in the USA flag immediately after the game. He is as tough and competitive as any player we have had in recent memory. How encouraging to know we have him for 2 more years. At the end of close ball games, I want the ball in his hands and I know he wants it in his hands.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 7 months ago

What a journey Mason has taken from Freshman year disasters in The Bahamas (Wake Forest, "Nova..) and Florida to now.

Seems like only yesterday you and Self were promoting Mason to skeptics. Now he's a bona fide star leading the Hawks to a World Championship. Lets hope this is only the start to something really special.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 7 months ago

2 years from now could be the Frank Mason year.

Next year could be great with Wayne, Perry, Diallo, (a healthy, 55% 3pt shooting) Greene, and others. I can see the Sr's and those 4 leaving next April, which could leave a really big hole on both the roster and leadership. (With his size, I'm guessing he stays around, tho maybe he plays himself into the draft.) 2016 would be Frank's team. Sort of like Sherron in 2008/09.

Rodney Crain 5 years, 7 months ago

100% agree. He willed us to win. Very Impressive.

Mick Allen 5 years, 7 months ago

Thank you for the acknowledgement Suzi. Bought in early because Frank was so tough, competitive and athletic. I have certainly made my share of mistakes in evaluating KU basketball personnel, but glad I was right about Frank.

Michael Bennett 5 years, 7 months ago

I liked the wider lane. Opened it up for more driving. Also liked the shortened shot clock after an offensive rebound, but thought 14 was a little quick. It forced some really bad shots. I'd love to see it go to 20. The limit on time-outs was great. Games didn't grind to a halt.

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