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Sunday, March 22, 2015

KU-WSU notebook: Conner the spy?

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— Former Kansas University guard Conner Frankamp, who will be eligible to play at transfer destination Wichita State next season, has been spotted in downtown Omaha with his parents this weekend. He’s not practicing this weekend with the Shockers or sitting on the bench during games.

His presence has led some to wonder whether Frankamp will provide information to the Shockers about the plays his former teammates run entering today’s KU-WSU game.

“I don’t know. Hopefully not ... if he remembers them all,” KU junior forward Jamari Traylor said.

Landen Lucas discusses excitement surrouonding WSU game

Kansas sophomore forward Landen Lucas talks about the Jayhawks' Sunday matchup with Wichita State, and the hype surrounding the in-state showdown.

Shocker Ron Baker a KU fan

Wichita State guard Ron Baker was a big fan of KU growing up.

KU Sports Extra — Kansas vs. Wichita State Preview

Tom Keegan and Matt Tait preview Sunday's Sunflower State showdown between Kansas and Wichita State.

Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall says he hasn’t consulted with the former Jayhawk player for what a media inquisitor called “behind-the-curtain intelligence.”

“He may have talked to our assistants,” Marshall said. “I don’t know that. I haven’t seen Conner since we’ve been in Omaha, nor have I spoken to him. So I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I don’t know that he’s talked to my assistant coaches, maybe he has, maybe he hasn’t. It’s been awhile since he’s worn their uniform. It’s a good question. I just don’t know the answer to it.”

Manning reflects on matchup: KU junior guard Evan Manning played games against Wichita high schools during his years as point guard at Lawrence’s Free State High.

“We went to McPherson every year,” Manning said. “We played Perry (Ellis, Wichita Heights) a couple times, Conner Frankamp (Wichita North). We played against Evan Wessel (WSU player, Heights) and I played with him (Wessel) in AAU ball. It will be fun to play against them (Shockers).”

Manning said he wasn’t extra fired up just because the Round of 32 opponent is an in-state school.

“I didn’t know much about the rivalry back in the day,” Manning said. “It’s kind of weird. We’ve never played them since I’ve been alive. It’s never been a big rivalry. It’s big for the state, really interesting for the state. It’s going to be a fun game. It’s a game to go to the next round. We know how big it is. Whether Wichita State or another opponent, we know it’s a big game.”

Rivalry to be renewed?: WSU junior guard Ron Baker of Scott City was asked Saturday about the idea of playing KU and K-State on a more regular basis in the future.

“Every Kansas school would like that, I think,” Baker said. “Obviously we’re not the BCS school, and I can see how KU and K-State wouldn’t want to have a home-and-home. It’s just kind of how the RPI and BPI and all that stuff works.

“I think it would be good for the state if we had like a Sunflower Showdown. Even if we’re not playing each other, maybe the three schools played different opponents in the same location. That way Kansas can kind of bond and watch those three games in a day. Something simple like that would be neat.”

WSU senior Wessel on his former Wichita Heights teammate, Ellis: “He could always be the best player on the floor when he’s out there. But he still was unselfish. He’s a great teammate and a lot of fun to play with.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity” WSU starter Wessel added of going against Ellis. “Great teammates back in high school, and it will be fun to play against him here tomorrow.”

Kelly Oubre Jr. was asked if he watched WSU’s Round of 64 win over Indiana: “I think I took a nap during that game,” he said. “I woke up and saw they won. That’s the matchup we have and the matchup everyone is looking forward to. We watched a lot of games last night (at hotel). There were a lot of close ones, but it wasn’t a lot of madness going on. It’s great to see a lot of great basketball going on around the country.”

Backup point guard Devonté Graham on his first NCAA Tournament: “You’ve just got to go out and compete. You’ve got to put it all out there and leave it all on the court because you never know, it might be your last game. You can’t take any possessions off, and you have to have fun.”

Of today’s game he said: “We have to focus on the defensive end, and the offense will take care of itself.”

And of guard Fred VanVleet, Graham said: “He’s an aggressive player. He looks to attack and score. Every time he has the ball in his hands, he makes plays for others, and he’s a really good point guard for them. He’s just really aggressive at all times on the court. You just got to stay with him and pay attention to him at all times.”

KU coach Bill Self on Wichita State: “It’s one thing to have a great team. It’s a totally another thing to have a great program, and they’ve got a great program. They’re going to be in the game every year, and I think that’s obviously a compliment to Gregg (Marshall, coach) and his staff, but also a compliment to how hard his players work. There is obviously a culture there that will remain intact for years to come.

“They had the great run where they went to the Final Four, they followed up by going 35-1. They followed that up by going 29-4. That stuff doesn’t happen all the time, but if you have a run of good players, you maybe can find lightning in a bottle once or twice, but they’re going to find it year in and year out. Those two returning (Van Vleet, Baker) will make them a top-10, top preseason team next year. I think America should take notice, and obviously has, of the job that’s been done there.”

Self on the importance of the game: “I’m not going to lie. I think there are certain games that are big, and I think this is one of those games that’s bigger. I’m not going to sell it that way to our players, but they know that it’s a big game. They know it’s bragging rights in the state. I think we have that same sense when we play K-State, and certainly when you haven’t played a team in a long time and there has been talk about playing a team, I think it certainly adds to the anticipation without question.

“I can’t help but feel it a little bit, thinking it’s obviously a big game to fans. It’s obviously a big game to people at Wichita because we have a lot of fans in Wichita, and of course, bragging rights and water-cooler talk and all those things. Even though that doesn’t matter, it’s something that I know it does exist.”

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman on embattled Texas coach Rick Barnes possibly getting fired: “There’s no reason it (UT program) should wither away like this when competent replacements like Shaka Smart or Tony Bennett or Gregg Marshall are waiting in the wings. Heck, (AD Steve) Patterson, shoot for the moon and go after Bill Self or Sean Miller. ... The hope here is Barnes will willingly step down and take his $1.75 million severance package into retirement. He could go kicking and screaming like Mack Brown before him, or he could stay in Austin and be celebrated during his golden years as the coach who re-energized and stabilized the program, who brought T.J. Ford and Kevin Durant to Austin, who kept Texas nationally relevant. But there’s been too much backsliding the last seven years.”

Svi update: KU freshman Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, who has played sparingly as a 17-year-old freshman, said Saturday he planned to return to KU next season. It has been speculated he might return overseas to play for a club team.

Of the NCAA Tournament he said: “Trying to win a national championship with my teammates is a lot of fun.”

He said he’ll continue to be ready when called upon.

“I am shooting pretty well. I need to keep shooting same way every time and hit the open shot,” he said.

Comments

Dale Rogers 7 years, 3 months ago

I think Svi is going to be a major asset for this team in the future.

John Randall 7 years, 3 months ago

You are right about the future, but don’t forget a freshman with little game time was our best guard and nearly saved the Stanford game. Svi sits in much the same position this year.

Jonathan Briles 7 years, 3 months ago

I was disappointed when Conner left, but was happy when I heard he was going to WSU and was going to wish him luck, but if he gives up information on our plays and throws his former teammates under the bus I will forever hate him. Hopefully he has more integrity than that. It is good to hear Svi is coming back though. He has a lot of good basketball ahead of him.

Jack Jones 7 years, 3 months ago

Seriously! Hate is such a ugly word. First, Coach Marshall wouldn't ask, and Conner wouldn't volunteer that kind of information; and secondly, surely you don't think Coach Marshall doesn't already have all the information he needs from personal observation and multiple scouting reports. For Bedore to even suggest this, with the stupid headline, is both absurd, as well as way below KU standards. Show a little class, Gary.

Andy Tweedy 7 years, 3 months ago

I was bummed when Conner left KU last summer, but I happened to sit next to an NBA agent and former D1 coach Friday, and he didn't seem to think KU would miss him at all, thought he belonged in the MVC. That doesn't make him right, but maybe it's really not such a big deal he's gone. I agree with both of you, Aaron and Jack, what exactly is Conner hiding in his little black book that any coach hasn't already seen on TV? Most likely nothing.

Len Shaffer 7 years, 3 months ago

Why WOULDN'T Coach Marshall ask??? If you're a coach, you do everything you can to get a leg up on your opponent. And who knows what nugget of information he could get from Connor?

And Conner would have every right to volunteer information like that. He's not on KU any more, and his job is to help his team win, even if he can't do it on the court.

I think Marshall is being disingenuous in his answer, and I would assume that he and Conner HAVE talked.

John Randall 7 years, 3 months ago

Gary doesn't write the headline – only the article.

Whoever writes headlines (subject to editorial approval) is fortunately anonymous – and needs to stay that way.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 3 months ago

I would understand if he gave information about us because we are not his team anymore. He has moved on and so have we so he can do what he wants because that stuff will happen. He can't exactly give information on Kelly and Devonte though so he can only do so much. I transferred to a rival high school and I gave information so that we could win.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 3 months ago

Texas is a sleeping giant in basketball. That's a program that could become a consistent top 10 program with the right coach. There is elite level recruiting in their own backyard, they will pay among the top level programs, their facilities (other than Erwin) are state of the art, and fans will support them when they're elite. With the right coach, they become the team that battles with KU every year for Big 12 titles and recruits. I hope they do get rid of Barnes and bring in that coach because that will benefit KU in the long run having that consistent challenger for the Big 12 crown, especially if Hoiberg stays in Ames and makes it a 3 team battle on an annual basis.

As far as Frankamp giving them insider info, Self's been at KU long enough that he's not going to be able to give away any secrets. KU will play man to man defense unless very desperate, they will play through Ellis and try and get the high low going, Brannen Greene needs to be covered at all times, and KU has no true low post scoring threat as Ellis and Traylor both do their best work on offense from the FT line area.

Robert Brock 7 years, 3 months ago

UT could be a lot better next season. They may only lose Holmes, a senior, and they add three good-quality perimeter players. Barnes may not be done; don't forget that he is the winningest coach in UT hoops history.

Ashwin Rao 7 years, 3 months ago

I get the feeling that he is done. For a team that was supposed to win the Big12, it was not even relevant. They had the best player in the roster as well. They may give him a chance, but the thread that is holding him is quite weak.

Robert Brock 7 years, 3 months ago

The League may not be ready for someone with the footwork of the late Joe Cocker. He'll be back.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

The NBA drafts on potential Robert not the player his is today. His offense alone is worth a mid first round draft choice if not even lower if someone falls in love with his potential, like the 76ers.

Ashwin Rao 7 years, 3 months ago

Aaron, not so blatently, wrong people may hear you! ;)

I agree... Good coaches (like Coach Marshall) would see these things at first glance... no need to ask a player.

Joe Ross 7 years, 3 months ago

Feel the same about getting Barnes out. Being battle tested for March is absolutely essential, and Texas is not pulling its weight in the Big 12 given all of their advantages.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 3 months ago

Aaron you just gave away our game plan! We are doomed! Oh, and Barnes needs to go because UT keeps underperforming with all of its talent every year.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

Agree I would add Scott Drew and Bruce Webber to that list as well. Barnes, Webber, Drew are 4 conference wins a season minimum for us every year (5 this year). Bankable wins. Please give them all long term contracts.

We do not need another Trent Johnson at a school like Texas. I don't think they would get a top tier guy, but a hungry coach might be just as dangerous.

Not sure we have any secrets to give away.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 3 months ago

Trent Johnson to UT would not be a good thing for KU BBall.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

Exactly my point. i agree they get a guy like that in there and we are going to have issues with Texas ongoing.

Michael Lorraine 7 years, 3 months ago

I cannot imagine the circumstances in which Barnes will be coaching in Austin next year. If he is, UT may as well say we just don't give an S about basketball.

Vernon Riggs 7 years, 3 months ago

Knowing what is going to do and stopping a team from doing it are far apart. Every KU game is on the television. There should be no surprises.

Joe Ross 7 years, 3 months ago

“It’s one thing to have a great team. It’s a totally another thing to have a great program, and they’ve got a great program...There is obviously a culture there that will remain intact for years to come." --Coach Self

I've been preaching this! There are those who have said there is only one class responsible for their success, and after that class is gone WSU will fall off. Neither is true. Preach on, Coach Self.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

I respectfully disagree.

Its Coach speech. He is trying to show Marshall how to be a respectful coach by example. This is how you treat your opponent. Coach Self is right on spot. He said the same thing about TCU, Rider, NMSU, every team this year, He always says positive things about every team we are playing. Always is a class act.

Not sure where the leap to "after that class is gone WSU will fall off". Never said that. Look at how different their team is after losing a couple of guys from last years team. Their interior play is off, their bench is not contributing except for fouling.

Their coach is good, their guards are very good, but 3 conference championships in 4 years is a beginning. Just a beginning.

They could beat us today, KenPom has it as a 51/49 game. Does not mean we need to put them on our schedule.

Joe Ross 7 years, 3 months ago

The "leap" comes from that particular comment which has been bandied about over and over in the comments sections of articles dealing with WSU.

Not every comment I make is intended for you personally.

Secondly, I dont know how anyone can divine the intent behind what a person says (e.g., that Coach Self is trying to teach Coach Marshall a lesson) short of expressed information. Because none of us can read minds, we have to take his comments at face value.

Third, there is evidence out there upon which Coach Self bases his comments. Its not like he's way out in left field. On the contrary, his comments show he has a firm grip on the state of the program for our neighbors to the south.

He's right in what he says.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

Ok emotion creeping in which is clouding your perspective. I will let this go after this.

There have been so many WSU articles on here hard to keep track but I do not recall anyone linking one class and that once it leaves they are done. Somebody may have said it and I just missed it. I did not.

Coach praises every single program we play against, no difference with his comment about WSU. You are reading too much into his comment. There is evidence on every single other comment for every other program too. Again this is a typical respectful comment he often makes. He always plays it humble, always reflective, he knows how to be careful about keeping it positive.

I hope we play well today, I really hope we win and can move on to the next team and topic,

John Randall 7 years, 3 months ago

Coach Self doesn't say these same things about every opponent, their coach, program, etc. Bill is a straight shooter comment-wise but never disrespectful or gratuitous.

Any well informed reporter could write "Self comments . . ." ahead of time and only need to change a few words before submitting his copy.

Michael Lorraine 7 years, 3 months ago

If Marshall decides to become the new Mark Few then we can expect them to be good every year. If he doesn't leave after this season then when?

Gerry Butler 7 years, 3 months ago

I don't think its stupid of Gary at all for his headline to the article. are you telling me you don't think something like that wouldn't cross Connor's mind? I would be willing to bet the ranch its crossed his mind. would he do it? no I'm sure he wouldn't, but for you to say that he or it hadn't crossed his mind is crazy, it crossed Gary's mind as well as 1000's of others about that possibility that he might. for you to say that it is absurd , is ABSURD happens more then what your sheltered mind realizes. welcome to the real world

Kent Kossoy 7 years, 3 months ago

Tell me the WSU coach doesn't violate NCAA rules, I will buy that. This unfortunately is part of competition. While I think it is wrong, it isn't illegal and most coaches would take advantage. That is why sports and integrity no longer coexist.

John Randall 7 years, 3 months ago

Sure would be a possibility, with two likely results:

Two sure marque BigXII games a year – until next realignment queers the round-robin schedule.

Conference win streak less likely to surpass UCLA under GilbertWooden.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 3 months ago

Indiana may also be open and they'd be a fit for Marshall as well. Marshall is on record saying he isn't leaving unless it's for a blue blood or somewhere he can win a title and Indiana and Texas fit the bill and both could be open.

Brian Wilson 7 years, 3 months ago

I am sure that the assisttnat coaches picked the brain of Connor. And I am sure Connor gave them pointers. Scouting the other team is nothing new and getting info from anywhere you can is fair game. Now that the season is over. We better hope kentucky loses and a lot of their players stay. A lot of the the 15 players are waiting to see what happens.

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