Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Frank talk: KU’s Mason considered Maryland

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) looks to throw a pass over Connecticut guard Sterling Gibbs (4) during the second half on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) looks to throw a pass over Connecticut guard Sterling Gibbs (4) during the second half on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.


Kansas University junior point guard Frank Mason III says he definitely enjoyed his postgraduate year at Massanutten Military Academy. Yet, back in the fall of 2012, he was relieved to be granted at least one weekend pass by officials at the strict Woodstock, Va., school.

“I went on a recruiting visit to Maryland. I got a chance to get out of the mountains and go watch them play (a football game). I couldn’t do that often. It was a great time. The game was great. I think they won,” said Mason, who ultimately chose KU over Maryland, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Providence, Seton Hall and Rutgers.

“The environment was special. They’ve got a very good basketball program, a good football program. It’s just a good school overall,” Mason added of KU’s upcoming basketball opponent in the NCAA tournament Sweet 16. Tipoff is 8:40 p.m. Thursday in KFC Yum!Center in Louisville, Ky.

“We can’t wait to get there,” Mason said of Louisville. The Jayhawks are scheduled to leave Allen Fieldhouse at 1 p.m. today, drive to Topeka, then fly charter for the next round of the NCAAs. “We’ve not made it to the Sweet 16 since I’ve been here. It’s a different feeling. I think the guys are still not satisfied. We want to accomplish more,” Mason added.

KU will hold an open shootaround from 3:10 to 4 p.m. Wednesday in KFC Yum! Center.

Tough foe: KU coach Bill Self has started preparing for No. 5 seed Maryland, which enters with a 27-8 record, including NCAA first- and second-round wins over South Dakota State (79-74) and Hawaii (73-60).

“I honestly believe they have as good or the best starting five in the country,” Self said Monday on USA Today’s national podcast. Maryland boasts starters Melo Trimble (6-3, sophomore), Rasheed Sulaimon (6-4, senior), Diamond Stone (6-foot-11, 255-pound freshman), Damonte Dodd (6-11, 250, junior) and Robert Carter (6-9, 235, junior). Jake Layman, a 6-9, 220 senior, lends more muscle off the bench.

“I don’t think it’s one of those things you look at them and say, ‘If we could stop this and that, then we should be good.’ There’s a lot of this and that with them,” Self said. “We’re evaluating it and breaking it down right now. We’ll have a game plan, but when you are balanced at all five spots, you are much more difficult to guard. All their guys are capable of having very big nights.”

Self, Turg are friends: Self and Maryland coach/KU grad Mark Turgeon go back a long time.

“I played against Turg his freshman and sophomore year,” former Oklahoma State guard Self said of the former Topeka Hayden point guard, who played for KU and coach Larry Brown from 1984 to ’87.

“When I came up here as a grad assistant (to Brown), he was our sixth man (during KU’s run to 1986 Final Four),” Self added. “He was really a good player. I’ve known Turg for a lot of years. I’ve always been a fan of how he’s conducted himself. He’s really good at his trade, obviously. He’s got these guys not only playing extremely well this year, but set up to be very good moving forward as well,” Self added.

Turgeon, who was a captain his junior and senior campaigns, worked on the coaching staffs of Brown and Roy Williams at KU.

“I know he loves KU,” Self said. “He obviously loves Maryland and has done a fabulous job there. It’ll be an emotional game (for Turgeon) but an emotional game for us, too, because the stakes are the highest they’ve been.”

Winner advances to the Elite Eight on Saturday against Villanova or Miami.

He’s a Royals fan: Turgeon and his sons, Will (16) and Leo (10), attended the deciding Game Five of the 2015 World Series between the Royals and Mets at Citi Field in New York, the Baltimore Sun reports. In 1985, Turgeon was at Kauffman Stadium for Game Seven of the Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Royals, of course, were crowned world champs both times.

Turgeon told the Sun jokingly that he has “brainwashed” his sons into becoming Royals fans despite the fact they’ve lived in Maryland five years and, before that, Texas, when he was A&M;’s coach for four seasons.

“They’re diehards now,” Turgeon told the paper.

He feels fortunate he has seen two Series clinchers of his favorite team.

“There are not many of us. I was in the building in ’85, and I was in the building (again),” Turgeon told the Sun. “For sure, me and George Brett were at both games.”

Turgeon is married to former KU basketball manager Ann Fowler. They also have a daughter, Ella (12).

The day after the Series winner, Turgeon told the Sun: “Ella and I will have a dad-daughter night. She had a girl’s night out with her mom (instead of going to game), so it all worked out.”


Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

I met Mark Turgeon at Margarita's in Wichita circa 2001. It's a 30-and-over kind of dance club. Turg knows how to shake a leg. Kinda. At least he can keep a rhythm. They've got an awesome house band called Lotus who used to play with Martina McBride's father (a must-stop if you're in Wichita on a Friday night). I had watched Turgeon when I was much younger and knew well of him. He was one of my favorite players. At the time I met him he was coaching the Shockers. I think he changed the culture there. He's a very friendly guy and I'm glad he a product of Kansas.

And I hope he loses...HUGE.

Michael Maris 6 years, 6 months ago

I've listened to Lotus back in my days of living in Wichita. Back when I lived in Wichita, Lotus played on Sunday Night's on S. Rock Road (just north of E. Harry Rd). I can't remember the name of the bar (back in those days though).

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

Club Groove used to be over in that area. Ron Denoncourt..."Heavy D" (owner), Stu and the Cru, and the D.J. was Brad "L. A." LaFever.

Michael Maris 6 years, 6 months ago

Fireside was the name of the facility (back in the days).

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 6 months ago

Off-topic, but Oklahoma State just hired SFA's Brad Underwood, and TCU just hired Pitt's Jamie Dixon.

TCU should get a boost from this hire. Oklahoma State however has gotten a HUGE upgrade, and I believe that it will immediately give life back to that program.

The Big XII just got two more great coaches added to an already stacked league of respected coaches.

And if Steve Prohm can lead ISU to an upset of UVa then the cyclone fans might just forget about Fred Hoiberg.

Glen Miller 6 years, 6 months ago

I feel like top to bottom, we have not only the most competitive conference on the court, but on the coaching sidelines as well. Two great hires that will only improve our conference outlook and quality! Dixon was a great hire for TCU and should take them up a notch, but I think Johnson didn't get the credit he deserved. That program was nothing before he got there and he got them headed upwards at least. I do think it was time for a new coach, but I respect Johnson and I wish him well.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 6 months ago

I agree. Trent Johnson is a very good coach. He made positive strides at TCU, and the facility upgrades will help Jamie Dixon more than they helped coach Johnson. He deserves credit.

Jamie Dixon can make TCU a competitive team, which is no small feat, but it won't happen overnight. Scott Drew had Baylor on an upswing in his 4th season. They are not as low as Baylor was when Scott Drew took over. But they are pretty low. They are averaging 2 wins a season in the Big 12. So it will be interesting to see if Dixon can turn them into an NCAA tourney regular and how fast.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 6 months ago

One thing that makes me glad about the OSU hire, is that they got him before KSU could get him. KSU should have canned Weber and hired Underwood, but they waffled and now he's at OSU.

Mike Greer 6 years, 6 months ago

I was really disappointed that OSU hired Underwood, although I knew he was on the short list. My disappointment comes from the style of defense at SFA and how it mirrors Huggins pressverginia. Obviously SFA didn't have the bench to commit the number of fouls that WVU does, but, I still don't enjoy the foul on every possession mentality of that style and the resulting parade to the freethrow line. Maybe it's just me. I like defense and understand it's an integral part of the game, I just don't like the constant fouling that takes place and honestly I don't think enough fouls get called against teams that use this type of defense. I guess in my opinion its a tactic used when you don't really have a good team and can play with a minimum number of fouls and make shots. I enjoy steals, I enjoy dunks on fast breaks, but all the reaching and grabbing just doesn't do it for me. Hopefully this will not become the style at OSU. The thing is, I don't even enjoy these games when KU wins.

Jonathan Allison 6 years, 6 months ago

I agree about the style of play being unattractive. With there being lots of stoppages of play and lots of foul shooting. Also, it's a little unfair when the pressing team gets away with so many fouls simply because they play so aggressively that it's hard to tell when they are and aren't fouling. There could be multiple fouls on every possession.

That said, it all comes down to wins and losses. And it's hard to argue that that style of play is ineffective. It has leveled the playing field for teams like VCU, SFA, and WVU such that they are able to compete against more talented teams.. And if you look at what SFA has done to it's league the last three seasons, it's been incredible He went something like 59-1 in the league over three seasons. Granted the Southland Conference is no juggernaut, but it's very impressive none-the-less.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 6 months ago

This league is getting very defensively oriented over the past few years.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 6 months ago

KSU has a penchant for waffling. When Bill Snyder retired the first time, they probably could have had Gary Patterson from TCU, who is a KSU Alum. However, their negotiations were leaked and Patterson pulled out.

Then, they ended up with an assistant coach from Virginia who was lackluster at best. They had to bring Coach Snyder back to right the ship. Will be interesting to see what they do when Snyder retires for good. If his son doesn't get the job, things could fall apart again. They might anyway, since Bill Snyder will be a very tough act to follow.

The Jamie Dixon hire at TCU seems a little odd, even though he is a TCU alum. Leaving the ACC for the bottom of the Big 12 isn't a move up. Makes me think that his departure from Pittsbugh might have been a mutual decision. Now, Pitt is free to go after one of their alums, Sean Miller at Arizona.

Mike Schell 6 years, 6 months ago

I would be shocked if Sean Miller left Arizona for Pitt! Granted I realize he's a Pitt alum, and the ACC is a better basketball conference then the "Conference of Champions" but given that Arizona Is at or near the top of the pac12 every year I don't see him leaving to fight with unc and duke. As for the Hawks vs Maryland, if we can push the tempo in transition and keep Maryland's bigs off the glass I think we gave a good shot at advancing! RCJH

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

I certainly hope the basketball team doesn't take the approach of "...we'll be fine if (we do this or that)". I hope the mindset is rather the converse: "...if we don't do x, y, and z we will lose."

The latter approach instills a greater sense of urgency, and is therefore a greater motivator.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 6 months ago

I disagree with you there Joe. Using don't in everything to motivate people can create a negative vibe and can tighten people up and nobody plays well when they play tight. Keeping things positive tends to keep people looser and happier and more productive and is how KU has been doing much better this year.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

Recent emperical evidence suggests that an overly positive focus leads to disappointment rather than success. If you look at tournament teams to whom Kansas has lost over the course of Bill Self's tenure, it has largely been the teams we felt good about being able to handle rather than those we knew we had to be serious about playing. Case in point being the loss to VCU, where the Morrii led Kansas into a pre-game battle of words where that feeling bubbled over into words shared with the opponent, "You all had a great run, but it’s about to come to an end."

Result? Disappointing loss.

Im sure we felt good about playing Butler, Belmont, UNI and others too.

When you prepare like you have to take care of business to get the job done, you do a better job of taking care of business to get the job done.

Noah Oone 6 years, 6 months ago

Excellent point Joe. I think the reason that happens is because there can be more focus for the team when they understand how difficult it will be to beat a certain team.

I hope we don't see a repeat of 2013 and Michigan considering how similar the situations are. Maryland is very similar to Michigan - nba point guards, though Burke>>>Melo, great shooting guard, though Hardaway is better than Sulaimon, and tough big men. Not only that, but Michigan and Maryland both had almost exact seasons. Both were in a position to be #1 but lost mid season, and ended the regular season losing 5 or 6 out of 8, then bowing out of the conference tournament early. Let's hope this is not a repeat and the guys are ready.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

Excellent point about Michigan!!! Even though Michigan had pro-caliber players (including the sons of some former NBA guys), Kansas was favored in that game. We were a 1 seed and Michigan was a 4. That's about the same as this year (Kansas 1, Maryland 5). In addition, Maryland has got several players who will hear their names called on draft night (Stone, Trimble, Layman) whereas Kansas has no lottery pick this year (McLemore, '13) nor a player as polished as Jeff Withey ('13, second round) though Diallo has been mentioned in some mock drafts as a second-rounder. To put it flatly, Maryland is very capable of beating us. Preparing with that mentality will bode well for Kansas, who is a veteran team with superior team chemistry and greater depth. On paper, the Jayhawks are the better team, but let's not forget that Maryland rose to the number 3 ranking in the polls, and they got there for a reason. We've got business ahead of us, and I'm sure Coach Self is taking this team seriously, rolling up his sleeves, and getting to work.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 6 months ago

What does this have to do with your initial point of the players thinking "if we don't do x, y, z, we will lose."?

Which statement sounds better to you:

If we don't turn the ball over, take bad shots, and commit stupid fouls, we won't lose.


If we protect the ball, take good shots, play smart defense, we will win.

Both statements say the same thing, but one uses negative language to make the point and the other uses positive language to make the point.

It's about getting a positive frame of mind and using positive language to get there. Repeating words like protect, good, and smart create a positive environment and gets people in a positive frame of mind.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

It's a fair question which I will answer in the following ways.

First, there is the observation that many of the most successful athletes hate losing far more than they love winning. But consider this statement. The force that drives them most powerfully is the avoidance of a loss. This is perhaps because sports are ultimately a re-enactment of our struggle against nature (and/or other tribes who in our evolutionary history competed for common, finite resources). If you were successful, you ate a meal and survived to see another day. If you were not successful, however, the consequence could very well mean you are one day closer to your ultimate demise. Avoidance of ultimate pain is psychologically a stronger motivator than gaining of pleasure. One may argue that because animals risk death to become the leader of a harem, for example, that this observation is actually reversed, but this is not the case. Written in our DNA is the 1st commandment: that passing on our genes to the next generation is the ultimate trophy and death is a consequence that is of lower priority. For this reason, salmon will undertake a grueling, arduous journey upstream to fertilize their female counterparts' eggs, even though the swim will ensure their destruction.

Second, consider this synopsis which has a scientific basis:

We found evidence for the hot hand but not for the gamblers’ fallacy. Gamblers were more likely to win after winning and to lose after losing. After winning, gamblers selected safer odds. After losing, they selected riskier odds. After winning or losing, they expected the trend to reverse: they believed the gamblers’ fallacy. However, by believing in the gamblers’ fallacy, people created their own luck. The result is ironic: Winners worried their good luck was not going to continue, so they selected safer odds. By doing so, they became more likely to win. The losers expected the luck to turn, so they took riskier odds. However, this made them even more likely to lose. The gamblers’ fallacy created the hot hand.

The findings show that a mindset which seeks to avoid loss yields greater results than one seeking to make great gains. Keeping the negatives in mind has real-world consequences on overall performance, with safety-seekers being more successful than glory-minded individuals. Study here:

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

Third, if a positive mindset is sufficient to maintain the chi, then at time-outs taken where teams have under-performed one would expect no negative remarks from the coach. Behold:

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

Im of the opinion that athletes begin a game considering both the rewards of success and the cost of failure. Both of these weigh in their minds, especially in a format where it's lose-and-go-home. I dont think an athlete should have a mindset of all of one vs. all of the other, but if I had to lay money on it Ill bet on the guy who hates losing more than loving winning every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

Avoiding loss resonates more with our natural inclinations as humans.

And again, the empirical evidence has shown that when facing teams that one might consider we would be better favored against, on the whole we have done more poorly against those teams than one might assume.

Keep in mind, Im not saying that we should allow ourselves to be psyched out. But a healthy respect for another team's capability of beating us is more useful than assuming our talent is superior and on that basis we will win the day.

Consider for the moment, how much motivation the team had not to lose in the Round of 32. It created a positive impact on the team.

And last but not least. Consider the home win streak. I suggest to you that the reason we do so well at home is because of a mantle that each player takes upon himself: "We're not gonna lose at home." A loss at home is more significant than a loss on the road. Why? Because the players feel that they have to protect something. No player wants to endure the agony and "shame" of losing in Allen. They would feel that they have let the fans down. (It is true that a homecourt advantage is a positive atmosphere, but the significance of a single loss > significance of a single win in that environment. Your own intuition will inform you as to why.) Man...if we had that mindset in the Tournament, it'd be National Titles lined up for future generations...

Eliott Reeder 6 years, 6 months ago

And to your point, our streak of league titles is an even better example. Players are quoted over and over every year saying something along the lines of "We just couldn't let ourselves be the team that ended the streak".

William Leoni 6 years, 6 months ago

Wasn't it the other B-schools, Bucknell and Bradley, that sent KU packing? I get your point, though. And going back further under Coach Williams, there was UTEP and Rhode Island!

William Leoni 6 years, 6 months ago

Wasn't it the other B-schools, Bucknell and Bradley, that sent KU packing? I get your point, though. And don't forget UTEP and Rhode Island under Coach Williams!

Kristen Downing 6 years, 6 months ago

I "think" these guys aren't satisfied. Hopefully he meant to say we definitely are not satisfied yet.

Chad Harris 6 years, 6 months ago

Pretty sure we are reading too much into what each player says. These boys wants to win, plan and simple....oh and they will. I'm tired of hearing from fans, "Hopefully they don't play like they did in the second half against UNCONN." Who cares, that game is in the past. Let the players play and the coaches coach.

Noah Oone 6 years, 6 months ago

We say that because how many times this year and over the years have we seen that? I can't tell you how many times they have come out of the locker room and just throw lazy passes and look sloppy in general. Can't do that and expect to win against a team as talented as Maryland.

Chad Harris 6 years, 6 months ago

@Noah - We all saw and have seen that in the past coming out for the second half, It happens, you can't be perfect. What is important is that the players are geared up and ready to play. We don't need to worry about anything, that is the coaches job. And we all know he will have them prepare. KU will tighten up. We all can see the hunger in each player? They want to really win. They will.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

Point is, we all want the same thing here. All Kansas fans. How Kansas comes out against Maryland is something we have little control over, and certainly we have no control over their mindset. Here's the main thing. We all know that Coach Self is not going to take this game lightly, and so the best we can hope for is that the guys are ready. With a name like Maryland, they're certainly not going to "sneak up on us". So maybe at some point we as fans (and I certainly include myself) just need to do our part as fans, root for our team, and hope for the best. We have a pretty good team. Let's hope they let those horses run and leave it all on the court.

Mike Greer 6 years, 6 months ago

I think Tyler Self put it best when interviewed a week or two ago " . . . It's not so much my dad likes to win, he really really hates to lose. . ."

It certainly seems the past couple of years have put a bad taste in the mouths of the veteran players, and they want to avoid that this year. Perry wants to go out a champion and the team does too. You can see the difference from the past couple of years.

Cardell Mosley 6 years, 6 months ago

So.....what about Mason, almost going to Maryland??

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