Does the best freshman PG play in Kansas?

  • For the entire college basketball season it has been said that the best freshman point guard in the nation plays for Syracuse. Tyler Ennis was a five star recruit, and a McDonald’s All American, with offers from prominent colleges such as UCLA, Memphis, Illinois, Cincinnati, and defending national champion Louisville.

    Ennis has helped the Orange to an undefeated start to the season, while starting at arguably the most important position on the floor he has averaged 12.0 ppg, 5.4 apg against only 1.4 topg, and 2.5 spg.

    Then we have the challenger, a freshman who nobody talked about before the season started, who unlike Tyler Ennis, is not undefeated in his college career, but has helped his team bully it’s way into the AP polls. This person is named Marcus Foster. He was a three star recruit, with offers from Kansas St, Cal, Creighton, Oklahoma, Lehigh, and SMU. While these programs are respectable, they are not Louisville or Syracuse.

    Foster was not a McDonald’s All American. He did not play in the Jordan Brand Classic. Few people who were not Kansas St fans had never heard of him before November. Some casual college fans still do not know who he is, and yet he is putting up numbers on par with Ennis. The freshman averages 14.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, and 2.0 apg against 2.3 topg. He has also been credited for having excellent defense, and is high on the list of why Kansas State holds its opponents to 60.8 ppg (good for 19th in the country).

    Have our Jayhawks already faced the best freshman point guard in the country? I would love to hear what others think.

  • @TheDrunkenJhawk assists to TO’s .8

  • @TheDrunkenJhawk, until Foster and KSU beat KU, gotta pick him behind Tharpe. Tharpe could have the same numbers playing for KSU. Mason probably could too. Foster may even be behind the WSU PG. But Foster is having a good season. End is? He is good, but probably not sharply better than the KU, WSU and KSU guys. All Hype Team guys can never match their hype. Just ask Andrew Wiggins. It’s impossible even when you play very well.

    Hype kills.

  • @TheDrunkenJhawk At this juncture, it is hard to argue against Ennis’ success, considering the season record of the Orange. Sound freshman numbers, no team losses…

  • @TheDrunkenJhawk Would you trade Frank Mason for Marcus Foster, right now, straight up?

    I wouldn’t. Foster is playing well, no doubt. Interesting topic to consider. But for my money, I’ll take Mason all day.

  • I don’t have the time, or multiple TV’s in my home, to watch much hoops besides KU and Wiscy. Therefore I haven’t seen Ennis, and don’t remember the KSU kid when we played him. But the number that jumped off the page was the 2 assists per game to 2.3 turnovers. Ennis has a 4 to 1 ratio, which is off the charts.

    Some web page named ranks Ennis as the 4th best freshman in the country while Foster is the 32nd ranked player. In fact Stevie Clark, OSU point guard is ranked 14th, interestingly right ABOVE Andrew Wiggins, now there’s something to debate! (hoopsnerd was the only place I could find player ranks. Yahoo used to have one right on their main basketball page until they ruined their website.)

    When I saw your headline, I thought you were going to say Mason was the best freshman PG. Frank’s potential is there, but he’s got a ways to go in my opinion, especially in knowing when to pass and not shoot.

  • @REHawk I hate it when you are so sensible, coach. 🙂

  • Foster is a good player. He’s even a player that, on a better team surrounded by better talent, could become an all conference level player. But he’s not a pro.

    Ennis will likely be a pro. I watch him and feel like he’s going to play in the NBA. Not next year, but likely within two years he will be in the NBA. I don’t see that with Foster. Ennis just handles everything so well for Syracuse. He runs their offense, takes over when he has to, doesn’t turn the ball over, causes havoc on top of that zone, etc. Foster is a very good player on a pretty average team.

    If you asked Boeheim to trade Ennis for Foster, straight up, right now, he would laugh and hang up the phone. If you asked Weber about Foster for Ennis, he would close the door and have at least a half hour closed door secret meeting about the trade before he gave you an answer.

    As for Foster for Mason, I think Bill Self would actually listen on that. Foster is a bit bigger, so while he and Mason have similar games, Foster might hold up better. Self would think about it before he said no. He wouldn’t call a secret meeting with his assistants to discuss it, but he would weigh the pros and cons himself. Boeheim wouldn’t even entertain the offer.

  • Tarik was asked this same question. Here’s his answer…

    “No disrespect by any means,” KU forward Tarik Black said when asked about Foster. “They’re all great players. But I’m not even sure which player you’re talking about.”

    Read the whole article here on CJ Hawkzone ran by our friend J. Newell. TCJ: Defensive play highlight…

  • @HighEliteMajor-I bet Brucie Weber would trade Foster for Frank, unless he’s just half-baked. Surely not?

  • @TheDrunkenJhawk

    Thanks for offering up a quality thread. We can use more fans stepping up and posting their thoughts.

    When comparing Foster to Ennis I focus in on what @wissoxfan83 posted showing the difference between A/TO ratios. However… players are blessed with whatever talent is also on the court and of course the coaching is important. Also, the style of offense plays a role in establishing a PGs stats.

    Ennis is the real deal, and I think there are several freshmen PGs in the B12 that deserve plenty of attention: Mason, Foster (KSU), Woodard (OU), Clark (OSU)… to name a few. All of these guys stand out now. Syracuse is near the top in the rankings and still undefeated, so Ennis is bound to receive plenty of attention (not that he doesn’t deserve it anyways).

    We’ll see how he does in March… the real test.

    I’m excited as all he11 to have a shot at Syracuse this year. I hope they go undefeated until the tourney and I hope we get a shot at them. That is on my wish list for this season! Carmelo will be in the crowd, along with several old Jayhawk players… and we will kick the holy krap out of them! I believe our entire offensive focus is geared around crushing the zone… we’ve come a long ways in the last 30 days and by March, we will be itchy to play zone defenses!

    Bring it on! I’m already envisioning Boeheim sitting with his hands wedged under his glasses and a look like he’s just come down with the norovirus! They won’t have an answer for Wiggins or Embiid or Selden or Greene or Tharpe or Ellis… and all of college basketball will be scratching their heads, wondering how Kansas carved through the Syracuse zone like a sharp hot knife through butter. I can hear all the silly commentators now, not knowing what to say… “this sure isn’t what we expected…” Bilas will find some ridiculous tangent to focus on to mask his basketball illiteracy because he isn’t the All-Knowing God on basketball he thinks he is, so he’ll use a Duke lawyer tactic.

  • @drgnslayr

    I would love to play Syracuse and exorcise some of the demons.

    '95 or '96 Elite 8 They mauled us out of the tourney. We were the better team, Pierce, LaFrentz, Pollard, Vaughn were all on that team I believe.

    Early part of the next decade our only good Syracuse memory. We destroyed them on the weekend in the tourney. Afterwards Roy had the monkey off his back press conference erasing some of the ‘bad’ teams from the late 90s.

    2003 also happened.

    About 5 years ago we played them in KC in one of those silly early season tourneys and they beat us.

    So let’s bring them on. And after dispatching them as you predict, let’s exorcise another demon and play Arizona, and well, OK, after that, Kentucky for the championship!

  • No question that Foster has been a pleasant surprise for KSU. With Angel Rodriguez leaving there was a huge void to fill and Foster has done a remarkable job.

    Let’s also keep in mind that with the new contact rules, many average PGs are looking like superstars because every time they drive to the basket, they will either be given a wide berth with the hope that one of the bigs can meet him at the rim and block the shot or they draw a foul; the charge call has almost become extinct and it is rarely seen anymore.

  • @HighEliteMajor Understandable that you would keep Mason over Foster. But would you trade Mason right-now for Ennis right-now? (I’m wondering how you would reconcile the ‘rankings’ differences at this point?)

  • Ennis is without a doubt the best frosh PG in the country and possibly the best PG period (Marcus Flop has clearly spent the off-season working harder on his flop than his J, otherwise, I would say it’s him).

    Anyone would be a fool not to trade Mason for Ennis today, but long term, Mason may be the better investment. Ennis is almost guaranteed to OAD regardless of whether or not Syracuse reaches the promised land. I’m willing to bet in his Jr. and Sr. seasons (sorry, but Frank has next to no chance to reach the NBA because of his height alone, though if anyone can buck those odds, I’d bet its him), he can match and/or exceed those numbers (except for steals, unless he just makes a huge leap with that particular skill). So the real question becomes, is one season with Ennis here and now more valuable than the potential for what Mason can do in the future? Tough to say, given that we have no idea what the future makeup of the team will look like (The only ones I’d count on seeing for the 15-16 season are Frankamp, Lucas, Traylor, and Mickleson), but I’d put money on KU cutting down the nets at least once in Mason’s tenure (whether that’s this year, next, or with some completely unknown team).

  • @konkeyDong

    That is the quintessential question created by the one and dones. Do you rather have a solid, steady, experienced senior or an exceptional but very inexperienced/immature freshman?

    I don’t have a general answer to that but would have to look at specific pairings.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “That is the quintessential question created by the one and dones. Do you rather have a solid, steady, experienced senior or an exceptional but very inexperienced/immature freshman?”

    That used to be the question… until it was realized that we’d also have to endure several years of developmental seasoning on the players not quite ready for prime time.

    I think Self has adjusted to a philosophy of mixing both kinds of players. He is trying to put the best team he can on the floor, with a bit of extra consideration for the value of having some developmental players.

    This is an uncommon year by all standards. Regardless who we signed, we were starting over on our starting 5. And now we are challenging for #10 in the B12 and a possible March run because we signed several players capable of OAD.

    As excited as we all are this year… just wait until next year! Most of our team will return with a year of seasoning… and then we sprinkle in a few potential OADs who can contribute immediately!

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