PG options



  • So in the wake of Tharpe’s largely inconsistent & ineffective junior campaign as the starting PG, it appears as though Self is scrambling to find another option for next season. Coaches watched 6’3" JuCo player Tarik Phillip this week. Phillip averaged 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists last season for Independence Junior College. There is also interest in former Appalachian St. de-commit Devonte Graham, a 6’2" senior guard from the Brewster Academy. I have so far been unable to locate stats on Graham, but here is an excerpt from an article by Yahoo Sports columnist Jeff Eisenberg:

    “Graham had a strong season for Brewster, helping the school win the National Prep Championship. Graham showcased high-major talent, showing an ability to finish at the rim, find teammates off the dribble and keep defenses honest with his jump shot. He also is a ball-hawking defender capable of jumping the passing lanes or forcing turnovers with his ball pressure.”

    Additionally, Self is recruiting options for the future. Self & Howard went on an in-home visit to recruit #1 2015 prospect Malik Newman, a 6’3" combo guard from Mississippi. That’s a no-brainer. But KU has also “been mentioned as a possibility” for 5’10" Boston University sophomore Maurice Watson Jr. who would have to sit out a year before becoming eligible.

    The good news is that we see that Self is recognizing this as an area of need, or at least something that has been lacking from the past two squads. My questions are first, what does this say about Self’s faith in his current crop of point guards? My hope is it says that Self is done leaning on Tharpe, but might it also suggest a lack of confidence in Mason & Frankamp to adequately fill the role?

    My next question is who as fans would you like to see there next season? Are you hungry for some new blood at the position, and if so are you more intrigued by Phillip or Graham? Or do you think some combination of Frankamp & Mason can get the job done, and if so how would you define their roles and divide their minutes?



  • @icthawkfan316 Personally, I’d like to find a Jacque Vaughn type point guard and see us turn up the speed several notches. If that does not happen, I think Frankamp would do a nice job in our current stupid Globetrotter Shuffle offense. He’s smart and hard working and doesn’t make stupid mistakes.



  • @nuleafjhawk great shooter and a safe pt. He can’t penetrate or guard.



  • @nuleafjhawk It’s interesting that you point to Vaughn. I loved watching him play as much as anyone, but he had some incredibly talented players around him and yet never managed to lead us to a Final 4. It doesn’t surprise me though, as Vaughn was probably the last player to ever hold a press conference to tell us he was staying at KU. Knowing you the little bit that I do from these boards, that had to endear him to you.

    Personally I’ve always been an Aaron Miles guy. To me, his ability to find teammates in a position to score has been the gold standard for PGs here in the modern era. He was also a plus defender, although not on the level of RussRob.



  • @icthawkfan316 at this pt, I’d take either one of them. Nice pts!



  • @nuleafjhawk

    “…our current stupid Globetrotter Shuffle offense.”

    Offensive statement that I agree with! Thanks for crediting the right source!

    I think we need to stay looking for a PG. So far, Conner just doesn’t have the athleticism required to be a premiere PG. But maybe he’ll up his game over the summer. This is the summer (from FR to SO) for him to develop most. He is a hard working guy, but I’m not sure if he can lift his athleticism enough to make the difference needed.

    I love Frank Mason… but I’m not sure of his leadership skills or basketball IQ. I easily put him above Tharpe, just because he doesn’t freak out. He has ice water running through his veins.

    The PG should easily be the most athletic player on the team. Even though he may only be 5’10" or so, he should be able to bring it to the rim on trees, make a shake and bake move to bomb a 3 over a 6’6" guard from Kentucky, penetrate on the best defenders, be a total lock down defender stopping the best driving PGs, and last, be able to put all kinds of trapping pressure out on the perimeter and make steals. The guy should be superman.

    The guy should LEAD the team… be a great communicator… always hustle and have a feel for managing tempo… have excellent basketball IQ… have ice water running through his veins in March… and he should be a motivator.

    That’s all I want for Christmas… my two front teeth, and a dynamo PG!

    That’s what it takes to up our chances of bringing home gold in March. Anything short of that and we open ourselves up to losing to mediocre teams, or teams that do have a superman PG.



  • @icthawkfan316

    Malik Newman has sick talent! Wow… a real scorer at PG for Kansas?!

    I’m doubtful he would consider us. First… check out his tape:

    Now look at those plays and imagine him doing it in a Jayhawk uniform. You can’t… because after 1 or 2 of those he would get benched for not feeding the post.

    Here is even a better link… from the Kentucky perspective. They already have Kansas on his list. Check out the comments… “Don’t need him” because the kid has some moxy and swagger. Okay… we’ll take him! Wow… a PG with a set of rocks… bring him on!

    http://kentuckysportsradio.com/basketball-2/2015-recruit-malik-newman-shows-why-hes-ranked-1/

    Self would have to design a new offense that opens up big time opportunities for his PG to land this superman!



  • @drgnslayr I don’t think this guy would be benched! Been awhile since we’ve had this type of guard.



  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I can’t really recall that we’ve ever had a PG with this much offense. Ever. His crossover is sick. He creates scoring space like a seasoned NBA’r.



  • @drgnslayr I can absolutely envision him in a Kansas uniform. Anyone remember Josh Selby? I could find a high school high light tape every bit as good with Selby on it. And even playing out of position, he was a stud for about 7 games until injury further derailed his season.

    Yeah, I’ll pass on anything from the “Kentucky perspective”. I just ate breakfast and would like to keep it down.



  • @icthawkfan316

    Ha… bravo for saving your breakfast!

    Selby was a stud. But I saw those tapes, too. I think this kid is a solid notch up on Selby. More athletic… and more developed scoring moves.

    This kid doesn’t have a gram of baby fat. Selby had plenty of it. He wasn’t nearly at the speed this kid is.

    To illustrate the difference, let’s go ahead and land him so we can compare his first 7 games to Selby’s!



  • The fact that Self is looking at PGs means he is not comfortable with what he’s got. Tharpe we’ve discussed in detail on this site. I find it interesting that he evidently is not comfortable going in to next season with Mason or CF at PG. I would have thought he might be comfortable that Mason could step up with CF and Tharpe as backups? Clearly he has no confidence that Tharpe will step up. Also, don’t some of the other guys seem like Tharpe, revisited? Lower ranked PGs pursued by non-power schools. Tarik might be different…I don’t know.



  • @Hawk8086 I’m still assuming turner will be here, what schollie would this new pt guard take?



  • Would have to be a transfer. Many have speculated about White. Something must be up.



  • @drgnslayr LOL…deal! And thanks for providing the links. Definitely worth Self’s time to try and land him, even if it’s a long shot. I mean, who really thought we’d land Wiggins?

    Even if this kid is Selby plus, my point is that Self at least can point to Selby and say “look at this. We had the number 1 ‘combo’ guard back then too, and when he was healthy he starred.” It’s too bad we didn’t get more Selby. On so many levels, but just a little bit more and this would be a major example that Self could point to on the recruiting trail. As it stands, it’s obviously less than ideal, but it’s something.

    Self could also point to Tyshawn. He could say “look, these other schools are going to tell you Kansas isn’t a good point guard school. But look at what we did with #70 ranked Tyshawn Taylor. Look how we let him drive at will to the hoop.”



  • @icthawkfan316

    The only downside on Malik is that he is 6’3". I wish he was 5’11". He has the speed and skills to create scoring space without needing height… but the taller you get at PG, the more you open up the chance that the kid could jump to the league sooner. The NBA always rewards height.

    If he was 5’11" he could do crazy stats in college and would still probably be a 4-year player.

    That is the only downside I see with this total stud!

    I know we don’t want to get into PGs that could possibly be OAD. Not many exist. The Harrison twins might go OAD because of their size and decent talent. We need to build continuity at the point spot.

    I’m not sure TT is our best selling tool to recruit this kid. First of all, Malik already has better scoring moves than TT had (and has today).

    I think our selling point has to be a new twist into our offensive sets. We have to come show him we are going to give him the structure to be a star, and we are going to give him the total green light.

    To be honest… If Calipari has an opening, it will be hard to snag him over Cal. This kid is cookie-cutter material for the dribble-drive.



  • @icthawkfan316 I would think all Self would have to say is, “what pt wouldn’t want to play w/turner, Alex and oubre?”



  • We need a new flair to our offense.

    We can’t just be known as a hi/lo team.

    No star PG wants to just play hi/lo.

    We have to create something that opens up driving lanes for the point and where we give him a total green light to play alpha dog.

    I’m not sold on us doing that. We didn’t do it for Wiggins. We made him carve his own space without help and told him to brute force his scoring at the rim.

    We need some new offense.

    I hate to say this… but I will… maybe we should look at Iowa State’s offense and try to pick a few moves from their plays. Fred knows how to showcase guard play, and he does it in ways that can be unpredictable.



  • @icthawkfan316

    Selby is an ubber talented player and I cannot understand why he has not gotten an opportunity in the NBA. He was the co-MVP of the 2012 Summer League with Lillard and look where Lillard is and Selby played mostly in the D-League and then a few games in China and Croatia where he was waived due to an injury and I am not sure if he is even playing now. What a colossal waste of talent.



  • @drgnslayr Looks like a stud. I say we go all in on this kid for 2015 and use what we have this coming year in Mason and CF and maybe we will be pleased / surprised with the results. We only have one scholarship for next year and I hope that Turner fills that spot. We really don’t need another unranked PG transfer or Juco player.



  • We need a new flair to our offense.

    We can’t just be known as a hi/lo team.

    No star PG wants to just play hi/lo.

    You know UConn runs a version of the hi/lo offense, right? I don’t think that’s the problem…



  • @konkeyDong Really?



  • @konkeyDong Really?

    @KULA Have you ever really watched them? I’m not saying it’s the exact same offense that Self runs, but it’s a 3 out 2 in hi/lo base. Three guards, 2 pgs and a wing, 1 at the top of the 3pt line, the other two high on the wings, a big in the hi post and a big in the opposite low post with screen action at the wings and high post. The objective is to get the ball into the high post either off the bounce or by passing from the perimeter to collapse the D or simply go to the rim if they don’t commit. You have big to big passing options, back screens for baseline lobs, drive and lob off the high screen, pick and roll on the wings… it’s all there.They don’t run the weave, which I know you hate :), nor do you see a lot of big to big screen and switch, but the framework is the same. The thing that UConn did well during the tournament that KU sucked at all year was getting penetration off the dribble. Without good ball handlers/passers, you have to feed the post from the wing. It also hurts your ability to run screens for the wings because you won’t get that pick and roll action and it allows the roll defender to commit to the switch. They also didn’t have true post players (Daniels is a combo 3/4. Top ‘big’ in minutes after him was Brimah), so they de-emphasized post-up play. Anyway, long story short, there are only about 5-6 base offensive sets that you see run any more, so why would you be surprised that another team would use the hi/lo?



  • @konkeyDong I just figured it was the personnel, not the system. Bill’s best teams have always had two good ball handlers.



  • @icthawkfan316

    Selby is an ubber talented player and I cannot understand why he has not gotten an opportunity in the NBA. He was the co-MVP of the 2012 Summer League with Lillard and look where Lillard is and Selby played mostly in the D-League and then a few games in China and Croatia where he was waived due to an injury and I am not sure if he is even playing now.

    Selby’s fate was sealed when he decided to leave as a projected 2nd rounder. Lillard was a lotto pick, so he’s guaranteed a 3yr contract. With that much cost sunk in on that pick, you pretty much have to make a go with him or else, why commit the money. Selby, on the other hand, put himself on the ‘perform now or bust’ track. The NBA doesn’t coax players along. If they don’t see improvement year-to-year, they’ll drop you and look for the next big thing. The great tragedy/irony of Selby’s decision is that he left because his mom worked at a job that only paid her about 30k a year or less and as a D-leaguer, he’s probably not done much better (I have no idea how well China pays). He might be making a decent middle class living, but if he’d just stayed for another year or two he could have been a national champion and a millionaire.



  • @drgnslayr You are not sure of Frank Mason’s leadership skills or basketball IQ? The young man is a Freshman, and he chose KU. He’s off to a good start. He got meaningful minutes. That’s enough for me. Are you questioning his intelligence on the court as a Freshman playing D-1 ball. I recall a young man on a pretty big stage against the Duke Blue Devils early in the season attacking the rim at will and getting to the free throw line. I also remember the end of the Villanova game, when the team stood flat footed as he raced down the court to make a spinning layup to put us right back in the game. He may have not played great the entire season, but for an undersized guard in his first year in a Bill Self program, I think he did great, and can only get better. Please explain your thoughts? Thanks.



  • This is always an interesting discussion.

    First, we have never not had a point guard. The us of the phrasing “combo-guard” is silly. Malik Newman is a combo-guard. That only means that he’s a 2 guard, that can play some point – and has played point at either AAU or high school.

    But not D-1. Again, not D-1.

    Either you can be a point guard, or not. The position of point guard comes before and is more critical than any other position on the floor. The skill set of handling the ball under **extreme duress ** is the first hoop a team must jump through to have success. If that base skill is not present, your chances of winning are limited. Once a ball handling limitation is spotted, a good coach will exploit it.

    How often was there talk of Selden playing the point as a combo guard? Too often. And we saw that he has very limited ball handling ability. So limited that he was moved out of the 2 guard spot in the press break.

    It is why coach Self, in the fall of 2012, said we need to sign “a point guard.” When he already had CF signed, and Tharpe on the roster. Ball handling is the know all, say all.

    There are only 2 listed point guards in the ESPN top 100 for 2015. It is why coach Self is beating the bushes right now for a “point guard.” It’s all about competent ball handling. If he doesn’t score a ball handler, he might go into 2015-16 with just Mason and Frankamp.

    Malik Newman is a 2 guard. I would not project him to be a point guard option at all. The only time I would assume that is when we actually see it. Until then, he’s a 2 guard.

    Personally, I think Mason is the real deal. I wouldn’t read anything into Self search for another point guard now other than depth, and that a player will transfer to open the spot up.

    If Mason does not open as the starter next season, I’ll be surprised.



  • @KansasComet

    "You are not sure of Frank Mason’s leadership skills or basketball IQ? The young man is a Freshman, and he chose KU. He’s off to a good start. "

    Hey… I’m a big fan of Frank. But he is a question mark as to running a team all season and at the caliber we need. Yes… he was a freshman, and I give him high marks for his freshman year. But he is still a projected leader of this team. He hasn’t earned it yet. He hasn’t been given the chance to be the leader on and off the court yet. He hasn’t shown us if he can read defenses and find exploits. He’s green… and we’ve had several guards that showed potential before, but to reach the very top (meaning March-caliber) Frank is an unknown.

    I think more people in here are coming around to the reality that the PG position is the most-important position on the team. That position will pretty much make or break the entire season, definitely March hopes.



  • @HighEliteMajor

    I agree with your last post entirely.

    Yes. PG is without question the most-important spot on the floor.

    Yes… Malik is a 2, and as a compliment, let’s call him a combo guard… which all that means, in a pinch he can play PG.

    Until proven otherwise, he is a 2.

    He does appear to have excellent dribbling and ball handling skills. Even if he does, that does not mean he will make a great PG.

    Most HS players who are about 6’2" and taller get slotted into the 2 guard position. Most of these teams have a smaller guard they want on the floor, so the natural decision is to move the bigger guard to the 2. It does not always indicate the skill level and whether or not they can play best at the 1 or 2.

    But he would have to prove he can be a PG. It would be to his advantage… especially when he wants to go to the league…

    HEM… you get it… entirely!



  • @HighEliteMajor Are we in good hands with Mason at the point, and Conner Frankamp at the 2. I think so, if Self lets Frankamp shoot the ball. We could also go large from time to time with Selden and Green/White if need be.



  • @drgnslayr you kinda threw me off with the whole basketball IQ thing, that’s all. I’m cool with you saying he is green. I don’t know what better options we have?



  • Funny that PG Malik Newman’s tape did not have a single pass as a highlight. The only high school mix tape of a guard that has ever impressed me is below:

    Still hoping for the miracle that he can turn into a PG…



  • Found a PG for the future. He’s only in 8th grade now but just imagine

    Here’s Why This 8th Grader Is Nicknamed ‘The New White Chocolate’ (VIDEO) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/11/jordan-mccabe-the-new-white-chocolate_n_5133442.html



  • @icthawkfan316 Cedric Hunter. 6’ 0" with a 37" sleeve length!



  • Interesting discussion. Would anyone say Nadir regressed this season? Is there hope that it will click senior year like it did for Tyshawn and even Elijah to a lesser extent? Nadir won some games for us this year too. I forget which, I think Baylor was one where he seemed to hit many key shots.

    On the other hand, go get the JUCO kid, get the #1 guard from Mississippi. Get the transfers, get the decommit from podunk state. One of em will work out!



  • Mason has not yet made the transition from HS point guard and primary scorer/volume shooter to that of directing a Division I team. His first instinct is to look for the shot first and the pass second; after all, this is what he was expected to do and he did that well in HS.

    Hopefully by the beginning of next season he understands his role in the Self system and develops into the guard we think, or at least hope, he can be. He has the speed and the hops, he just need to get it under control and look for the pass and easy basket first and scoring next.



  • @KansasComet

    Not many college players have excellent basketball IQ. That means they find ways to exploit what ever other teams throw at us.

    We certainly didn’t see much basketball IQ this year. When teams did something that gave us trouble… we usually couldn’t adjust to it then dominate.

    Stanford was a good example of that. We just putted along until towards the end when we tried a desperate press.

    We should have just found ways to exploit their zone.

    It’s easy to point fingers at Self on that one… but maybe he couldn’t get them to wrap their minds around the changes and execute. Still… then isn’t the coach at least partially to blame for that, too?



  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Right on. Mason will come around… but you nailed his first hurdle to get over.

    @JRyman

    Wow… what a player! He could teach Tharpe a thing or two about “no-look passes.”

    @wissoxfan83

    I thought Naa regressed this year. Sure… he had some improvements, and he won a game or two for us. But this year we got a real taste of him totally not showing up for several games. You just can’t do that at KU. You can’t come out and have games where your production is ZERO!

    I was super high on Naadir coming into this year. I kept holding out hope… but by the end of the season I had lost hope and would rather have seen us give all that PT to guys with potential to be a part of our future.

    There is something going on with Tharpe. He must lead at least two lives… maybe his Jayhawk PG life and maybe something destructive or at least something that kept him from being totally committed to Kansas basketball. That would explain why many games he didn’t show up. His mind was on the other part of his life. Just a guess… but I bet I’m right on that one.

    Too bad because Tharpe had all kinds of potential. He does possess whacky speed and athletic ability, but he didn’t apply himself 100%. And who wants to invest another year in him? This is KU… we have certain expectations that we will do what is best for the team and whatever gives us our best shot. I can’t believe that will be Tharpe next year.



  • @drgnslayr was at the Stanford game. Lots of missed layups that game. Team got behind early and tensed up. Frankamp looked as if he had been playing all season. Had Black not fouled out, we may have won the game. Cannot say too much for the rest of the team. Lucas had a nice alley-lop jam, and did not see him much after that. Oh well, I am looking forward to next season. I think we are in real good shape.



  • http://www2.kusports.com/news/2014/apr/12/kansas-hoops-signees-reach-summit/?mens_basketball

    Phillip, who according to WVSports.com and West Virginia Metro News (wvmetronews.com), averaged 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists last season. Phillip — he hit 55 percent of his floor shots including 38 percent from three — orally committed to South Carolina in 2012 but failed to qualify academically. After sitting out his senior year at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Academy, Phillips averaged 26 points and seven assists a game his postgraduate season at Queen City Prep in Charlotte, N.C.

    I think he has the potential to take over Tharpe’s minutes and may even lead the team as the starting PG. I don’t know if he has good enough handle, but his assist numbers are pretty good for the point. He will be a junior, but I have feeling he is 22 already after sitting out and spending time at the juco. He should have the mental toughness to play for Coach Self after all he committed to Frank Martin at South Carolina.



  • @icthawkfan316 Watch Devonte’s highlights : ME LIKEY… [

    ](link url)



  • @icthawkfan316 Good post man. I am intrigued by Graham also. He sounds pretty solid for a PG. If the kid can pick up Coach’s system, can he be like Hinrich or Russell? If so, lets have at it. The best option I think is from within though. Frankamp and Mason played better when they were in games, at least most of the time. Frankamp really impressed me late. If Hudy can pack 15 - 20 lbs of muscle on the kid over summer, I think he is our man. We’ve already seen good things from Conner, we know what he can do. Or atleast some of what he can do. Same thing from Mason. Bottom line in all this is, we need Tharpe to stay on the bench next year unless he can grow a couple inches, get much stronger and be able to get back on D and move laterally quicker than his match up next season. How likely is that happening? shaking my head



  • @Lulufulu85

    " If Hudy can pack 15 - 20 lbs of muscle on the kid over summer, I think he is our man."

    I think you are right… but it is a big “if!”

    If Conner can build more fast twitch muscle… he is our guy. Big difference between fast twitch and slow twitch. He needs to become a lightning rod.

    You just never know with young guys… what they can mature into. His fight is with his genes. A tough hurdle for anyone to get over. But it has been done before. Guys come back after summer and are completely different players.

    Conner will become a sophomore… and Hudy gospel is that players advance the most between freshmen and sophomore years, in the summer. I hope she is right concerning Conner, and I hope the guy comes back a fast twitch beast!

    I think Conner has the mind to lead. Good basketball IQ. He’ll learn to read defenses and know what to do… thinking ahead of our opponents. That is what it takes.

    He needs a very specialized training schedule this summer. All of it pushing reflexive tension… what is called “burst training.” A complete focus on fast twitch development.



  • @HighEliteMajor You nailed the requirement for ball-handling under extreme duress (trapping zone, etc) as being a position-defining quality. Where we shall respectfully differ, is getting hung up on the “combo” guard definition.

    Combo-guard: Generically defined as a guard that can handle the ball, as well as having demonstrated consistent scoring potential. Now, as defined by Bill Self back in about 2006: “Bigger, physical guards who can handle the ball as well as score. They make us more dangerous from every position, and having more than 1 on the floor (at the “1” and “2” positions) makes us doubly dangerous”…(This is an ‘almost’ verbatim paraphrase).

    There is NO defining description of a combo guard’s height-requirement, nor is there any sort of limitation any longer on saying a 2guard is “only” a shooter and “cannot handle the ball”. That just doesnt make sense in today’s game (as defined by the last 7-8yrs).

    Let’s talk specifics:

    1. Jacque Vaughn era is over. I revere what he did for KU, and even in the NBA as a backup. But I do not miss his playstyle. He was a “pure PG” if one wants to personify such a definition.

    2. Russell Robinson, 6’1, 200lbs was a 22ppg, top30 ‘combo’ guard. He literally did it all. Told by Self to stop doing his mini-Langford style hoop penetrations, as he wanted/needed him to be more of a distributive combo. Is on record as saying his favorite player was Jarrett Jack, a tough-ass, 6’3 “combo” guard who was like 200+lbs, and was the lead guard for GaTech, where Russell almost went to college.

    3. Keith Langford, 6’4, 205lbs. Now he was your typical 2-guard type slasher. Great off the dribble penetration, but not a primary ball-handler. I would/will always call him a “2” or “shooting” guard, he played that position, but actually was not known as a very good 3shooter. He admitted he did NOT buy in to Self’s defensive philosophies, and admitted in summer of 2008 that Self was right.

    4. Mario Chalmers, 6’1, 185lbs. Uh-oh, another ‘combo’ guard, MickeyDAA. Failed as passer, with another combo guard, RussRob showing a much better knack for ball distribution & even ball-handling, which is my WHOLE point of this post: some combos will be better than others, but we need multiple do-it-all types. Lets not go backwards in our recruiting, our size, our toughness, or athleticism. What RussRob shined at, allowed Chalmers to shine in other areas. To his credit, Chalmers has now improved to the point he can play ‘PG’ in the NBA, but you cannot call him a purePG, as he is STILL to this day, a scorer. Saved the Heat’s bacon in 2 championships.

    5. Tyshawn Taylor, a 6’3 gazelle. A Chalmer’s level ball-handler (not RussRob level), but hampered by poor decision making, perhaps masked his senior season by keeping the ball himself more (as he penetrated relentlessly). Always a scorer.

    6. Elijah Johnson, 6’2 grows to 6’4. Defensively outcompeted by Brady, and a Chalmer’s level ball-handler. When competent in Self’s ways, he re-proved the dual-combo-on-floor-at-all-times along with Tyshawn. When he was alone the following year, he only helped prove the flip side of Self’s wisdom of keeping 2 combo’s: we failed when we didnt have anyone competent to help EJ.

    7. Ben McLemore, 6’5 shooting guard. Shaky ball handling. Not asked to handle primary ball-handling duties, nor could he. Thus, not able to help EJ in a way that Tyshawn did. Stated another way, EJ was more of a help to TT than McLemore was to EJ. It was clearly obvious what Ben could and could not do. Stated even another way…if we had a more competent combo guard, BMac would have moved to 3wing, displacing Releford, as KU simply would have played better (again) with 2 combos, running 1 and 2.

    8. Travis Releford, 6’5 wing. Initially a slashing type of scorer. Not a primary ball-handler, although, being a foundation 5yr guy for Self, he definitely improved in his ball-handling. But still not good enough to call him a combo guard. He may have brought the ball up occasionally, but never was the lead guard by design, even for a few minute stretch, even in his senior year.

    In summary: Combo guard, by definition, implies “competence” in ball-handling as well as scoring. This type of player is a more complete player.

    Frank Mason is a 5’11, 190lb combo guard. He handles the ball very well. He was a historic-proportions scorer at his high school. His only issue was decision-making as a freshman in Bill Self’s system. Recall it took Russell Robinson into his junior season to become the 2.2:1 assist:t.o. machine that he became.

    To me the reality is, you just arent going to get a freshman to come in and “run” Self’s system as a freshman. Too many plays to learn. Decisions, decisions, decisions to learn. Not even a MickeyD with stunning handles like Sherron could come in and “run the show”, although he subbed as a frosh, providing a very effective change of pace.

    1. Sherron Collins, 5’9, 205lbs, without doubt, one of the BEST combo guards KU has ever seen. And I’ll keep coming back to this proven fact over and over: 3 A-rated combos on the 08Champ team. 2 A-rated combos on the '12NRunnerUp team. Those are simply Self’s BEST 2 tournament runs EVER, in the history of his entire coaching. Easy conclusion, then of what we need to get back to! We got Frank Mason. Now who steps up as a 2nd or 3rd? Selden? (a 6’5 combo like Smart? or like 6’4 Deandre Kane?). Or Frankamp (another combo guard, with a surprisingly good a:t ratio, looking at his minutes played metrics). I’ll also add in the “twist” on Tharpe’s data: when he played with experienced seniors (Withey, KYo, Relef, EJ, and non-frosh BMac), he had several game stretches where he was 22asst:1 turnover, right? Now see him with last year’s newbie team…make’s one wonder that there is more to the “mix” than a kid’s innate ability. Against zones, maybe we werent quick enough to recognize and get back to help Naadir? His on-ball D remains a separate, individual issue, however…

    Now fun discussion: 6’5 D.Wade is a combo guard. He does not have shaky handles against pressure, but he can also score. MJ was a 6’6 combo guard by ability, although he was listed at shooting guard sometimes, but more commonly simply as “guard”. It was MJ who almost always brought the ball up. All those greats start somewhere. I want the guy that is big, tall, athletic, that shows some ability from Day 1. I bet that’s Self’s ideal guard. And I dont think his desires have changed in that regard…but he isnt going to get every such recruit every single year.

    The acquisition of competent combo guards is no guarantee. And their development, while pretty strongly positive under Self, is still not a 100% guarantee. But if you have 2 or 3 on a given year’s team, at least you’ve got plenty of competent talent ready to do all of what SelfBall requires, especially for a deep Tourney run.



  • @icthawkfan316 --Not sure what we options we have of recruiting a PG. However when looking at we have.

    Tharpe—Can shoot the ball and create his own shot. However he is very careless with the ball. Sometimes you just shake your head and can’t believe he just did that. Tharpe also seems to disappear when the game is on the line, not a good quality in a point guard. He is also is a liability on the defense side of the ball. HCBS will let him handle the rock to start the season, Yet I would look for a change somewhere at mid season.

    Mason—Is a cannonball. Fearless, can get to the rack when he needs too. Lacks a good jump shot and doesn’t facilitate the offense. He is raw and with more experience and seasoning is the future PG of the Jayhawks. There is a reason HCBS went after this guy.

    Frankamp—is a sturdy and dependable player. Plays solid defense and can shoot the three. He will protect the ball and will do a fine job in an emergency situation, but he is not a PG. He can’t get to the rack or create his own shoot. This is an important quality in a PG.

    Unless there is some point guard out there to recruit, Mason is the answer, followed by Frankamp, and then Tharpe when the refs are calling the game to close.

    Reality HCBS is loyal to his players. So the point guard situation will be as it was last year. I hope Tharpe comes ready to play.



  • @ralster Good post. Loved reading your analysis breakdown of all our past guards. Wondering what your take is on Frankamp. I see you view Mason as a combo guard most likely on the rise. Given this, how far away do you think we are from having the requisite pieces to adequately compete with Self’s system?



  • We do not need a new PG. People don’t seem to remember that Frank was only a freshman. He was also better than any freshman PG Self has ever had. He is better than Tyshawn as a Freshman, better than Sherron as a freshman, and he was 100 times better than Russel Robinson was as a freshman. If Mason makes to improvement from freshman to soph. year that every other PG under self (Robinson, Taylor, Tharpe, Collins) has done, he will not only be a serviceable PG but a well above average PG.





  • A big part of what matters is chemistry. You can’t really teach that… Mason or Frankamp… or another guy… who knows who will create the best chemistry?

    And then there are the other factors… speed, basketball IQ, dribbling passing and shooting… etc. etc. etc.



  • @ralster

    "Now fun discussion: 6’5 D.Wade is a combo guard. He does not have shaky handles against pressure, but he can also score. MJ was a 6’6 combo guard by ability, although he was listed at shooting guard sometimes, but more commonly simply as “guard”. It was MJ who almost always brought the ball up. All those greats start somewhere. I want the guy that is big, tall, athletic, that shows some ability from Day 1. I bet that’s Self’s ideal guard. And I dont think his desires have changed in that regard…but he isnt going to get every such recruit every single year. "

    We all want that… but that guard isn’t always available (rarely is).

    So… which camp are you in?

    Camp A - Combo Guard. I’d rather have height at PG to defend well and he can pass over most PGs. He may not be a true PG, but he is athletic, can get to the rim some, can pump the 3 some… decent passer.

    Camp B - True PG. I’d rather have the short guy who is a true PG. He knows how to run a team, control tempo, rarely gets stuck on the dribble in a trap, great passer, decent shooter, good basketball IQ, can get to the rim.

    Usually we have to pick from those two camps. Sometimes… we get neither!


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