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Next Year's Rotation

  • I dislike threads like the one I'm starting right now because I really try to enjoy the current season, the current roster, and the journey we're already on. This season is especially fun for that to watch how much a guy like Travis Releford, who I have been excited about since he was a high school sophomore, has grown into a seriously good role player, and how Jeff Withey has gone from skinny, never-going-to-play freshman to likely all-conference player and first round NBA draft pick. Next year's team is going to be fun to watch, but right now we start three fifth-year seniors, another senior, and a redshirt freshman. Three of our starters this year started in the Final Four a year ago. I love watching a Bill Self team come together, and I really think this year's version has a chance to be special again.

    All of that being said, I have seen quite a bit of speculation, including on this board, about next year's starting lineup and rotation, so I figured I would start a discussion thread to capture all of the talk. As it stands right now, we'll assume that our incoming class is set: Selden, Mason, Frankamp, Greene, and Embiid, and that in addition to the seniors we will lose Ben McLemore. Based on what we've seen from the current guys and what we know about the newcomers, I think our starting lineup will look something like:

    Mason / Frankamp
    White / Greene

    with the non-starters of Frankamp, Mason, White, and Greene joining Tharpe to fill out the six-man smalls rotation, and non-starters Traylor and Lucas rounding out the big-man rotation. I have a seriously difficult time seeing how Adams in particular breaks into that lineup, and it wouldn't shock me to see Tharpe relegated to spot minutes by January. We're going to be seriously talented, but even more seriously young. In particular, the Adams lovefest just baffles me. He's not particularly great at any one thing, though he has some above average physical attributes, and he never has shown an ability to translate what physical gifts he does have into productivity on the court. What am I missing on Adams? What do you all think of the class and lineup?

  • I think White gets the nod over Greene to begin the season just having been in the system for a year, but Greene will have every opportunity to work his way into the lineup as he learns his role in the Self system.

    I don't know enough about Mason to have any real opinion of him, but a freshman ranked around 150 getting any appriciable minutes on a squad this loaded would surprise me... of course I am not as down on Adams as Aaron is and still have hope that under Self's tutelege he grows into a contributing member of the team, but looking at history again, neither Robinson, Taylor or Johnson really had much impact until their junior seasons and rode the bench more in their early freshman seasons than what Anrio is now.

    I see Selden as one of ur primary ball handlers on this team regardless of whether you;re calling him a 1, a tow or a three... Frankcamp's minutes will depend on how well he plays defense...

    Live to love, love to live

  • Admittedly I haven't seen Embiid play, but I would have doubted if he could beat out Landon Lucus right off the git go. Lucas will have practiced a full year against Withey and he'll know the system. I understand Embiid is raw and has more upside but he'll have a tough time beating out the RS Freshman.

    Aaron what do you think of the idea of Seldon playing point and Francamp playing the 2 guard?

  • Taylor averaged over 26 minutes a game as a Freshman, but your point remains with RR and EJ. Of course, they were top 40 kids. Anrio was a spring reach.

    One of the biggest unknowns here is that we likely see another transfer or even two. The Lucas redshirt makes me think he sticks around and I can't argue that there's a decent chance he's our early starting center. I still think either Anrio or Tharpe leaves. The other could be transfer 3 (counting Peters) or there could be a surprise, I suppose. I would be more surprised by no one else leaving than 2 more, but think 1 more is most likely.

    As mentioned above, I could see Selden handling the ball enough that we run significant minutes with no true point. Mason, Tharpe and Adams probably being the closest we have and the guy(s) here fight for minutes.

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  • I agree that White gets the nod over Greene, at least to start the season. I'm not sure, however, that we don't wind up seeing some Mason / Selden / Frankamp days.

    I think looking at rankings is awfully deceiving some times. Ryan and I have talked with several different recruiting folks and all of them rave about Mason's game, including Jerry Meyer here. He's smaller (6-0, 170 on a generous day) than ideal and his shot isn't good enough to make up for that and vault him higher in the rankings, but he's very good with the ball and can run a team. He torched Frankamp and Jorgenson at the AAU event in Milwaukee this summer and caught a lot of eyes. His trajectory is the exact opposite of guys like Tharpe and Adams - they were dropping in the rankings after high starts, while Mason has climbed the more people have seen him. I have heard more than once from more than one guy that Mason would play over Adams or Tharpe right now. Oh, and by the way, he's risen all the way to 82nd at 247Sports. The ACC Rivals guy, Clint Jackson, tweeted in the last week: "Three underrated players in 2013 that will make an impact next season -- 6-9 PF Jarquez Smith, 6-0 PG Frank Mason and 6-3 PG Bronson Koenig."

    Adams has some above average physical attributes, but I can't figure out what it is he supposedly excels at, nor have I ever seen any indication that he's improved with coaching. He's a decent shooting guard, but we have bigger, better ones already on the roster or on the way. As for rankings specifically, Tyshawn Taylor was 77th on Rivals, 86th on ESPN, and 106th on Scout, and to say that Taylor didn't have much impact until his junior or rode the bench early in his freshman season is laughable at best. He started all but two games as a freshman, averaging 9.7 points and 3.0 assists and scored over 20 on three occasions.

    Elijah Johnson didn't play much either of his first two years, but that was in large part because Collins, Henry, Taylor, Morningstar, and Reed were ahead of him, an ever-so-slightly better rotation than what's ahead of Adams right now, don't you think? His sophomore year, he was behind Taylor, Morningstar, Reed, and Selby, yet averaged nearly 14 minutes

    Robinson struggled mightily the second half of his freshman year, including the infamous move to not enter a game. During non-conference, though, he was frequently the first guy off the bench, scored in double figures twice, and was even ESPN's National Freshman of the Week after the win over South Carolina. He was not good after that, but came back and started all but two games the rest of his career (senior night his sophomore and junior years) and was the starting point guard on the National Champion team.

    I think Selden, Frankamp, and Mason all have enough ballhandling skills that any one of them could be a primary ball handler. Like you, I'm curious how Frankamp especially adjust defensively to this level.

  • Also on Mason, remember that he's a fifth-year guy, so he's almost as old as Adams is, too.

  • Don't forget, though, that EJ was playing behind: Collins, Reed, Morningstar, Henry, and Taylor as a freshman, and the same group sub Selby for Henry as a sophomore. Adams can't get ahead of Tharpe for minutes behind Johnson and McLemore. Robinson played pretty well in the non-conference his freshman year, but was clearly out of the picture by conference play for a variety of reasons.

  • Lucas will be interesting (as will, obviously, the potential addition of any other big, including Julius Randle, for whom I personally think we're the leader at this point). Embiid hasn't played a lot of basketball, so I could certainly see a RS freshman in Lucas starting ahead of him, or sliding Ellis to the five for a season as Joel gets used to the big time. I don't, however, think Lucas stays ahead of Embiid for long, maybe he starts ahead of him all season, but I think Embiid fills a role that no one else in our purview is capable of filling, particularly defensively, and we will need him to fill that role to realize our full potential.

    As for Selden and Frankamp together: I have so many thoughts on this. First, Frankamp plays more off the ball than on right now, which leads people to think he's a shooting guard, and he's VERY good at it. However, I think he plays better on the ball than a lot of people realize - he just spends a lot of time playing with D-1 caliber point guards like Jorgenson. All of that leads me to believe he is the ideal off guard in our combo-guard system, think about the requirements on Elijah Johnson last year, and give him better handles. As bad as our ball handling is this year, it has the potential to be almost unbelievably better next year. The only KU backcourt I can think of comparing it to is the 2001-2002 team with three guys who had started at point guard at KU in Miles, Hinrich, and Boschee. It's clearly a different mix, something more like the squad Bill left behind at Illinois, but it reminds me of that KU team because a lineup with three of Selden, Mason, Frankamp, White, and Greene would likely have an obvious lead ball handler, but two more guys on the court at all times who are capable of and comfortable with initiating the offense.

  • Adams is gonna be in the rotation next year. He reminds me of Taylor in alot of ways. Average shooter, has the ability to get in the paint and make plays, good defender, has moments where you wonder what the hell he is doing. They are similar physically. Now Adams hasn't been very good in limited minutes so far, but hes gonna get it at some point. Adams is actually a better fit for next years team than this one. He may not be a guy you throw out there as your one primary ballhandler, but you put him next to guys like selden and frankamp and he can be your pg.
    Lucas til conference play then embiid


  • Problem is, Mason, Frankamp, and Selden are already better players than Adams. Even Tharpe is better. The problem with Adams is that people want to see Tyshawn or Mario in him because he's got good size and length, but he isn't near as athletic or talented as either of those two. If he were, he'd be playing.

    I'll be pretty surprised if Landen Lucas ever plays much. If Julius Randle makes it to KU, it wouldn't shock me at all to see an all-freshman lineup of Mason, Frankamp, Greene, Randle, Embiid. Self, to an extent, is a huge fan of experience in his system, but he's not going to shoot himself in the foot to get experience on the floor. Also, with the exception of Embiid, he's bringing in a group of freshman that are not only highly intelligent basketball players, but alpha-dogs that will take over this team instantly. One of the glaring weaknesses right now is the lack of a true leader or alpha male - that won't be an issue next year.

    My way too early prediction is:


    I'm not sold on Selden being on the bench, or Ellis starting, but there aren't a multitude of viable options. I could see Traylor playing ahead of Ellis, for sure, as Traylor has the toughness that Self covets. Randle will obviously start ahead of both if he comes to KU.

    I think Andrew White and Naadir Tharpe will play the most of the current crop, but they'd need to improve quite a bit to start ahead of the freshman I'd think.

  • Mason, Frankamp, and Selden would all play ahead of Adams right now if they were available. Adams isn't a good enough ball handler to get minutes ahead of the trainwreck that is Naadir Tharpe. What evidence do you see that he'll "get it?" Has he gotten it in the past? Does he come from a high school with a history of producing point guards? Does he have a lot of experience working with a coach in high school, AAU, or summer camps that has helped him become a better point guard, ball handler, and initiator?

    He's an above average athlete, but he's not a freak athlete like McLemore. He doesn't have the feel for the game or the pedigree of Taylor, and Taylor was also a better athlete. He will play somewhere in D-1 if he transfers, but we have four smalls coming in who will be ahead of him immediately, and he's already behind Tharpe and about even with White. I don't see minutes for Adams on a team with Mason, Frankamp, Selden, Greene, White, and Tharpe.

  • Adams doesnt have to be better than Selden and Frankamp, hes not and probably never will be. He has to be better than Tharpe and Mason. Tharpe has reached his ceiling in my opinion. He is what he is, he will not improve enough to overcome his physical limitations, and Im not positive Tharpe will even be on the roster next year. Mason is ranked in the bottom of the top 100, those guys rarely come in and play big minutes at Kansas as freshman, there are exceptions, and based on what I have seen from Mason, he isnt gonna set the world on fire as a freshman. I'll take Adams tools, and a year in the system over Mason. Now, admittedly I am basing my opinions on both Adams and Mason only on the videos Ive seen and the few minutes Adams has played.

  • Tyshawn Taylor was 77th on Rivals, 86th on ESPN, and 106th on Scout. He started all but two games as a freshman, averaging 26 minutes, 9.7 points and 3.0 assists and scored over 20 on three occasions. Mason's biggest problem is that he's 6-0 on a good day and doesn't shoot well enough to really overcome that in the rankings. I haven't seen Mason or Adams in person, but I've talked with several people who have, especially Mason since he's been a hot topic since we started this board. Every single person I've talked with who has seen Mason play has said he's going to make a bigger impact immediately and make it immediately.

    * Jerry says he's perfect for the the Self system, with the right mix of toughness and skill to run our offense.

    * The ACC Rivals (especially Carolina and Duke), Clint Jackson, tweeted in the last week: "Three underrated players in 2013 that will make an impact next season -- 6-9 PF Jarquez Smith, 6-0 PG Frank Mason and 6-3 PG Bronson Koenig."

    * One of the best in the business, Eric Bossi, says he's going to raise eyebrows with his productivity

    * An opposing AAU coach says he absolutely blitzed their two D-1 guards this summer, one of whom is a top 40 kid in 2013.

  • At the same time, you're using a guy (Adams) in your argument that is not in the RSCI Top 100 and is outside the 247 Composite Top 100.

    I'm not basing anything on videos, but on the few games I've seen of Adams and what I've heard about Mason from a few scouts and AAU coaches.

  • I had high hopes for Milton Boyle too, and that didn't work out very well, but I can't help but hope Anrio succeeds... I hope Mason succeeds too, but mainly what I want to see is Frankcamp, Greene, Selden and Randle (don't forget Embiid) all in crimson and blue and lighting it up next year... arguing the also rans is a little meaningless at this point.

    Oh and if Wiggins wants to come along, I'd be happy with that too.

    This post was edited by Tralfaz 16 months ago

    Live to love, love to live

  • I hope and believe we all want Anrio to succeed. No one is happy to see a transfer. We know how Self works though. If you're not going to be a contributor, he'll help you find a better situation. The question is whether he had the upside to be a contributor.

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  • I absolutely want Anrio to succeed, and I want Milton Doyle, Royce Woolridge, Zach Peters, Mervyn Linsdsay, and on to succeed as well. I just don't see him succeeding at Kansas.

    As for arguing the "also rans," I guess what I'm saying is I think Adams fits that description, but I don't believe Mason does. I would not be surprised in the least to see Mason start over Frankamp next season.

  • I'm very surprised by the Frank Mason love. He's a guy I didn't realistically see being able to contribute until his Jr season.

  • The hype for Mason is interesting. Either the gurus have missed or we're setting ourselves up for disappointment. I still strongly believe we need an elite pg and big in the 2014 class (assuming we're done for 2013).

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  • I'm not sure the gurus have missed OR that we're setting ourselves up for disappointment. I think Jerry's been very clear that Mason fits our system really well and that he (Mason) has been more of a late bloomer of sorts. He's ranked around the same place that Taylor was. His biggest limitation appears to be height, and he doesn't make up for it by being an exceptional shooter. All of that being said, I think we're going to go HARD after an elite pg like Tyus Jones (duh, we're already in really deep on him) in 2014, and we'll continue to chase bigs in that class as well, even if we get Randle or Wiggins. I think we can plan on Selden for two years, but we have to keep replacing good players if we get players this good.

  • I've seen the Taylor ranking comparison before, but I'm it sure where it came from. Taylor was RSCI 75:

    Jerry has Mason similarly ranked at 82, but his 247Sports composite is 160. I hope Jerry and the buzz are correct, but that still makes Mason's best ranking lower than Tyshawn's average.

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  • For starters, you will be hard pressed to find a better competitor than Frank Mason. He is a winner. One of those types who can will his team to victory. Part of that is because he is one of the best on the ball defenders I've scouted. Physical, quick, aggressive and great anticipation skills. Can guard multiple positions.

    Mason will be on the court for these reasons along with the fact that he has a feel for passing the ball and scoring and generally avoids negative plays.

    For these reasons, I expect to see him on the court. Self values defense and defensive pressure. It's not even close what Mason can do compared to rest of Roster. He is a winner and is strong and secure with the ball.

    He is going to get minutes.