Does Conner Frankamp’s Transfer Really Hurt Kansas?

Posted by Kory Carpenter on November 5th, 2014

Kansas sophomore guard Conner Frankamp announced he will be transferring at semester’s end and his imminent departure has been met with mixed reviews from fans and pundits alike. Frankamp, a sharp-shooting guard coming out of high school who played just 8.3 MPG last season, had plenty of potential. He won back-to-back gold medals with the U-16 and U-17 Team USA squads, was a four-star recruit, and set all sorts of high school records in Wichita. He also very nearly beat Stanford in last season’s NCAA Tournament all by himself, going 4-of-7 from beyond the arc in a three-point Kansas loss. He looked to be in line for a decent number of minutes this season, but he told the Lawrence Journal-World‘s Gary Bedore that he no longer felt Kansas was the right fit for him. That sounds a lot like, “I wasn’t going to play much this season.”

Conner Frankamp is leaving Kansas, but it's hard to guess what his role would have been this season and beyond. (Mark Gunnoe/Topeka Capital-Journal)

Conner Frankamp is leaving Kansas, but it’s hard to guess what his role would have been this season and beyond. (Mark Gunnoe/Topeka Capital-Journal)

Here’s the thing about Bill Self’s program: Great players don’t transfer. From Tyrone Appleton and Quintrell Thomas to Merv Lindsay, Anrio Adams and Andrew White III, it’s hard to think of a player who left Kansas under Self and really flourished elsewhere. As such, there is no reason to think that Frankamp will be any more successful at a big-time program. If you have the talent to contribute, Self will convince you to stay. It’s no coincidence that it was Royce Woolridge who left for Washington State and Mario Chalmers who was talked into staying at Kansas during his freshman season. Yes, Self said Frankamp would have started in Monday’s exhibition and that he would have played “significant minutes” this season. But in reality, those sound bites come off a lot better than, “We have pro guys at the two and three (Wayne Selden, Kelly Oubre and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk), and Frankamp would have probably been behind Frank Mason and Devonte Graham at the point guard spot.” Self acknowledged that he met with Frankamp and his father on the day before the sophomore announced his decision. How do you decide to transfer only 24 hours after Bill Self tells you you will see “significant minutes” this season? You don’t. Because that meeting likely in fact consisted of Self telling the Frankamps that he was probably behind the perimeter players mentioned above on the depth chart, but he could be a real contributor for the Jayhawks during his junior and senior seasons.  (Who has a meeting with a player and parents a week before the season, anyway? The situation already seemed a bit toxic.)

And that was probably true. If this was four years ago — when Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar and Conner Teahan were getting significant minutes on the perimeter — Frankamp would have played plenty this season. But this isn’t four years ago. Bill Self has been on a fantastic recruiting tear lately, and Frankamp probably committed to Kansas far too early (his sophomore year) to assess all of his realistic playing time options. He simply got lost in the rotation. He is probably better than either of Graham and Mason playing off the ball or Oubre and Mykhailiuk at the point guard position, but he can’t compete with those players at their natural spots. The best case scenario for him this year was probably to take a redshirt and develop into a serious contributor over the next two seasons, similar to the career trajectories of Morningstar and Reed. But it must have been hard for him to accept that fate after the accolades he received in high school. He is likely headed somewhere like Wichita State or Gonzaga and be a solid rotation guy for two more seasons. As for Kansas, it won’t be missing much. Because as we’ve seen with his other transfers, Bill Self always gets the better end of the deal.

KoryCarpenter (150 Posts)

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One response to “Does Conner Frankamp’s Transfer Really Hurt Kansas?”

  1. Jack says:

    I don’t disagree with you about players leaving and not popping up elsewhere to play meaningful minutes, although you mention Quintrell who came close at UNLV. One person you might be missing, though, is J.R. Giddens. He was recruited by Roy but Self kept him on after the coaching change. One great season, one terrible season, one stabbing, and then he goes and wins MWC co-player of the year and honorable mention All-American for New Mexico two years later. Alford really helped settle him down and focus him, but that’s an instance of a significant talent transferring away (again, the stabbing probably played a role) and then excelling elsewhere. You’re right, though – just about the only example.

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