LAWRENCE — The more Tyshawn Taylor watched, the more he was sure he had never seen anything like it. The ball would splash through the net, the shooter would reload, and the ball would splash again.
Taylor, a former Kansas star guard, had been back in town for only a few days, just enough to watch the current Jayhawk squad go through a few scrimmages and workouts. He’s still learning the young players, too, the ones that just arrived on campus.
But when Taylor began to watch Conner Frankamp, a freshman guard from Wichita, he could tell he was watching something different. Frankamp kept unspooling textbook jumpers in a coldly efficient manner, and Taylor, well, he had to take notice.
“That Frankamp,” Taylor said. “He’s one of the best that I’ve seen. I’ve played with a bunch of good shooters, and he’s one of the best I’ve seen.”
Frankamp, of course, has been on campus for about 10 minutes, just enough time to go through a week of summer school and get settled in his on-campus home at the Jayhawker Towers. But on Wednesday, as the Jayhawks took the floor for their annual open scrimmage against a crew of former players, Frankamp finally had a public forum for his shooting prowess.
Frankamp made all four of his three-point attempts as the current Jayhawks handed the alumni squad a 91-76 loss at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
“I shot pretty open shots,” Frankamp said. “So, that always helps.”
This being a haphazard scrimmage in the first weeks of June, the lack of, well, defense, was not that surprising. But this was also the first time the members of KU’s freshman class — without No. 1 recruit Andrew Wiggins — had the chance to put on a KU practice jersey and play in front of fans and KU basketball campers.
For Frankamp, who committed to Kansas and Bill Self in July 2011, the summer before his junior year at North, this was a day he had been waiting for. His parents, Karen and Marty, made the trip from Wichita. And Frankamp squared off with Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar, two other Kansas kids he grew up watching.
“I committed a long time ago,” Frankamp said, “and just finally being here is a dream come true.”
The rest of the KU newcomers looked impressive enough. Senior forward Tarik Black, a transfer from Memphis, showed off his imposing, 260-pound frame and ability to bang, while freshman wing Brannen Greene filled it up from outside and finished with 21 points.
There was more, of course. Freshman Joel Embiid, a 7-foot center, also displayed glimpses of the athleticism and potential that made him one of the most coveted centers in the country.
“They’re going to be one of the best teams I’ve watched since I’ve been watching college basketball, for sure,” Taylor said. “It might be a little early to say, because they’re young. But I think they got a lot of young talent.”
That includes Frankamp, who would like to spend the summer working on his lateral quickness. For Frankamp, a 6-foot guard, the secret to early playing time could come on the defensive end.
“I think that’ll be the key for me,” Frankamp acknowledged.
For now, though, it’s mostly about staying quiet, putting in the work, and finding his way at Kansas.