Conner Frankamp left Kansas in the dust and spurned Creighton.
Tell me again, Shocker fans, why you wouldn’t love this guy?
Why you wouldn’t be thrilled about Frankamp’s announcement Monday that he’s transferring from KU to Wichita State?
After all, in your way of thinking, didn’t he just dump on the two basketball programs you most despise?
This is a recruiting coup for the Shockers and coach Gregg Marshall, who will get Frankamp on the court when he becomes eligible at the semester break of the 2015-16 season. Yet there are fans who remain reluctant to extend their arms to Frankamp. I don’t get it.
He was ranked as the 46th best high school senior in the country in 2013 by Rivals.com. It’s been a while since WSU has had a Top 50 player.
Yes, Frankamp struggled as a freshman at Kansas last season. He didn’t play as much as he probably thought he would. He could not find his shooting rhythm until the NCAA Tournament, when he had back-to-back good games and nearly brought the Jayhawks all the way back during a third-round loss to Stanford.
I expected Frankamp to have a better sophomore season at KU. But just more than a month ago, he announced he was leaving the Jayhawks.
“I’ll just say KU wasn’t the best situation for me,” Frankamp said Monday.
He didn’t want to say anything more about Kansas. But he was more than willing to talk about how excited he is to become a Shocker.
“We love the coaching staff, we love Coach Marshall,” he said. “They’ve created so many great guards, NBA-caliber guards. And it’s tough to say ‘no’ to being home with all of my friends, family, parents and everybody who will get to see me play.”
The Frankamp doubters, though, point out his lack of size (Frankamp is 6-foot), strength and speed and worry that he can’t defend quality guards at the Division I level.
Marshall, as every Shocker fan knows, stresses defense above all other basketball skills. If you can shoot but can’t defend, you won’t fit in at Wichita State.
If Shocker fans trust Marshall, why the consternation about Frankamp’s defense? Remember, this is a two-way street. Frankamp didn’t just choose to transfer to Wichita State out of the blue; he’s going to WSU because Marshall wants him there.
Frankamp knows there are detractors. He also knows there are 10 times as many who are thrilled that he’ll be a Shocker and vows to do his best to win over the critics.
“Hopefully I can play my game here,” he said. “I want to help Wichita State win games and do whatever I can to make that happen. I want to be a great person in the community. And I want to help Coach Marshall out because I know how much he’s going to help me.”
Frankamp said he’s far from a finished product. He does want to learn to play better defense. He wants to become a better offensive player. He wants to continue to improve and believes Marshall is the right coach to make it happen.
“I’m so impressed with how Ron (Baker) and Fred (VanVleet) have developed as players at Wichita State,” Frankamp said. “They really have a good chance of making it to the (NBA).”
Frankamp visited Colorado and Creighton before making his decision. He attended two Wichita State games with his family, including Saturday’s 20-point win over Tulsa at Koch Arena.
He’s been to Shocker practices and spent a little time with the players.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “These past two or three months have been stressful for me and stressful for my family. Making all of these decisions has been hard.
“But Wichita State feels right and being home and around the community I grew up in is something I’ll embrace.”
Frankamp is a lights-out shooter, one of the best I’ve ever seen. He has almost limitless range and it’s already tempting to imagine him with Baker and VanVleet in the same backcourt next season.
Frankamp isn’t sure when he’ll be allowed to start practicing with Wichita State — he assumes at the end of the first semester which is just a couple of weeks.
He knows he’s ready, though. And eager to play for Marshall.
“It’s just something about the way he coaches,” Frankamp said. “I’m really impressed with how he instills confidence in his players and how he encourages them and gets them to play so tough. Something I need to work on is getting tougher.”
Frankamp knows what he’s getting into here. He knows Wichita State practices aren’t for the weak of heart. He knows how demanding Marshall is.
It’s why he made this decision.