Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz: It’s good to remember Frankamp’s value as a basketball player

Connor Frankamp launches a three-point shot that gave Kansas new life late in a game against Stanford in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
Connor Frankamp launches a three-point shot that gave Kansas new life late in a game against Stanford in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The Wichita Eagle

I continue to be mystified by some of the Wichita State basketball fans I hear from who are against Conner Frankamp being a Shocker, don’t believe he will ever be a mainstay and wish he would have stayed at Kansas.

I believe these critics to be a small minority, but they’re loud. They reply to my posts about Frankamp on Facebook and Twitter and express how they are not only apprehensive about, but convinced Frankamp is Kansas’ scrap metal and the Shockers shouldn’t have anything to do with him.

Incredible.

Frankamp has been all over the news this week following his arrest on suspicion of DUI early Sunday morning in west Wichita. That, of course, has his skeptics howling at the moon. It’s a serious matter, of course, but one that a focused, determined and contrite Frankamp can overcome.

I wrote about Frankamp’s arreston Monday. Today, I want to remind folks – especially those who seem to have forgotten what a decorated and accomplished basketball player Frankamp is – why Wichita State’s coaching staff is ecstatic that he’s a Shocker.

First of all, Frankamp is the all-time leading scorer in City League history. During his four seasons at North, he scored 2,275 points, eclipsing the previous record set by his former KU teammate, Perry Ellis. And it wasn’t all about scoring with Frankamp at North. Remember, he had to carry the Redskins for most of his four seasons. He’s an outstanding passer and ballhandler, too.

Now, on to Frankamp’s international achievements.

He was chosen to play for the United States in the FIBA Under-16 World Championships in Cancun, Mexico, in 2011, and led the team with 22 points in the championship game, a 40-point win over Argentina. Frankamp averaged nearly nine points per game in five USA games, playing with the likes of Aaron Gordon, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, Stanley Johnson and Jabari Parker.

A year later, Frankamp was chosen to the FIBA Under-17 USA team that played in the World Championships in Lithuania. His teammates again included Jones, Parker, Johnson and Okafor, along with Dakari Johnson and Justise Winslow.

Frankamp was the USA’s leading scorer, averaging 14.1 points in eight wins while shooting 56 percent from the field. He also contributed 19 assists and 16 steals, with only six turnovers. He was second on the team in minutes played, behind Winslow.

Yes, Frankamp had a disappointing freshman season at Kansas. He rarely got into a shooting groove. His minutes were scattered and he had a difficult time finding his offensive rhythm, which to a shooter is so important.

Frankamp ultimately decided to leave KU shortly before the 2014-15 season. It was, I’m sure, an excruciating decision. He could have gone a lot of places to continue his college basketball career. He chose Wichita State after the Shockers aggressively pursued him.

This week’s events are difficult, especially for Frankamp. He’ll have to regain the trust of his coaches and teammates and it’ll be an arduous task.

But here’s hoping the sensible Shocker fans, of which there are many, drown out the petty noises coming from Frankamp’s critics. And that Frankamp makes the most of his second chance. We shouldn’t give up on him. I guarantee he won’t give up on himself.

Here are the rosters for the U.S. FIBA teams that included Frankamp in 2011 and 2012, provided for some perspective.

FIBA Under-16 World Championship Roster, 2011

Larry Austin, G, Lamphier High, Springfield, IL – Austin is a little-used freshman at Xavier.

Aaron Gordon, F-C, Archbishop Mitty High, San Jose, CA – Gordon averaged 12.4 points and eight rebounds as a freshman for Arizona last season and currently is a rookie with the Orlando Magic, averaging 6.1 points and 2.9 rebounds.

Justin Jackson, G, Homeschool Christian South Association, Spring, TX – A junior at Cincinnati, Jackson averages 11.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

Stanley Johnson, F, Mater Dei High, Anaheim, CA – Johnson averages 15 points and seven rebounds as a freshman for Arizona.

Tyus Jones, G, Apple Valley High, Burnsville, MN – Jones, a freshman at Duke, averages 10.7 points and 5.1 assists for the Blue Devils.

Kendrick Nunn, G, Simeon High, Chicago – A sophomore for the Illini, Nunn is averaging 11 points and playing nearly 28 minutes per game.

Jahlil Okafor, C, Whitney Young High, Fort Smith, AR – Oklafor, probably the nation’s best freshman, averages 18.5 points and nine rebounds for Duke.

Jabari Parker, F, Simeon High, Chicago – Parker was an All-American last season for Duke, where he averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds as a freshman. This season, as a rookie for the Milwaukee Bucks, Parker averaged 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 25 games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Theo Pinson, G-F, Oakridge Military Academy, Greensboro, NC – Pinson, a freshman at North Carolina, is averaging 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds.

Malik Price-Martin, C, Northeast High, Oakland Park, FL – Martin, a freshman at Southern California, averages 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

FIBA Under-17 World Championship Roster, 2012

Tyus Jones, Kendrick Nunn, Jabari Parker, Stanley Johnson, Jahlil Okafor

Joel Berry, G, Lake Highland Prep School, Orlando, FL – Berry is averaging 3.2 points per game as a freshman at North Carolina.

Stephen Domingo, F, St. Ignatius Prep, San Francisco – Domingo left high school as a 17-year-old and played two seasons at Georgetown, with limited playing time, before transferring to California, where he is sitting out.

Justise Winslow, F, St. John’s School, Houston – Winslow averages 10.5 points and 4.6 rebounds as a freshman for Duke.

Dakari Johnson, C, Montverde Academy, New York – Johnson, a sophomore at Kentucky, is averaging 8.2 points and 5.9 rebounds this season for the top-ranked Wildcats.

BeeJay Anya, C, DeMatha Catholic High, Baltimore – Anya is a sophomore at North Carolina State, where he averages 5.1 points and four rebounds.

Johnathan Williams, F, Southwind High, Memphis – Williams averages 12.6 points and 7.1 rebounds as a sophomore for Missouri.

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