Bill Self told Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World that Frank Mason would start for the Jayhawks on Saturday against Colorado.
“We’re going to put Frank out there to start the game,” Self told Bedore. “He’s been one of our more consistent, better performers so far this year. I think he deserves the opportunity.”
Naadir Tharpe has started every game of the season so far, except for the game against Louisiana-Monroe, the season-opener. Tharpe was suspended for that game for because he played in an unauthorized summer league game in Chicago.
So far this season, Frank Mason has scored more points (8.9 points per game vs. 6.3 ppg) than Tharpe despite playing less minutes (170 for Tharpe and 136 for Mason). Mason is averaging 8.9 points per game, 1.9 rebounds per game, 2.9 assists per game, 1.0 turnovers per game and 1.0 steal per game in 19.4 minutes per game. Meanwhile, Tharpe has averaged 6.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 5.0 apg, 0.8 spg and 2.0 tpg in 28.3 minutes per game.
The only statistic Tharpe really dominates Mason in right now is assists per game but that’s slightly skewed. Mason has 0.15 assists per minute played while Mason averages 0.17 assists per minute played. Mason also scores more, so he finishes more possessions and he turns it over less. Mason has also done a good job getting offensive rebounds.
During Self’s weekly press conference, Bill Self said this about Frank Mason: “Frank doesn’t talk, but he’s been great. He had about as bad a two minutes against UTEP as a guy could possibly have to end the game … but if you’re going to line up the games that are hard to win on who our best player has been, you can make a case it’s been Frank, whether it be Duke, Villanova, Wake. I’m really pleased with him. But he’s got a lot to learn, too, but he’s trying. He tries hard every day. Every day he tries.”
It’ll be interesting to see what this does for the Kansas Jayhawk team. Clearly Mason has provided a spark off the bench and sometimes players are just better suited for that role, especially freshmen early in their careers. However, the Jayhawks have struggled over the past three games and perhaps this changeup will motivate some of the other players to get their act together. Self isn’t afraid to make a change and now the players know that. That’ll help elevate Tharpe’s play, in my opinion.
Self wanted the players to come together in Atlantis but perhaps a shake up in the lineup and a two-game road trip can get all of his players on the right track (especially after a week of tough practices).
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