Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham combine to make up one of the best backcourts in the nation. But which one of the two is actually better?
On first thought, the question makes you scratch your head. Both Jayhawks have contributed so much to the program, so how you could possibly compare the two? We saw Devonte’ Graham put up big numbers in a win at Oklahoma, scoring 29 points and dueling with Buddy Hield in a 76-72 triumph. But then Frank Mason added 21 in a dominating win against Harvard, and he kept his team in the game by scoring 16 points in the fateful loss to the Villanova Wildcats.
Last season, Frank Mason contributed 12.9 PPG while adding 4.6 assists. Devonte’ Graham, on the other hand, put up 11.3 PPG, and he tallied 3.7 assists. Comparing statistics can be very generalized, especially between the Jayhawk point guards.
Those stats were last year, though, and this is a whole new season. The 2016-17 Jayhawks will debut a new formation. Self has considered playing a four-guard lineup, which we caught a glimpse of during exhibition play on Tuesday and Sunday. If there are more guards in the lineup and less forwards and centers on the court, Mason and Graham will have to contribute in the rebounding category. Mason is already known as one of the best rebounding point guards in the country, but both will have to improve for the Kansas team as a whole to be successful. There is no way to gauge who will average more rebounds, but expect both to step up when the Jayhawks need it.
While the Jayhawks’ two exhibition games seem insignificant, it does do a good job up giving us a quick look of who will stand out this season. Surprisingly, in exhibition number one, Frank Mason was incredible with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. With Mason the star, the rest of the team underperformed in a 92-74 win. Devonte’ Graham squeaked out just six points and three assists. In our second exhibition matchup, Mason once again, was terrific. While he led the team with 17 points, Devonte’ Graham stuck with a mediocre 10. Will this be the general theme of the season? Will senior Frank Mason guide the Jayhawks to 13 straight Big 12 championships, and potentially a national title?
This is Frank Mason’s year. “BIFM” has had a steady three years at Kansas that haven’t fluctuated as much as say, Wayne Selden. Mason’s consistency has helped stabilize an up-and-down Kansas team at times over his career. After falling short of a national title run in all of his NCAA tournament appearances, I have a feeling that there is some optimism brewing. Devonte’ Graham has been a stud, but seniority is key here. Listen, these two superstars are about as equal ability wise. Look at politics for example, though. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were about dead even on election night, but one eventually pulled out the win.
Forget about politics, though. Everyone is tired of hearing about it. People might be fed up with the election, but not with Kansas basketball. It’s only starting to heat up for the Jayhawks, and with big games against Indiana on Friday and Duke next week, it’s time to see how our dynamic duo will perform under the big lights. In just a couple of days, we’ll get to see the best backcourt in the nation. Who will do better? I guess we’ll find out as the season progresses. We do know one thing though: When the Jayhawks and their lethal point guard duo hit the court, the nation won’t know what hit them.