Last night the Kansas Jayhawks played their last exhibition game against Division II Fort Hays State. They showed some improvement in their offensive flow compared to the Pitt State game, but still look like they need some more time to completely gel. Kansas’s depth was shown in full form during this matchup, with four players scoring in double figures. They have yet to show consistency on the defensive end, which is to be expected with the new rule change. It is hard to find that defensive rhythm when the other team is constantly getting to the free throw line.
Andrew Wiggins again had glimpses of his greatness, but overall still looks to be adjusting to college basketball. He finished the game scoring 10 points on 4-10 shooting, but the shots he did miss were quality ones that will go in as he gains more confidence. The thing that stood out about him this game was his attack mode mentality. He seemed like when he got the ball he was determined to get to the lane, which is what he is best at. Although Wiggins has the ability to shoot from outside, he needs to use his athleticism getting to the basket rather than his outside shooting touch. Kansas already has an abundance of guards that can shoot from outside.
Frank Mason looked very good with the starters. His job as the court general is to distribute the ball to the open man and did so very well by dishing out 6 assists. He will be starting the next game due to Naadir Tharpe’s suspension, and from the looks of things, the team will not miss a beat. He will need to stay out of foul trouble, but other than that he looks to have all the tools to be a proficient point guard.
Joel Embiid just keeps getting better and better, and it won’t be long before he takes Tarik Black’s spot as the starting center. He is showing that he can finish with both hands, and has a very smooth jumper for a seven footer. Embiid showcased his full repute of moves with the left and right hook, a turn around jumper, and a pull up jumper in last night’s game. Once he becomes tougher on the defensive side of the floor, and learns how to rebound more efficiently, his playing time will increase.
Conner Frankamp looked a lot better than he did against Pitt State, but still doesn’t look quite ready for this level yet. He went 2-3 from behind the arc, but looked handicapped in the pick and roll offense, which is a huge part of being a Kansas point guard.
Wiggins has already started putting together a highlight reel, and he has only played two games. Early in the second half, Frank Mason got the ball and sprinted down the court before heaving it up in Wiggins direction. Wiggins leaped as if off a trampoline, caught it with two hands, and then slammed it home with one.
Overall the team looked good, but there is definitely an immense amount of room for improvement. They will need to sure things up in their regular season debut against Louisiana Monroe on Friday, before the big matchup against Duke next Tuesday. The team will be without junior leader Naadir Tharpe, so it will be a good test for the young Frank Mason.