By Joanna Chadwick
North senior Conner Frankamp’s ability to score is a hot topic, whether I’m on Twitter, Facebook, in the office, out and about, at a friend’s house, at a non-North game, talking with my kids.
The things he can do with the ball, the way he can pull up, no matter where the defender is, and knock down a jumper is exciting to watch.
Check out Bob Lutz’s column on Frankamp and Ricky Ross.
The two greatest scorers I’ve seen since taking this job in September 1996 are Frankamp and Perry Ellis. Ellis, a 2012 Heights grad, holds the City League career scoring record of 2,231 points. He set that record in a very different way from which Frankamp will break the record.
Ellis did it with remarkable consistency around the basket. He did it off rebounds, off strong post moves and 70-percent career shooting. He also won four Class 6A titles, was All-State four times, Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year 4 times, a McDonald’s All-American.
But there were games that Ellis played and people would say, “hmmm, I guess he played pretty good.” I’d laugh every time, because Ellis probably had 26 points, 12 rebounds. I’d say that’s “pretty good.”
When Frankamp plays, people leave shaking their heads. That’s just the kind of game he has. He’s got the ball in his hands the majority of the time, and he might make the gorgeous pass through the lane to a teammate, he might cross over the defender, he might step back and knock down a three, he might get a rebound and sprint up court into a jump-stop three.
He misses, certainly more than Ellis did, but that’s not a surprise considering the shots he takes. Like Ellis, Frankamp is versatile. While Ellis could get a defensive rebound and dribble up the court to knock down a three, Frankamp can drive the lane and make strong moves around the rim.
Frankamp’s game has changed in his career. He’s much more consistent in knocking down shots. Used to be he’d hit 25 points and the criticism was, ‘OK, but he took 30 shots to get it.’ A fair criticism.
While he’s had bad shooting games, he’s hitting shots in a much more consistent fashion. He’s not on fire every game, but he’ll get there.
He started cold against Andover at Koch Arena on Jan. 5, then hit a three at the halftime buzzer and opened the third hot. Against Bishop Carroll, he had 24 at the half, hitting 6 of 7 threes, then went ice cold in the second half … but hit 10 free throws.
He’s a likely McDonald’s All-American selection, a Kansas signee.
His teams have not had the success he probably deserves to be a part of. As a freshman he opened the season with 25 points against Heights. But his senior-heavy team chose to freeze him out. He still scored, but it wasn’t because his teammates looked for him.
As a sophomore he had little around him, as a junior, he got to state, as a senior his team has a shot at the Class 6A title.
While Blue Valley Northwest is clearly the premier team in Kansas and the heavy favorite to win the Class 6A title, if Frankamp goes off for three days at the 6A tournament and his teammates play solid, North could win it all.
Tuesday’s 48 points against East were impressive. They weren’t forced, didn’t come late in a game that was already well decided, they were huge.
He now has the top two scoring nights — 52 points in a double OT game against Northwest in 2010, 48 Tuesday.
According to research by Wichita Eagle employee Gary Karr, he also has two 47-point games. Ricky Ross has one, Kapaun’s Leodis Robinson has one.
Frankamp has 7 games of 40 or more points. Ricky Ross has two (Ross played before the three-point line).
The only other City League player I saw score more than 40 points was Heights’ C.J. Martin, who hit 43 in 1998.
Also according to research done by The Wichita Eagle, Frankamp is 149 points behind Ellis’ 2,231 career points.
Rounding out the top 10 are Greg Dreiling, Aubrey Sherrod, Ricky Ross, Korleone Young, Mike Boushka, Rashad Washington, John Rapp and Randy Canfield.