Conner Frankamp returns to Wichita with medal, memories
There was one moment during the FIBA World Championships that stuck out more than any for North High senior Conner Frankamp, a member of the U.S. under-17 basketball team. More than the time spent in Lithuania, more than playing with some of the country’s top players, more than him averaging a team-high 14.1 points.
It was hearing the national anthem before the championship game.
“That is something I will never forget,” Frankamp said Tuesday morning. “Just being able to represent our country in the sport I love was just incredible for me and a dream come true…. I feel like it was a great opportunity and one of the greatest opportunities I’ll ever get to put on a USA jersey. Not many get to do that. I wanted to take full advantage of it and try to enjoy it and work hard for it.”
Frankamp, who was scheduled to return to Wichita on Tuesday night, scored 22 points in the championship game as he helped lead the team to the title.
“I felt like I did (play well),” said Frankamp, who has made an oral commitment to Kansas. “Having a really good team around me helps a lot. (Everyone) can score and rebound, so it was good to have a supporting cast around me.”
Frankamp, who had breakfast with the men’s U.S. Olympic team on Tuesday, played for the 2011 under-16 team. That team won the FIBA Americas Championship gold medal, averaging 8.6 points.
During the eight games for the under-17 team, he shot 55.7 percent from the field, 45.2 percent from three and was 11 of 11 from the free-throw line. He ranked 11th overall in scoring, fourth in three-point percentage, sixth in field-goal percentage and 13th in steals.
His focus this summer has been defense, and it showed during the eight international games. He had 19 assists and 16 steals and averaged 22.1 minutes.
“I was checking the stats every day, and he’s getting three, four, five steals. He hasn’t gotten four, five steals in three games for me,” North coach Gary Squires said with a laugh.
When told what his coach said, Frankamp laughed, too.
“I feel my defense is starting to improve a lot,” he said. “It’s better than it was during the last high school season. I’m getting steals and getting in the passing lane. I think I was playing pretty good. I had a good team and I think I’ve improved and I’m improving everything.”