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The Wichita State Shockers’ hopes hinge on Conner Frankamp

Will he finally realize his potential?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Wichita State vs Miami Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Conner Frankamp’s college basketball career has been underwhelming to say the least.

After becoming the Wichita City League’s all-time leading scorer during his days at Wichita North High School, Frankamp spent his freshman year at Kansas buried at the end of the bench. Just before he was about to start his sophomore season with the Jayhawks, the former four-star recruit decided to transfer to Wichita State with hopes of reinvigorating his once-promising career.

Perhaps it is because he was thrown into the rotation in the middle of the year (he was ineligible until December due to his late transfer from KU) or that he was overshadowed by the Shockers’ senior guard trio of Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet and Evan Wessel, but Frankamp never found his footing last season.

Known primarily for his prowess as a sharpshooter, Frankamp shot just 39 percent from the field and made 35 total threes, averaging 6.1 points per game. These numbers are not terrible by any means, but they are not what you would expect from a player who shot 49 percent from beyond the arc during his high school career.

This season presents Frankamp with an opportunity to give his college basketball career new life. The losses of Baker, VanVleet and Wessel means it will be up to Frankamp and redshirt freshman Landry Shamet to carry the load for the Shockers’ backcourt.

Aside from the liability he presented on defense, Frankamp’s biggest deficiency was his failure to establish a consistent shooting rhythm — of course not made any easier by his fluctuating minutes. Sharpshooters need time to heat up and his likely transition into the starting lineup this season could go a long way toward improving his rhythm.

The biggest obstacles Frankamp will need to overcome in order to reach his full potential this season have nothing to do with basketball. His disappointing results on the court in his two seasons have gone hand-in-hand with a plethora of off-court issues.

After being treated like royalty by most people in Wichita during his high school career, Frankamp spent the majority of his freshman year at Kansas sulking while he averaged just eight minutes per game. Coming in, Frankamp was pegged as Bill Self’s point guard of the future, but that role was quickly seized by Frank Mason in large part due to perceived attitude and work ethic.

Frankamp made the decision — reportedly with some influence from his father — to leave KU and return to his hometown after losing the backup point guard battle to Devonte’ Graham at the beginning of his sophomore year. Combine all of that with his DUI in early 2015, and you begin to see how his personal issues have become a concern.

Gregg Marshall hopes that Frankamp can put these issues, both basketball and personal, behind him this season. While it is safe to assume that Wichita State will take a step back from where it has been the past few seasons after several key departures, the Shockers still have an opportunity to be competitive in a relatively weak Missouri Valley Conference.

But they need Frankamp to be successful.