Wichita native Conner Frankamp will get an opportunity to play for his favorite NBA team this summer.
The former Wichita State standout announced Wednesday he has reached an agreement to play for the Los Angeles Lakers in the California Classic from July 1-3 in Sacramento and then the NBA Summer League from July 5-15 in Las Vegas.
Frankamp told the Eagle that he discovered the news from his agent while golfing on Wednesday and he will leave for California on Thursday and play in the California Classic next Monday at 8 p.m. against the Miami Heat with the game broadcast on NBA TV.
“I feel like I’m good enough to play at that level, so I’m really excited for the opportunity,” said Frankamp, who has been a lifelong Kobe Bryant fan. “I’ve loved the Lakers my entire life, so it’s pretty cool to get the chance to play for them. I would have been happy to play with any team, but for it to be them I couldn’t believe it.”
Frankamp did not receive a look from NBA teams following his senior season at Wichita State when he averaged 10.6 points, shot 36 percent on three-pointers and posted a 5.8 assist-to-turnover ratio.
But that changed after Frankamp earned first-team all-league honors as a rookie with BC Beroe in the top-tier league in Bulgaria. Frankamp was third in the league in scoring at 19.4 points, made 49 percent of his three-pointers and added 4.3 assists and 1.6 steals for Beroe, which finished second in the league and lost to the eventual champions in the playoff semifinals in mid-May.
“I thought I had a really good year and it was a different experience in Bulgaria,” Frankamp said. “I was able to shoot the ball pretty well and I think I gained some of my confidence back playing over there.
“I was the point guard, so I had the ball in my hands a lot and I was able to shoot off the dribble, which I think is my best shot.”
The transition to playing with potential NBA players will certainly change some of Frankamp’s floor game. He said he’ll likely shift back to the role he played at Wichita State: a turnover-free ball handler and reliable shooter.
It will be a busy summer for Frankamp, who will play seven games in 10 days in Sacramento (July 1-3) and Las Vegas (July 5-15), then back in Wichita with the Wichita State alumni team, the Aftershocks, in The Basketball Tournament at Koch Arena from July 25-28.
Frankamp also told the Eagle that he has already signed a contract for the 2019-20 season with the Rethymno Cretan Kings in Greece’s top-tier league, which runs from October to May.
“Hopefully I can be a steady point guard and get my teammates the ball in the right spots and then knock down open shots that I get,” Frankamp said. “And then on defense, my main thing is I have to keep my man in front of me.”
Following Frankamp on television
Monday, July 1: Lakers vs. Heat, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
Tuesday, July 2: Lakers vs. Warriors, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
Wednesday, July 3: Lakers vs. Kings, 4 p.m. (NBA TV)
Friday, July 5: Lakers vs. Bulls, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Saturday, July 6: Lakers vs. Clippers, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Monday, July 8: Lakers vs. Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Wednesday, July 10: Lakers vs. Knicks, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Shamet invited to Team USA Select
Another former Shockers star got good news Thursday when Landry Shamet received an invitation to participate with the Select Team at Team USA’s National Team camp in Las Vegas in August. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Select Team will feature 10 “up-and-coming” players in the NBA who will practice with and scrimmage against the Team USA regulars in preparation for the FIBA World Cup in China at the end of August. The only known members of the team so far are Shamet and No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson.
“Incredibly excited for the opportunity to participate with USA Men’s Basketball this summer! I can’t wait!” Shamet tweeted out on Thursday.
The invitation is a vote of confidence in Shamet from Team USA officials that they view him as a rising star in the NBA. The 22-year-old will now be able to train and learn from some of the biggest NBA stars.
Shamet averaged 9.1 points as a rookie, first for the Philadelphia 76ers and then with the Los Angeles Clippers following a mid-season trade. He shot 42.2 percent on three-pointers and finished with 167 made three-pointers, the fourth-most all-time for an NBA rookie.