The Kansas Jayhawks have plenty of talent and potential, but also a good amount of questions this season. One of the concerns for KU — as it was last year — is the point guard position. After splitting time with Elijah Johnson as a sophomore, Naadir Tharpe was expected to take on the role as the full-time floor general, but that will have to wait until at least the second game of the regular season.
When the season starts on Nov. 8 against Louisiana-Monroe, Tharpe will be serving a one-game suspension for playing in an unauthorized summer league game. While visiting teammate Jamari Traylor, Tharpe played in a Chicago summer league, which violated an NCAA rule. Self announced the suspension following Kansas’ 97-57 exhibition win over Pittsburgh State on Tuesday night.
“He played in it, (and) he wasn’t allowed to play in it, because it wasn’t from here and it wasn’t from his own area,” Self told reporters following the game. “So he goes up there to hang out with ‘Mari (Jamari Traylor), and he plays in one summer-league game. So we self-reported that, because he didn’t get prior approval, which he would not have gotten because it wasn’t in his area. It’s a game for a game. Naadir can play in the next exhibition game, but he will not play in our first regular-season game.”
In the preseason win, Tharpe played 23 minutes, scoring seven points, connecting on all three shots he took and dished out nine assists to zero turnovers. Tharpe will eligible to play on Nov. 5 against Fort Hays State in the final preseason game, though freshman point guard Frank Mason will get the start.
Mason will also get the start against Louisiana-Monore three days later. Mason, a four-star recruit, logged 18 minutes on Tuesday night, scoring five points and recorded an assist, but committed three turnovers. Conner Frankamp, another four-star freshman point guard, got 11 minutes of action and missed all three 3-pointers he attempted.
Tharpe averaged 5.5 points and 3.1 points per game as a sophomore. The junior point guard will make his season debut against Duke on Nov. 12.