Tuesday morning, Conner Frankamp was living a dream.
Across from him at a table laden with breakfast in Las Vegas were the members of the 2012 iteration of Team USA. LeBron James. Kevin Durant. His personal favorite - Kobe Bryant.
It was…more than a little surreal for the 6-foot-1, 170-pound superstar guard out of Wichita (KS) North, and it was only going to get better. After breakfast, he and the Team USA Under-17 squad were going to watch the group of NBA vets workout in preparation for their own upcoming competition.
It was a once in a lifetime experience for most kids who grow up living on the hardwood, pounding away in the gym during the day and glued to the television watching college and NBA hoops at night. But for Frankamp, it might not be the coolest thing he'd done in the past week.
Because the Kansas commitment now has a second gold medal hanging from around his neck, after Team USA defeated Australian on July 8 in the FIBA U17 World Championship, 95-62. Frankamp had done the same a year ago with the USA U16 team, and said the experience is one that never gets old.
"It felt just as good this time as it did last year," he said. "This year's tournament was a lot bigger than last year's, because last year's was used kind of as a qualifier."
"Sitting with the NBA players was pretty crazy," Frankamp added. "But hearing the national anthem being played after you won the gold medal was pretty special, too."
Frankamp was, in a word, outstanding during Team USA's run to the title. Continuing an explosive summer on the court during which he is proving himself to be one of the elite guards in the country, he led Team USA in scoring in Lithuania - on a team that included the likes of Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafaor and Justise Winslow.
Perhaps his brightest moment came during the gold medal game with Australia, as he exploded during the fourth quarter for the bulk of his game-high 22 points, which included a four-of-six performance from beyond the arc.
A little trash-talk from Australian guard Felix Von Hofe appeared to set Frankamp off, and he went on a scoring spree, nailing deep jumpers from all over the floor including one a solid two steps from beyond the international line.
"Not too much actually," Frankamp said, laughing, when asked what Von Hofe said. "He was telling me how he could guard me and all this stuff, so maybe (it got him fired up) a little bit. I just knocked down a shot or two and that got me in my groove."
Since the summer began, national recruiting analysts have praised his high level of play, noting that he's more than a pure outside shooter and has the skills of a complete point guard.
Frankamp doesn't feel there's any big secret as to how he's raised his level of play. He's just continued to put in hard work on every aspect of his game, though he does feel as if the 'point guard' aspect of his game has flown a little under the radar until now.
"Most people just see me as a shooter, but I see myself as a point guard and in college I'll play the point," he said. "I like to distribute the ball more than I like to score."
Upon returning to the United States, Frankamp spoke with several Kansas coaches including Head Coach Bill Self, who all expressed their satisfaction with what he had accomplished thus far.
"They just congratulated me and all that," he said. "They're proud of me, and proud of my improvement."
Now, after a few days to rest, it's back to basketball. Frankamp will rejoin his KC Run GMC teammates in St. Louis for an event this weekend.
He's taking time to enjoy every moment of this hectic summer, but admitted he wouldn't mind a breather here and there.
"I enjoy it a lot, for sure," he said, of the busy schedule. "I wouldn't mind a little bit of a break - a little bit - but it all comes with the success and what I'm doing. So I enjoy it."