With the exhibition games out of the way for Kansas Jayhawks basketball team, and the official start of the 2013-2014 season just a short day away, it is time to start finishing our look at the players who will make up this season’s Kansas Jayhawks basketball squad.
Over the next few days, KC Kingdom will finish its feature series of player profiles, taking a look at each player on the team and where they may fit in.
Naadir Tharpe’s profile is here, Perry Ellis‘ is here, Jamari Traylor‘s is here, Andrew White III’s is here, Frank Mason’s here, Landen Lucas’ is here, Tarik Black‘s is here, Conner Frankamp’s is here, Brannen Greene’s is here, Joel Embiid’s is here, and Wayne Selden’s is right here.
So much has been written about Kansas Jayhawk freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins, that a profile is hardly necessary. He has been featured in Sports Illustrated, GQ, and ESPN Magazine. An interview with Wiggins aired on ESPN earlier this week, as well. The kid is the darling of the national media.
These awards are all great, and they bring national attention to the Kansas Jayhawks. The key to success though, is to be on these lists, and to win these awards, AFTER the season. Wiggins hasn’t even played an official game for the Jayhawks yet, and he hasn’t looked like an All-American against the two Division II teams Kansas faced in preparation for the regular season.
Wiggins averaged 13 points against Pittsburgh State and Fort Hays State – not a figure to inspire dreams of a National Player of the Year award. Still, Wiggins is just an 18-year old kid, and he needs to get acclimated to the new atmosphere, a new system, new coaches, and new teammates.
In those two exhibition games, he showed hints of his talents but he hasn’t been aggressive or consistent yet.Hopefully it is just a matter of time. Kansas starts their official season Friday against Louisiana-Monroe, then the take on Duke Tuesday in Chicago. He will have to find his way quickly.
There is always a fine line on Bill Self’s teams. He preaches team basketball, which doesn’t always translate into star individual performances by one player night in and night out.
Still, if the talent enough, players gets plenty of opportunity to shine through. Self needs to guide Wiggins through that space between stepping up and excelling within a team structure, and being a me-first ball hog.
In all honesty, Wiggins doesn’t appear to be as a selfish person or player. He will find his place in this system, and will probably average close to 20 points a year, a high number on a Self squad.
It does seem as if Wiggins does need work on his jump shot. As he hones that part of the game, hopefully he will put the ball on the floor and create shots around the rim for himself as well as his teammates. His quickness could leave many a defender trailing the play as Wiggins explodes for the basket. That will probably be the strongest part of his game.
Of course, he will have to play defense. He was not impressive in this aspect of the game in the first two practice games (none of the Jayhawks were), but Coach Self stresses defense as hard as any coach in the country.
Look for the young Jayhawks’ to improve on defense sooner rather than later, including Wiggins. With his length, size, and quickness, he could be a dominant college defender.
It will be almost impossible for Wiggins to live up to all if the hype that surrounds him. Even if he is 75% as effective as predicted, he will be a very productive and successful player in his one year at Kansas. He will have to be ready quickly as early games against Duke, Florida, and Georgetown will keep Wiggins and Kansas in the national spotlight.
Enjoy the luxury of getting to watch him every game, Jayhawk fans. It will be a while before a similar talent dwells in the “Phog.”