Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid (21) and guard Andrew Wiggins (22) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid Grace ESPN the Magazine Cover

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For Andrew Wiggins, being a cover boy for a national magazine is nothing new. For Joel Embiid, hopefully it the first time of many.

Before even playing a game for the Kansas Jayhawks, Wiggins made the cover of Sports Illustrated, GQ, and ESPN the Magazine. After a shorter than hoped freshman campaign at Kansas, Wiggins, along with his freshman teammate, declared for the 2014 NBA Draft.

Now, both are on the cover of ESPN the Magazine together, alongside Duke’s Jabari Parker. These three presently occupy the top spots on on ESPN’s big board for the upcoming draft.

ESPN’s Chad Ford has Wiggins listed first, Embiid second, and Parker third. The Cleveland Cavaliers have the first pick, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday, June 26.

Wiggins led the Jayhawks in scoring as a freshman, averaging 17.1  points a game. He looked terrific at times on the offensive end, like when he scored 93 points over three games late in the season, including 41 in loss at West Virginia.

He also disappeared in some games including scoring just 6 against UTEP, 3 against Oklahoma State, 7 in a loss to Texas, and 4 in the season ending loss to Stanford in Kansas’ second game of the NCAA Tournament.

Embiid, with only 3 years of basketball experience, is less polished but brings a lot of enthusiasm to the game. He developed quickly under Bill Self at Kansas, and is now on the brink of being at the least one of the top three picks in this years draft.

The big fella did battle back injuries late in his freshman season at Kansas, missing the last 6 games of the season, including both the Big 12 and the NCAA Tournaments. He averaged 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds a game, and blocked 72 shots on the season. He sat out 7 total games because of his back.

The upside for both players is phenomenal. Both are incredible athletes. Wiggins is as quick of a jumper as you will ever see, and Embiid has as much grace and quickness as you will find with a player his size.

Wiggins has a beautiful pull-up mid-range jump shot that could be a huge weapon in the NBA, while Embiid could be a defensive stopper on the inside.

Both need to improve their strength, and learn how to finish at the rim.

According to Eli Saslow of ESPN the Magazine, Embiid will go first to Cleveland, and the Milwaukee Bucks will select Wiggins.

One of the best predictions you will see coming from a basketball coach was made last summer by Louisville Cardinals Head Coach Rick Pitino. He told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman:

“I think Kansas could have the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the draft with [Andrew] Wiggins and Embiid. [Embiid] does everything,”

While having two of the most sought after draft prospects didn’t help the Kansas Jayhawks go very far in the NCAA Tournament, they did help Kansas win a 10th straight regular season conference championship.

Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid will always be Jayhawks, and all Kansas fans can be proud of their accomplishments. If  they go 1-2 in the draft, it was be terrific for the university, and will make Rick Pitino look like quite the prognosticator.

Not many people were projecting Embiid to go this early in the first round, especially not a year ago. He looked more like a talented project but he worked hard, and is now on the cusp of being, at the very least, a top 3 draft pick.

Whether it is Wiggins or Embiid drafted first, it is a proud time to be a Kansas Jayhawk.

Maybe both Wiggins and Embiid can have long, productive careers, and get to appear on many magazine covers. Jayhawk fans only know that they didn’t get to see enough of them in Allen Fieldhouse.

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Tags: Andrew Wiggins ESPN The Magazine Joel Embiid Kansas Jayhawks

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