It wasn't the freshman that everyone expected to see dominate a game early in the season, but it was a freshman nonetheless. Joel Embiid left every fan in Allen Fieldhouse and those watching on television drooling a bit with the thought of what he could develop into. The only troubling part is that the best of Joel Embiid is probably going to come after he departs for the NBA.
Kansas took on a pesky Iona team that was knocking down threes throughout and kept things close through the beginning of the second half before Kansas pulled away. For the Jayhawks it was a different look than the Duke game as we continue to see this freshman recruiting class and Perry Ellis takeover. Last night it wasn't the Andrew Wiggins show however, last night Joel Embiid had his best game of a very young Kansas career notching 16 points and 13 rebounds on 7 of 7 shooting from the field.
It's pretty simple, Embiid just looks comfortable beyond his years and comfortable beyond that of a 7 footer that is a freshman in college. When was the last time you can remember a 7 foot freshman euro-stepping his way to the rim for an easy lay in? It was fun to watch and Kansas ultimately pulled away comfortably with Embiid stealing the show.
Of course there were also the usual suspects. Perry Ellis is easily the most confident and consistent player on the court for the Jayhawks as he quietly put together a 21 point 7 rebound performance. Watching a sophomore who took his lumps and waited his turn as a freshman is always great to see and it's a classic Bill Self developmental story. Ellis continues to be overshadowed by the freshman hype, but he's deserving of a great deal of praise for what he's done so far this season.
It was a good win, not a great one. The defensive intensity in the first half was a bit lackluster and the continued adjustment to the new rules is less and less of an issue, but still an issue. Frank Mason continues to grow early in the season, Wayne Selden was quiet but effective in his role and Andrew Wiggins once again made the incredibly athletic look easy.
Bill Self has plenty to work on, especially when you look at what Oklahoma State did last night to Memphis. But for the most part this team has as high of a ceiling as any team Kansas has had. It's just a matter of finding a way to achieve that potential before all this talent moves on to the next level.