With just over 20 seconds left, the ball came to the top ranked Freshman on the right wing, Kansas down 2. He rose, fired, and made his 5th three pointer of the day, narrowly averting an upset. It was a great debut for Josh Selby, and probably his best day in a Kansas uniform.
Andrew Wiggins doesn't care about college basketball. He won't come right out and say it, but one doesn't have to read between the lines too hard to figure it out:
"I really didn't watch college basketball when I was young," Wiggins tells me.
But who was your favorite college team?
"I never had one," Wiggins says with a smile.
"What did Kevin Durant do in college?" Wiggins asks before reminding me that he never actually watched Durant play a minute of college basketball.
"Kevin averaged 26 points a game," I tell Wiggins.
"But did he have a good team?" Wiggins asks, and it is at this moment when I realize that though I'm talking to an immensely gifted young man who currently projects as the consensus No. 1 pick in next June's NBA Draft, Andrew Wiggins is not all that interested in trying to set scoring records because, honestly, he doesn't even know what they are, and it's never occurred to him to ask.
I'm not suggesting Wiggins isn't going to try his damndest to win a national title at Kansas. But there's no doubt his real prize will come next June when he is selected very very early in the best NBA Draft in recent memory.
While every Kansas fan would give a limb (or certainly some fingers and toes) to be able to play for the Jayhawks, having someone who is a little more aloof about college basketball in general could work out well for Kansas, especially when that person has the amount of hype around him that Andrew Wiggins does.
Wiggins has already been hyped to an incredible degree. He was supposed to be the #1 pick in next year's draft before reclassifying to the class of 2013 and thus becoming the likely favorite to be picked first next June. He has been tabbed a future star for years, had throngs at every AAU tournament he's played at, and dominated at the Nike Hoops Summit when he was a full year younger than most of the competitors there, then did it again this year.
After his commitment to Kansas, though, it was taken to another level. Wiggins has done a photoshoot for GQ, and recently came this:
The new SI cover: Wilt, @CoachDManning and @22wiggins, starring in "The Freshman" pic.twitter.com/9rSoQZmBk7— Luke Winn (@lukewinn) October 9, 2013
Winn has said he's not comparing Wiggins to Wilt and Manning, but rather pointing out that three hyped Freshmen have come to KU roughly 20 years apart from each other. But that cover, and this, pointed to something entirely different.
Still....I don't think it will be an issue. Wiggins has always shunned the spotlight and appeared bored by all of the recruiting chatter, and he appears bored by the questions of pressure and whatnot now. There have also been reports of some inconsistent effort issues in practice, as there was when he played AAU, but whatever. If it is an issue in March, we can discuss it then. Until then, let's not worry. With all of the recruiting eyes on him two summers ago, he made Julius Randle look like just another guy. When some people decided it would be a good idea to call him overrated, he did this.
People are going to say Wiggins is underwhelming because of the type of player he is. He's not going to shoot 20 times a game, and probably won't be a 20 points per game scorer. He'll score, he'll pass, he'll rebound, he'll have some highlight reel dunks and he'll defend very well. He's the type of player who can take control of a game without scoring, which is going to make NBA scouts drool, but it might lead to some fans and writers with below average basketball IQs to try to call him overrated.
It's all the same though. This is the next step. First, he's hyped as the #1 pick. Next, some writer writes a column that he'd take Julius Randle #1 over him. Lastly, fans and writers say there is something wrong with him and he's overrated.
But, as illustrated with the examples above, let them. Wiggins seems like a nice kid and while he hasn't asked for this kind of attention and this kind of hype, he has it. The good news is, he seems like the perfect guy to handle it.