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#KU50: 34 Joel Embiid

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34 days until Kansas basketball!

Philadelphia 76ers Media Day Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

On the surface, it seems preposterous that a guy who played in just 647 minutes in a KU uniform can crack even the top 50, much less the top 35. But that 647 minute number belies how freaking incredible Joel Embiid was.

In his lone season, Embiid led the nation in Box Plus-Minus, led the Big 12 in defensive box plus-minus, led the Big 12 in rebound percentage, defensive rebound percentage, player efficiency rating, and finished 2nd in blocks, blocks per game, and 2 pt field goal percentage.

But, as we all know from watching him, Joel Embiid was a visual being more than anything else:

Beyond his regular boxscore numbers or his advanced stats, Embiid impressed me by his ability to seemingly learn some new skill each and every game. He went from gangly teenager to good interior defender, to legitimate post option, to showing off perimeter skills, to being far and away the overwhelming best option for the #1 pick in the NBA Draft in a matter of two months. Of course, it didn’t end well for him as injuries both ruined that #1 draft position and KU’s season, but even though that team had its problems in the back court (and with youth) I have never been more confident of any statement than I am saying if Embiid were healthy Kansas would have won the national championship that year.

It’s nearly impossible to rank a guy like Embiid. At his apex he is among the most talented players to ever pass through the school. But he played on what ended up being not a great team (again, mostly due to his injury), and he wasn’t around long enough to get onto those all time career lists. Still, he was the best defender in the country in his one year, and also one of the best offensive rebounders, foul drawers, and 2-point scorers. #TrustTheProcess

Previous:

35. Cedric Hunter

36. Russell Robinson

37. Eric Chenowith

38. Scot Pollard

39. Tyshawn Taylor

40. Darrell Arthur

41. Devonte Graham

42. Jerod Haase

43. Kenny Gregory

44. Wayne Selden

45. Otto Schnellbacher

46. Ryan Robertson

47. Xavier Henry

48. Mark Turgeon

49. Paul Mokeski

50. Charlie T. Black