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Top 30 Seasons Under Bill Self: #16 Joel Embiid 2014

NCAA Basketball: Towson v Kansas Rich Sugg/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Time for more controversy folks. In 2014, Joel Embiid turned in an incredible season on a per minute basis, but was cut down by injuries. In total, he played fewer than 50 percent of the Jayhawks’ minutes that season. So how does he get on this list?

For starters, he’s one of 4 Jayhawks to average 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game in a season since 1993. Next, Joel Embiid led the entire country in box plus minus in 2014, and led the Big 12 in PER, rebound percentage, and defensive box plus minus.

Among KU players since 2008, Embiid’s 2014 season is 4th in box plus minus, and he is also fourth in block percentage. Embiid was surprisingly versatile offensively given his lack of experience. Obviously everyone knows about the dream shake against New Mexico, but he was a good passer out of the double team, offensive rebounder, post up player, and deadly in the open court. He showed all of this off in a few minute stretch against Iowa State in Ames in his freshman season. Among KU players since 2008, Embiid ranks 8th in offensive rebounding, and among Jayhawks 6-9 or taller, he is second in assist rate only to Thomas Robinson in 2012. He’s also second among Jayhawks 6-9 or taller in steal rate. He also has the highest free throw rate for a Jayhawk since 2008.

Feel free to ding Embiid for getting hurt. Feel free to note that Kansas wasn’t the best team in the country early, even with Embiid in the lineup (he was in the lineup for 7 of KU’s 10 losses in 2014). That’s about all you can do, though. The 2014 Jayhawks had 3 freshmen and a sophomore in their starting lineup for much of the season, and another freshman (some Frank Mason guy) got a lot of minutes off the bench. It seems like a lot to expect the least experienced of those freshmen to lead them, but that’s what Embiid did. When he was in the game, the ball went through him, and he responded with a well rounded, efficient season on offense coupled with one of the better interior defensive performances in the country that season. I’ll forever think Kansas was a final four team with a healthy Embiid, and he no doubt would have been in the top 10 of this list with a fully healthy season, which is almost as high of an honor.

Previous entries:

17. Sherron Collins 2010

18. Darrell Arthur 2008

19. Cole Aldrich 2010

20. Ben McLemore 2013

21. Markieff Morris 2011

22. Andrew Wiggins 2014

23. Jeff Withey 2013

24. Josh Jackson 2017

25. Marcus Garrett 2020

26. Travis Releford 2013

27. Perry Ellis 2015

28. Udoka Azubuike 2018

29. Wayne Simien 2004

30. Devonte Graham 2017

31. Malik Newman 2018

32. Wayne Selden 2016

33. Keith Langford 2004