Skip to content

Andrew Wiggins picks Kansas, makes Jayhawks a title contender

May 14, 2013, 12:11 PM EDT

Andrew Wiggins AP

Remember all that talk about how this could end up being the year that Kansas ends their streak of winning at least a share of nine straight Big 12 regular season title?

Remember how we all thought that Marcus Smart and Le’Bryan Nash — and maybe Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson — returning to school for another season would be the biggest news of the offseason in the Big 12?

Remember when Oklahoma State was the best team in the conference?

That all changed on Tuesday afternoon when Andrew Wiggins, the Canadian-born forward out of Huntington Prep (WV) and the top high school recruit in the country, announced that he would be spending his one year of college basketball playing for Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks.

Of the four teams involved in the final pursuit of a prospect many believe to be on par with Kevin Durant and LeBron James, Kansas probably had the most to gain by bringing in the freakishly athletic, 6-foot-7 wing. Wiggins is a pure-bred scorer, a kid whose athleticism borders on genetic mutation — that’s what happens when your father was a first round pick in the NBA and your mother won silver medals as a sprinter in the Olympics — that has the handle and shooting ability to be so much more than just a dunker. He’s the go-to guy that Self has desperately needed since Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor headed off to the NBA after the 2012 national title game.

Because the Jayhawks do have talent on their roster, it’s just young talent.

Joel Embiid may be the best center in the Class of 2013. He’ll team up in the front court with Perry Ellis, a scoring machine when he was in high school that finally gained some confidence by the end of the season. Self will have a myriad of perimeter weapons at his disposal as well– five-star freshman Wayne Selden, Andrew White, Brannen Greene and the three-headed attack at the point of Naadir Tharpe, Connor Frankamp and Frank Mason.

The problem is that as good as all of those kids are going to be down the road, they are all young and/or inexperienced right now. Tharpe is going to be next year’s ‘veteran leader’, and he was so shaky at the point last season that Self was forced to play Elijah Johnson there even when Johnson was playing with the self-confidence of a middle school tuba player hitting on Blake Lively. Ellis was a touted recruit coming out of high school, but he played behind a guy that transferred in from Loyola Marymount. Combined, those two played fewer minutes per game last season than Travis Releford.

That’s the kind of experience that Self was going to be forced to deal with in 2013-2014.

But with Wiggins on the roster, those young guys can simply embrace being role players. They won’t have to shoulder too much responsibility, because Wiggins will be the guy that a) Self builds his offense around and b) defenses focus on stopping. It will be a lot easier for someone like Ellis or Selden or Embiid to have an impact offensively when they are constantly going up against a defense shaded towards Wiggins.

The beauty of it is that this is also a good thing for Kansas basketball in the future. Wiggins is gone after this season, but with a year of development at the collegiate level, who’s to say that someone like Embiid or Selden can’t turn into an all-american caliber player as a sophomore? Self is as good at developing talent as any coach in the country, and with Wiggins in the fold, he can do just that with his youngsters without having to worry about putting too much on their plate too early in their career.

Because that streak is a burden.

No one wants to be a part of the Kansas team that couldn’t win the Big 12 regular season title.

With Wiggins on the roster, the burden of that pressure lands on his shoulders.

And he’s good enough to handle it.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Latest Posts
  1. Auburn strikes in 2015 with a four-star wing

    Aug 22, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Bruce Pearl AP

    Auburn made a recruiting move on Friday night with the addition of Danjel Purifoy.

  2. Missouri has a tough non-conference slate in Kim Anderson’s first year

    Aug 22, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Missouri has a fair amount of quality teams on its non-conference schedule.

  3. Oregon State guard improving in hospital after collapsing in practice

    Aug 22, 2014, 6:10 PM EDT

    Jesse Skoubo/Corvallis Gazette-Times Jesse Skoubo/Corvallis Gazette-Times

    An Oregon State incoming guard is improving in the hospital after collapsing earlier in the week.

  4. College Basketball Talk’s Recruiting Roundup

    Aug 22, 2014, 5:05 PM EDT

    (Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

    College Basketball Talk’s recruiting column explores the week’s topics.

  5. Former Memphis center officially enrolls at Tennessee

    Aug 22, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Dominic Woodson is now officially a Tennessee Volunteer.

  6. Report: Boston College lands Southern Miss graduate transfer

    Aug 22, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT

    Johnathan Williams III, Aaron Brown AP

    Aaron Brown averaged 9.9 points per game and shot 39 percent from three last season, and he’ll be eligible to play immediately.

  7. NCAA takes next step in appeal of Ed O’Bannon lawsuit ruling

    Aug 22, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT

    NCAA_Logo AP

    Having stated their intention of appealing the ruling in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit, the NCAA filed a notice of appeal on Thursday.

  8. Texas A&M lands important 2015 front court commitment

    Aug 22, 2014, 12:07 PM EDT

    D1Circuit.com D1Circuit.com

    Five-star center Tyler Davis becomes Texas A&M’s first commitment, and he’s an important addition for Billy Kennedy.

  9. Michigan freshman discusses his return to the basketball court (VIDEO)

    Aug 22, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    Austin Hatch checking into the game for the first time (Michigan Athletics) Austin Hatch checking into the game for the first time (Michigan Athletics)

    Austin Hatch, who saw his first action in a Michigan uniform on Saturday, discussed his return to the court on The Today Show.

  10. Makeover of Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse nearing completion

    Aug 22, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    Brandon Miller Brandon Miller

    Upon completion, Hinkle Fieldhouse will have a brand new look while preserving the building’s storied past.

  11. Big Ten releases conference schedule: Michigan, Wisconsin meet January 24

    Aug 22, 2014, 9:44 AM EDT

    John Beilein AP

    The conference tournament will now span five days, with there being a doubleheader on Wednesday, March 11 (11 seed vs. 14 seed, 12 seed vs. 13 seed).

  12. Four-star combo forward decommits from Ohio State

    Aug 21, 2014, 11:06 PM EDT

    mitchell

    More than two months after his older brother left the football program, Mickey Mitchell has decided to decommit from Ohio State.

  13. Power forward becomes Missouri’s first 2015 commitment

    Aug 21, 2014, 10:14 PM EDT

    Kim Anderson AP

    6-foot-7 forward Kevin Puryear was a point forward for his high school team last season.

  14. Creighton’s logos draw ire of Major League Baseball franchise

    Aug 21, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT

    Creighton University Creighton University

    The Toronto Blue Jays aren’t thrilled with Creighton filing an application to trademark its logo, which was unveiled last September.

  15. Bounceback season lands formerly maligned Big 12 coach an extension

    Aug 21, 2014, 7:21 PM EDT

    Baylor Bears v Texas Longhorns Getty Images

    Rick Barnes entered last season on nearly every pundit’s “hot seat” rankings, only to turn things around and win 24 games.

  16. Little League phenom has dreams of playing for Geno Auriemma

    Aug 21, 2014, 5:55 PM EDT

    Mo'ne Davis Mo'ne Davis

    Mo’ne Davis is currently focused on winning a LLWS title, but down the line she really wants to run the point at UConn.

  17. Former Temple great returns to join Fran Dunphy’s coaching staff

    Aug 21, 2014, 4:37 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Aaron McKie ranks sixth on Temple’s all-time scoring list, and he played 13 seasons in the NBA.

  18. Kevin Ollie wisely adds series with Ohio State, Arizona

    Aug 21, 2014, 3:57 PM EDT

    Kevin Ollie AP

    UConn’s league schedule is only getting weaker. They need to beef up in the non-conference.

  19. John Calipari can be a great coach with being an x’s-and-o’s mastermind

    Aug 21, 2014, 3:19 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    A quick explanation of why John Calipari can be a great coach without being a great x’s-and-o’s coach.