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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Wiggins’ growing pains worth it

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins hangs his head while heading to the bench after a string of Jayhawk turnovers against Villanova during the first half on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins hangs his head while heading to the bench after a string of Jayhawk turnovers against Villanova during the first half on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

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Andrew Wiggins played one lousy basketball game in the Bahamas. During the three-game Battle 4 Atlantis, he was no better than Kansas University’s third-best freshman, ranking behind Joel Embiid and Frank Mason. I have two words to say about that: So what?

It’s not as if he’s the first talented basketball player to experience bouts of inconsistency during the first post-high school November of his career.

The tougher the coach, the more shocking the transition to college basketball. Bill Self is no softy. Many watching the tourney on TV noticed Self appeared to mouth the word “soft” to Wiggins at one point.

Wiggins joins a long list of Self players, past and present, to hear that label sent their way. They grow tired of hearing it, realize the coach isn’t going to dumb down his standards for anyone, stop fighting him and do it his way more consistently as the season progresses. They tend to like the result of everyone doing the things that keep words such as “soft” and the gentler euphemism “casual” from flying off Self’s tongue.

Nobody is exempt from getting blasted for shying from contact when crashing the boards or chasing loose balls, putting style ahead of substance when on the way to dunks, not running hard in transition in both directions every single time, things like that. For most players coming out of high school, those things aren’t second-nature until bad habits have been cleansed through daily feedback behind the closed doors of practices and the fishbowl of games.

Everything Wiggins does, the good and not-so-good, is magnified because of his inflated fame and thanks to talent outbursts so loud they feed the hunger to see more, more, more! Now and forever, for crying out loud!

Rare is the athlete who blends so much length and quickness as Wiggins. Consequently, about 70 percent of what Self likes to call “50/50 balls” should be possessed by Wiggins if he goes after them with the same fervor as an average small forward.

All of that makes Wiggins the perfect candidate to take advantage of Self’s coaching style, which includes a variety of ways that challenge each player to prove his mettle.

It will come as a shock if Wiggins doesn’t improve a great deal over the course of the next few months, an exciting proposition considering the extent to which he already has made positive contributions.

He hasn’t shot well yet (.493 overall, .333 from three), another common first-November occurrence, yet he’s still averaging 14.3 points, second on the team to Perry Ellis. He ranks third in rebounding (5.6), behind Joel Embiid and Ellis, first in steals and has the best plus-minus number on the team with a plus-14.8. Most of the 72 minutes Wiggins has sat have not come at garbage time. Without Wiggins on the floor, KU actually has been outscored, 138-132.

As for whether he deserved the No. 1 ranking he received from Rivals.com, those rankings no longer project what player will be the best freshman. They basically skip the one year the top prospects play in college and already look to them as NBA prospects.

So far, Kentucky’s Julius Randle and Duke’s Jabari Parker have been the best freshmen in the country.

The best guess as to the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft? Embiid. Why not take him first?

It’s way premature to label Wiggins a disappointment.

One month into his one-year college career, he remains what he was in high school, an outstanding prospect. Watching him turn into an outstanding basketball player over the next few months will make for fascinating viewing.

Comments

Doug Cramer 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe someone that has a deep understanding of basketball...in conjunction with watching Self's coaching tactics the past several years...can explain why number 1 high school picks don't come right out of the gate soaring with dominate performance in this program.

Xavier Henry and Josh Selby come to mind. Neither really dominated the game like many of us believed.

However...you take guys of that caliber...and keep them in Self's system for 3-4 years...then they tend to blossom. T-Rob comes to mind. Morris Twins. Mario Chalmers. Sasha Kaun. Arthur. Could even make a case for Taylor. His senior season seemed MUCH better than his first 3.

I hope Embiid and Selden hangs around for another 2-3 seasons before moving on to the NBA. It would have done BMAC some good if he would have stayed.

Playing multiple years under Self is an investment to ur NBA career in my opinion.

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Steve Zimmerman 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Then, there are guys like Wall, Cousins, Anthony. They don't dominate in the NBA, but they're quite productive the first year. Selby & BMac can be that good. Perhaps it's the tactics that matter. Just saying.

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Benz Junque 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Go compare Wall's numbers and Wiggins' numbers for their first seven games. My guess is that they are very comparable.

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Jack Wilson 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I was curious on Wall, too .. I looked. Wall was averaging 18.1 point per game his first 7 games vs. Wiggins 14.3. Wall also has 7.7 assists per game. Lowest total was 5 in a game, highest was 14.

But the point is that it is way, way too early to judge Wiggins. Wall ended at 16.6 per game. Totally reasonable to think that Wiggins could end around that number.

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Sean Doherty 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Regardless of your post, Doug, I was going to post this anyways. It's just ironic that you posted what you did before what I'm about to say.

In my opinion as a backseat jockey of a coach, i.e. no experience whatsoever, I believe I have a valid opinion as to why one and done's don't work in HCBS's system.

Look at how Self plays the game. I want to make this quick so i'm not going to list all the tangibles. Self's system takes too long for one year players to pick it up. Plain and simple. Bill Self plays a type of system that literally takes 1+ years to become accustomed to it and to learn the ins and outs of his system. It's not rocket science here people. Self plays ball to win it all. And to win it all year in and year out, you need a deep, hardcore system of stingy defense and serious plays. It just can't be learned and followed through properly in one year. Simple as that. Self is not the type of coach who does well with one and done's. He requires his players to play his system, which takes years to learn and perfect. On the other hand, we can look at Coach Cal. He basically just lets his players do what they are used to doing. He gives them the freedom to do what they want, which is how they know how to play. Granted, this gives the players very little preparation for the next level though. All Cal has to do is let them play their offensive game and hopes he can get them to jell together. Completely different than what Bill Self does with his teams. If players had to stay for 3 years, mandatory, Bill Self would be the uncontested champion of the Era. As it stands now, you just can't get all of Self ball into 18 year old's heads. It takes to much time. Imagine a player like Wayne Selden staying for 5 years like Travis Releford did. Imagine the possibilities of something like that happening with multiple top 20 players.

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Jonny Swift 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Oh my god. You just blew my mind. I just imagined a starting lineup including Mason, Selden, Wiggins, and Embiid as Seniors and Alexander as a Junior. That team would be absolutely unstoppable after knowing the ins and outs of Bill's complex system. That right there could be the first undefeated team of all time.

I agree with most of what you said here, especially with what you said about Cal haha. It does take awhile to learn everything in Self's system and put it into practice. Most players take multiple years to get it and have to mature as students, athletes, and people. However this squad is so talented and learning so quickly, I think they can pick it up faster than our past frosh and hopefully start playing Self basketball by the time conference play rolls around.

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Clarence Haynes 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Nice! Now back to the real world guys!

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Benz Junque 8 months, 3 weeks ago

STOP. This ridiculous notion that OADs "don't work" in Self's system is preposterous. NO player is going to average 20 and 10 in Self's system. The people that think this simply have the wrong definition of "working".

Xavier Henry had an excellent year. It's just that people think that "falling" to a draft pick lower than #2 is "not working" or not averaging 20 points a game is "not working".

Self's system is not complicated. If Andrew Wiggins was playing at the same intensity level as fellow freshman Frank Mason we would not be having this conversation.

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Jim Jackson 8 months, 3 weeks ago

X did not have an excellent year; I think he averaged 12 pts per game and was absent during the Northern Iowa game; his last.

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Benz Junque 8 months, 3 weeks ago

He averaged 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals in his 27 minutes a game. Like Wiggins, Henry could have been more aggressive but was too nice and wanted to be "one of the guys".

Maybe Self just needs to recruit more egotistical selfish players that will put up bigger stats to impress people.

As for the Northern Iowa game, that loss is 100% on Sherron Collins. He played with zero effort and intensity as the team "leader" and sucked at all aspects of the game. Henry had 8 pts and 8 boards on 50% shooting while Collins shot 4-15 and had 5 turnovers. Worse, Collins just walked the ball up most possessions and never seemed to play with any type of urgency at all. That lack of effort level from the team leader is like a cancer that spreads to teammates. Add in three lucky three pointers for Northern Iowa and a loss is born. That's not on Henry.

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Jeremy Wilhelm 8 months, 3 weeks ago

What do you call an excellent year then? X wasn't the number one option on that team by a long shot either. I'm sure there were guys around college ball that year who averaged more points, but my bet is that they were THE guy on their respective teams.

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Erich Hartmann 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Benz, you can blame Sherron all you want/your perogative...just know he had a pulled groin and was never better than 80% the 2nd half of that season. Now go ahead and blame Tyrel Reed for VCU (along with Markieff), and keep blaming EJ (the usual scapegoat) for the Michigan game, along with BMac (missed point blank baseline layup late) and KYo/Withey (left a 50/50 ball for MitchMcGary to make a quick layup underneath... Also, dont forget to blame TRob + Withey for missing 3 dunks vs. KY in the '12Champ game, along with Tyshawn for missing 2 FTs too many.

And while you are at it, go ahead and blame Collison+Langford (FT woes) for losing the '03Champ game to Syracuse. I see how your brain works, so Im giving you more juicy tidbits you can spread your blame around on, right?

Ahh, but dont forget to blame Mario Chalmers + Rush for blowing all the bunnies vs UCLA in the Elite8 loss in '07. Not sure if you can appreciate what Sherron did vs. Memphis, can you? Tell me where your heart is, friend? Is it "with" KU basketball?

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Suzi Marshall 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm going to quit reading your comments, they bring up too many depressing emotions..

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Walter Bridges 8 months, 3 weeks ago

EJ played his worst 3 minutes of his career against Michigan. I still can't believe Self didn't yank him when he completely lost control of his game. Missed FT's did more harm to KU than anything Syracuse or Carmelo did in 2003

But I still believe you win as a team and lose as a team..there are always key moments that stick out in our collective memories but we were in a position to win those game but nobody was able to step up and hit a damn shot.

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John Fitzgerald 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Nailed it! I agree with you 100% ... Look at Jabari Parker as well. You may think Cal's "system" is easy but there's no way Coach K's system is any easier than Selfs. We have to understand Self promotes team work and defense. We have too much talent for one guy to score more than 20 a game. Wiggins is doing just fine I just feel he needs to pick up the intensity.

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Eli Gross 8 months, 3 weeks ago

lol I know right? Xavier averaged almost 16 ppg

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Benz Junque 8 months, 3 weeks ago

It's not hard to play hard. It's not hard to learn to run after your team gets a rebound. It's not hard to learn to turn down bad shots and instead to pass to try to get a better shot. It's not hard to go after rebounds aggressively. It's not hard to dive for loose balls.

This is all about intensity. Some players, like Mason, walk in the door and play with the intensity needed to perform well in Self's system right away. Mason may make a few mental mistakes but overall Self LOVES what he is getting from Mason because of the intensity level he plays at.

Just sit back and imagine if Wiggins played with the same intensity at both ends of the floor that Mason is playing with. That's all that Self is looking for from this team and it dosn't take a year to learn to do that. Mason has been able to do it from Day One. It is a mindset, not a skill. Parker and Randle are thriving because they are playing more aggresively not because of the system their coaches run.

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Walter Bridges 8 months, 3 weeks ago

If its not rocket science than it shouldn't take more than one year for someone who has been compared w/the all-time greats.

Why would Coach Self target one and done players? It should stand to reason that Coach Self wouldn't sign one and done players knowing before hand that these kids wouldn't have the time to learn his system. Players such as White, Greene and Frankamp should be on the court learning the system, not fighting over a few minutes while the one and done players grab the majority of playing time.

HCBS stands to lose a lot of credibility on the recruiting trail if the best player since Lebron James can not produce near the levels of the other top recruits especially after what happened with Selby.

I personally do not agree with your analysis and think that Wiggins will come out of his early slump and lead this team to a Final Four appearance. I also think you underplay Coach Cal's coaching ability. He does a lot more than just pick the lineup and let the players play.

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Benz Junque 8 months, 3 weeks ago

"If its not rocket science than it shouldn't take more than one year for someone who has been compared w/the all-time greats."

I assume that you are talking about Wiggins, who has not played "more than one year". He has played seven games. You do not know how long it will take him to figure out that he needs to play mroe consistently aggressive.

"HCBS stands to lose a lot of credibility on the recruiting trail if the best player since Lebron James can not produce near the levels of the other top recruits especially after what happened with Selby."

Duke has TWO guys that can score at a high level with any type of consistency. Kansas has more than twice that many. I think recruits are smart enough to understand that numbers don't mean much when compared. They are about development and preparation for the next level. I can 100% guarantee that Wiggins will be as prepared and ready to go to the next level as he would have been had he gone to Kentucky, Florida State or Carolina.

Stats don't lie, but they also don't tell the truth. They're just numbers.

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Walter Bridges 8 months, 2 weeks ago

No argument.. I was basically pointing out that if HCBS didn't believe one and done players could learn his system by the time conference play starts then he wouldn't recruit those players. He recruited three possible one and done players this year and two more (so far) for next year.

I was responding to Seans post and pretty much agree with everything you just stated.

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Beau Woolsey 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I look at it like this Wiggins can either be Selby, Xavier, or he can be wiggins. Selby was a disaster, Xavier was good but was not constantly great like he could have been, or Wiggins could be Wiggins and dominate college basketball. I think wiggins partly chose Kansas to prove that latter. A lot of his UTep shots were very close, once his three starts falling he will be destroying opponents. On a side note I am really mad that Wiggins has only dunked with two hands, coach should bench him for lack of style.

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John Randall 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Beau, is it asking too much for you to realize Bill Self values winning over entertainment?

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Robert Brock 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I hate the NBA. I want Wiggins, Embiid, and Selden to learn to play basketball at KU and have success ASAP. Coach is teaching them the all-around game and Hudy is getting them stronger and in great shape. That is going to produce results by the end of this season.

I couldn't care less about who is drafted 1st, 2nd, or 3rd by "The League."

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Walter Bridges 8 months, 3 weeks ago

You should..it will affect future recruiting. There is a lot more than just this season riding on the success of the BIG 3 recruits.

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Jack Wilson 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I think folks underestimate what X did because they expected dominance. It's the expectations game. Top player we automatically equate to a Carmelo Anthony standard. X was our second leading scorer behind Collins and averaged 13.4 per game and shot over 40% from 3. My only real complaint with X was that he didn't seem to want to scrap for rebounds.

Try this .. as freshman, Michael Jordan averaged 13.5 ppg (vs. X's 13.4), and Jordan averaged 4.4 rebounds per game vs. X's 4.4 .. pretty much the same stats. I know, different era, North Carolina had more talent Jordan's freshman year, etc. But interesting anyway.

As I posted above it is way too early to judge Wiggins. Not slamming his prior coaching, but this may be the first time he really gets his rear kicked by a coach. Some players .. many players .. might go into a bit of a shell initially as a reaction to that. Wondering if this is what they signed up for. Totally natural. But then, if the player chooses the right path, things will come together. They will get it. Then the coaching and a** kicking makes sense.

I have always felt that Self is not an OAD friendly coach. He has always favored experience and comfort with players, so to speak. But that seems to be changing (or evolving). The guy is starting 2 freshmen now. A third (Embiid) will be starting. And it would not be surprising to see Mason unseat Tharpe at some point. Would we have believed that just two seasons ago? I don't think so.

We have an incredible stretch here of four challenging games. While I'm interested in how Wiggins performs, there's a lot of other things that will shake out on this team through that stretch.

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Rich Hetherington 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm sorry but to say Mason replacing Tharpe in the starting lineup wouldn't be surprising is ludicrous! I give you that Mason is playing with heart and intensity and everyone seems to be dazzled by what he brings, but to me, Tharpe is a much better passer and a much better shooter, not to mention he can also get into the lane and create (or pass back out with accuracy). I really think by year's end, Tharpe will re-establish himself and have a break-out season. Mason is good, but for this year and next, he'll be a "good off the bench" player only.

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Suzi Marshall 8 months, 3 weeks ago

well said. The 'Nova and UTEP games showed Mason has a long way to go. Besides 0 for 28 minutes assist performance, his time and situation understanding needs to mature a lot.

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Kye Clark 8 months, 3 weeks ago

HEM - Good stuff on Xavier. People have such tainted recollections of him because of the Northern Iowa game, because his father was such a punk & distraction, and because they felt he left too early. The last point is perhaps valid, but when have we had any player leave early that posters on here weren't saying they need another year of Self's tutelage? This year's trio of Wiggins, Selden, & Embiid hadn't even played a game and posters were saying they needed to stay at least two years. It's as much our selfish nature to want to see them in crimson & blue for another year than anything else.

I had to think a lot about your comment about Self not being an OAD friendly coach, and that he seems to be changing (or evolving). We've really only had 2 OAD players recently - Xavier & Selby. In both situations, Self started them. In the case of Xavier, it meant relegating Morningstar (then Taylor, then back to Morningstar) to the bench. Maybe not a huge deal, but Morningstar was enough of a Self favorite to block guys like EJ & Releford early in their careers - not OAD types, but players with vastly more talent & upside.

In Selby's case, we will never know how his one college year might have played out had he not been hit with suspension early and injuries late, but what we do know is that Self was starting him 3 games into his college career after giving everyone else on the team a 9 game head start. And these weren't token starts. These were 30+ mpg starts. Sadly Selby is another name some of the cynics like to throw around with revisionist history, failing to realize how good he was when he was finally able to play and he was healthy.

So we clearly see that OAD talent will prevail, at least in terms of being able to garner minutes over good-but-not-elite level talent. What we're seeing now isn't that much different than what we saw in '05-'06. Both that year and this year we returned no starters, and very little in terms of experienced bench players. Both years Self scores awesome recruiting classes. In fact, we can't ignore that those have to be considered his best two, and not by coincidence it is when he has playing time available and in abundance. So is Self changing (or evolving)? Or are we just seeing another cycle wherein Self has no choice but to roll with uber-talented freshman? Credit to the man, when he absolutely has no other choice but to rebuild/reload, he has done so magnificently. I know we focus sometimes on the misses he has that lead to the Braedon Anderson/Merv Lindsey type signings (maybe even the Kevin Young signing), but he's delivered in the clutch, no doubt.

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Jack Wilson 8 months, 3 weeks ago

That is great point .. your last paragraph was right on target, I think. The comparison to 05-06 is a good one. Maybe it is just a cycle. He's always played the high level talent, even if it young (like X). I don't know, though. This just feels different. Maybe it's not. He does play freshmen when he has to .. like Marcus Morris. That guy was a mess for a while, but kept playing because he had to. Last season, he had KY so he didn't have to play Ellis. But I'm quite sure Ellis would have hit his stride quicker if he just started and played from day one. Might have been ugly for a while.

The question is .. is Tharpe = Hawkins, and is Mason = Chalmers (who, ironically, Self compared him to)? I hope Greene isn't = Downs. And I hope White or Frankamp isn't = Galindo.

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Kye Clark 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Well and while Ellis was a McD all-American, he wasn't considered OAD. Without specifically recalling or taking the time to look up his ranking, it seems like he was mid 20s on one service and maybe low 30s on another. I don't disagree that he would have definitely hit his stride sooner had he been starting and playing over KY (somewhere Jaybate is still arguing the merits of playing "green wood" over experienced role players. LOL).

I hadn't heard the Mason-Chalmers comparison. Kind of odd in that they are very different types of players. I hope Tharpe is better than Hawkins, but I'm not as big of a Tharpe guy as you are (and to anyone reading this that doesn't know the difference, when I say I'm not a Tharpe guy, it doesn't mean that I don't wish the same amount of success for him as anyone else on the team. Just that I'm not as much a believer in his being starter material or his potential vs. maybe other options).

In hoping Greene, AW3, & Frankamp aren't = to a couple of guys that transferred, I hope not too. I think the difference, at least for one of them, is that there is a very real chance that they start next year. If both Selden & Wiggins leave, one of them is starting. Probably not more than one, if Oubre is as talented as his ranking.

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Walter Bridges 8 months, 3 weeks ago

That is too easy. I wouldn't even try to those comparisons. Downs left after only 1/2 a season, Galindo stayed for a full season and was successful in the sunbelt.White has already surpassed both players and so will the others.

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Aaron Paisley 8 months, 3 weeks ago

This is the first time that Andrew Wiggins has truly had to work to be the best player on the court and he's figuring out how to do so. If he doesn't figure it out, it will be disappointing because we've all seen moments of what he can be. I will also say that Bill Self's high-low system in general is not the most conducive for athletic wings to really thrive in. I don't think Wiggins scoring numbers are all that far off of what Brandon Rush did while here either.

As for Benz claim that nobody will average 20-10 under Bill Self, go check out Wayne Simien's numbers in 2004-05 and see if you still agree that nobody will average 20-10 under Self. And HEM, I don't see Embiid starting this season barring injury. I think we're at the point of the season where the rotation is pretty well being set and it will be Black starting and Embiid coming in after Black picks up his 2 fouls. The fouling out in 12 minutes against Nova is a concern for Embiid and the brain cramp by Mason at the end of the UTEP are why Self is hesitant to trust freshmen with huge minutes. Doesn't mean that aren't capable, just means there's higher risk playing those kind of players in moments like that.

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Benz Junque 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Bill Self didn't run Bill Self's system in 2004-05. That team had CHRISTIAN MOODY as one of its top 5 players. Those were Roy's boys and Self was trying to make due with what he had. That team played virtually nothing like today's teams coached by Self.

Going forward, no one will average 20 and 10 in the system that Bill Self is currently coaching at Kansas. Is that more specifically worded for you?

Embiid will be the starter by the time conference season gets here. Self will play the guys that give him the best chance to win. Embiid is improving at a rapid rate and when he learns to keep himself out of foul trouble better, he will take over that role. Black can come in and be the bruising enforcer that doesn't have to worry about fouls. His role will be to give Embiid a few minutes to catch his breath and to pound the pounds and the opposition. It's coming and it's coming sooner rather than later .Embbid is getting better FAST.

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Evan Bilyeu 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The only difference is that Wiggins has already said he is going NBA, unless he gets injured by some chance he will be gone to sucess in the NBA.

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Jack Wilson 8 months, 3 weeks ago

texashawk .. I might be amenable to a wager on that Embiid starting thing. How do you deny the dominating talent that is Joel Embiid? I understand your rationale; but Embiid could foul just as easily in the first 5 minutes as the first 5 minutes that he's in the game. He's going to have a few of those.

I almost said the same thing about Mason, but he an Tharpe a close (not like Embiid and Black). I could certainly see Tharpe starting all year there. But it seems apparent that Mason bring more to the table as an overall player. And Mason's brain cramps were pretty big .. but hopefully he'll learn from it. A big thing too, I think Self really likes Mason. He talks positively about him at every turn.

It just doesn't seem that far-fetched to me to believe that Embiid (certainly) and Mason (possibly) could both be starting this season.

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Aaron Paisley 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I personally think Embiid is better suited at this point coming off the bench and being the big who finishes games next to Ellis. I think people are assuming that it's a simple switch to go from being a guy coming off the bench to being a starter, but those are two completely different mindsets and switching roles like that midseason in the middle of a tough stretch of games can set a team back more than help it. Embiid is already playing the second most minutes among the front court guys and is already the guy Self favors as the second big next to Ellis in crunch time which is a much more important role than being a starter.

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Yolanda Gay 8 months, 3 weeks ago

In the past, I've always gotten my hopes up because of the accolades (sp?) given the recruits we eventually sign. I kept thinking 'wow, we signed another player like Kevin Durrant. Someone that can take over a game'. Not any more. Just because someone was great in high school doesn't mean nothing. Some can transfer that success to the next level and others can't.

It may be that the player had great success in high school because he was playing against inferior players. When I see a player good and successful against players who are also on scholarship on other teams, then I believe.

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Rocky Darger 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Yolanda Gay has hit it. I am, again this season, already tired of the press/commentators falling all over themselves about what a super star Wiggins is after he makes a free throw. This isn't high school TODOO. And all the comments about what a super star he will be in the NBA won't make him so.

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John Fitzgerald 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Mr Keegan,

I've said time and time again that Embiid should and will be the number one pick in the NBA draft next year. The way he moves is unlike any 7 footer Ku has had and he's a smooth shooter as well. He makes some silly mistakes but that's the easy part to fix. Thanks for reassuring me that I'm not the only one to think Embiid will be taken number one.

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Ethan Berger 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Depends who get gets the number one pick. If the season ended today, the real contenders would be the Knicks,Bucks, Jazz and Kings. The Bucks and Kings don't need a center so they would go either Randle, Parker or Wiggins. However, if Melo stays a Knick then the need for a center would be huge. And the Jazz have a 1 and 4 and somewhat of a 2, but need a 3 and 5. So they could go either. Problem with the NBA is that offensive centers are not as big as they used to be. Cousins and Brooke Lopez being the only 2 with skills. However, the 3 is running the game. LeBron, KD, Paul Geroge, Melo are all top 10 players. so that is part of why Parker or Wiggins are the top 2 options.

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Rodney Crain 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Wiggins will be fine, he just needs to be a little more selfish or aggressive if you want. The way fouls are being called this year he can make a living at the free throw line by taking his man to basket more, that first step is world class. It is much more difficult for him when they go zone or some form of zone.

About thinking Wiggins, Selden, or Embiid will be here another year, I just don't see it. Unless it becomes a Brandon Rush kind of deal. Even then we would have to be lucky they don't sign with an agent if they get injured after the season.

We need to play with more energy and make some shots, which I think we are capable of.

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Tony Bandle 8 months, 3 weeks ago

We will know a lot more about this team come Sunday morning, December 15th after games at 35th ranked Colorado, at 16th ranked Florida and in KC against 28th ranked New Mexico..teams with an accumulated record of 19-3.

Throw in Georgetown, Toledo and San Diego State and that upcoming opponent overall record swells to 34-6...hardly a cupcake schedule.

My point is we better keep improving because the road doesn't get any easier!!!

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Aaron Paisley 8 months, 3 weeks ago

We don't need to wait another couple of weeks to know what this team is. This is one of the 5 most talented teams in the nation and one of the 5 most inexperienced teams in the nation. Combine those two traits and you get a team that's looked pretty much like you would expect. A team that has shown itself to be an elite team when they're on, and a team that has shown its inexperience at test as well. As this team continues to build its chemistry, those moments of inexperience should become fewer and further apart.

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Tony Bandle 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The cure for inexperience is experience, and that is my point.....by conference time we should know that the blips will become less frequent and less decisive.

Aaron..we know what this team can do..we still don't know what this team will become, that's all I was trying to say. But I'll bet the mortgage that it will be DAMN GOOD!!!

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Preston Dwiggins 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I understand your concerns and thoughts concerning our youth or lack of experience, BUT Black has already graduated, Ellis is a Sophomore, Tharpe is a Junior, Traylor is really a Junior mentally...among others. I think we are better than people think regarding youth and experience. Would I like more, well sure, but we finally began landing OAD's and that's the flip side of things. Growing pains, but it's sure fun!

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Aaron Paisley 8 months, 3 weeks ago

KU was 347 out 351 in terms of on court experience entering this year. There's been moments when Self has had 4 freshmen and a sophomore on the floor together. Make no mistake, this one of the most inexperienced teams in the nation and they have looked it at times this year.

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Yonatan Negash 8 months, 3 weeks ago

First and foremost, I love Andrew Wiggins and I have no doubt he'll show up soon or later. Like most of you, I'd prefer sooner then later.

My thoughts take it or leave it. Andrew Wiggins needs to be more involved, more assertive, demand the ball, take over games, be the go to guy.

As much as I appreciate the plays of our point guards, the ball needs to go through Andrew Wiggins; he needs to touch the ball every time. Take at least 25 shots.

I predict 30 points, 8 rebounds against Colorado Saturday. It's time for AW to show up big, put up big numbers and regain the #1 spot.

It’s about time for AW to get a little selfish, self-seeking, self-centered, egotistic, egocentric

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Beau Woolsey 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I am really hoping Boston gets it's next legend from KU in this draft. I'm seeing a lot of the Lakers getting selden which would be like the opposite of Paul Pierce and maybe some luck going his way. Because Paul grew up a huge laker fan and was drafted by celtics and selden huge Celtic fan getting drafted by lakers.

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Mike Adams 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Comparing Xavier's freshman season to Jordan's as some kind of barometer is the funniest thing I have read in a LONG time. I hope that was a joke.

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Jack Wilson 8 months, 3 weeks ago

No joke. Not a barometer. As noted in my post, different situations and different eras. But at least interesting.

Now, if X would have hit the game winner in the title game like Jordan, we'd have something.

Sometimes, though, we forget that it does take even the highest level players a little time to get their legs under them.

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Suzi Marshall 8 months, 3 weeks ago

HEM....I find myself doing the same thing. Wiggin's reminds me of MJ in so many ways when he as at UNC, where he learned to play D. When the Draft comes along, my bet will be the debate will be between Wiggins and Embiid to go 1. However, I do think Utah would go for Parker.

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Erich Hartmann 8 months, 3 weeks ago

No worries with Wiggins. I respect his trying to play "team" basketball...its just that the whole team is still trying to learn Selfball, and find its chemistry. Self's youngest team ever pulls off a Duke win, then loses to an unranked, smallball team like 'Nova. Yep, that's the frosh rollercoaster. You can even see a frosh rollercoaster in Mason's play (his Duke game vs. his UTEP game). Frosh.

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Colby Hebert 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I would take Embiid at 1 if I had the pick.

The draft can be overrated too, did Jordan go 1?

I am not too worried about Wiggins. Once conference play starts these guys will all have been tested. By March they will not be "freshman" anymore either. I love this team!

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Aaron Paisley 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Jordan went 3, but the guy who went #1 in that draft is also a hall of famer who won 2 championships. And speaking as someone who grew up in Houston and saw Hakeem lead the Rockets to those titles firsthand, I wouldn't trade Hakeem for MJ because Hakeem means too much to the city of Houston and can reasonably be put in the discussion for being one of the top big man to ever play C.

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Preston Dwiggins 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The only person I would have traded MJ for in the entire history of basketball would have been Wilt.

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Nicholas Cederlind 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I have no idea what this article is supposed to be about. Are we supposed to pretend that Wiggins WASN'T recovering from the flu during these last two games?!? Shame on every member of the media trying to unconsciously grieve for their fallen hype machine by blaming Wiggins...

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