Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Opinion: Freshman given rock-star treatment


Andrew Wiggins skies for dunk in summer scrimmage

Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins skies for a dunk in the KU summer scrimmage on June 19, 2013.

KU blue team summer scrimmage highlights: June 19

KU blue team summer scrimmage No. 2 highlights from June 19, 2013. New player numbers: Frank Mason 0; Wayne Selden 1; Brannen Greene 14; Joel Embiid 21; Andrew Wiggins 22; Conner Frankamp 23; Tarik Black 25.

If only everything were in black and white and a man named Ed Sullivan, not Bill Self, had been on the microphone, one might have thought Wednesday’s Kansas University basketball scrimmage was the scene of a Beatles concert instead of a basketball game.

It’s hard to say which one of the Fab Four best compares to freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins — I’d have to say Paul McCartney, because they both have the baby face — but there’s no doubting that Wiggins, the 6-foot-7, freak-of-nature forward, belongs in the company of the biggest rock ’n’ roll stars ever to invade the United States. He’s that fab. And Wednesday, a small number of KU fans witnessed Wiggins’ long-awaited opening number live and in color.

The second camp scrimmage of the summer likely marked the final time in Wiggins’ likely short KU career that there was no line of fans outside the building waiting to watch him play.

It was close, though.

At last week’s camp game, folks filed into Horejsi Family Athletic Center (capacity 1,300) at a steady pace but did not fill the north bleachers until a little after 3 p.m. This time around, those bleachers were nearly full as early as 2:15 to watch a game that didn’t tip off until 3:45.

Large crowds are something the electric athlete from Canada, by way of Huntington, W.Va., has become accustomed to seeing when he’s wearing a pair of basketball sneakers, and his actions on the floor showed he’s comfortable with that. As if it were part of the set list, Wiggins caught a pass in transition on the Blue team’s opening possession and skied for one-handed jam that stirred the fans like a bucket of ice water had been thrown on each of them.

It was not just the Wiggins highlights that generated that rock-star feel.

Local business owner Miles Schnaer, decked out in a suit and tie, was in the front row of the standing-room-only section taking video with his phone. A UPS man, still in uniform, appeared to have made a pit stop on his route to check out what Wiggins could deliver, and four or five times as many media members and KU staffers as were there a week ago lined the walls behind both baskets. Don’t tell the fire marshall, but a few people even stood in the doorways, craning their necks to get the best view.

Wiggins, who spoke briefly with the media after the game, seemed unfazed by all of it.

“I’ve gotten used to it,” he said with a genuine smile. “The last couple of years, I’ve gotten that a lot.”

Self, a rock star in his own right, seems still to be adjusting to all of the attention his prized recruit is getting.

“This is a different level,” Self said. “It’s kind of weird to me. I mean, we’ve recruited other good players before, but we haven’t had anybody receive this kind of attention. (I know) players get rock-star status, but this could get a little ridiculous if he lets it. He just wanted to come here and enjoy his summer.”

The 11th-year KU coach then went on to utter the names Danny Manning and Wilt Chamberlain. No, Self was not comparing Wiggins to the two KU legends as players. But he was venturing a guess that those are the only two players in school history who came anywhere close to generating the kind of buzz that Wiggins already has in just a few days.

I doubt he’s wrong.


Katie Bieber 5 years ago

I can't wait to see our team! I will take our class over Kentucky's any day!

By the way, does this seem a bit fishy to anyone?

jhox 5 years ago

No question JayZ and Beyonce attending UK games has helped their recruiting. I'm sure it's all part of Cal's master plan. I have to give him credit for being creative in his recruiting approach. Kids love knowing celebrities and being able to name drop. We need to get Olivia Wilde to more games. Her being around would be sure to help interest more teenage boys into coming to Kansas.

LAJayhawk 5 years ago

So Jay-Z is going to sell his minority ownership rights of the Nets? He can't be both an owner and an agent, and when I heard the news yesterday that he had been certified by the player's union to be an agent, the reporters weren't sure if he was going to give up ownership. This piece makes it sound like that news is now out, but I hadn't heard it officially confirmed. It does seem like a weird career move to me, but the guy does appear to be a type-A personality and probably has to always be moving. Sports agent is definitely a job you have to be absolutely committed to. To each his own, I suppose.

KansasComet 5 years ago

The highlights were a treat to watch. Andrew Wiggins is a great player. However, this a deep Kansas team. I don't see how it gets trimmed down to 8 players seeing significant action this year? 10 players is realistic this season. Maybe Coach Self will adjust his way of doing things. We could be a well rested team come tournament time. We are a lot more than one player, we are a team and that is what's special about Kansas Basketball.

David Brown 5 years ago

Like this point of view. Big rotation of players, come at the opponent in waves, play at a high tempo, wear the other team out. Play half-court defense as scripted by HCBS. This year is so interesting because the team is so new. Naadir is the elder statesman! "Team chemistry", "how the players gel" --- pick your own bromide --- it will be a fun ride.

KansasComet 5 years ago

Thanks. I am hoping this team comes together sooner rather than later. It will be a fun ride this season. In my opinion, we may have 10 blue chippers! Should be an exciting year of Jayhawk Basketball.

KansasComet 5 years ago

I like your way of thinking. Thanks.

always_correct 5 years ago

People say this almost every year - and it's never true. Bill Self plays a 8-9 man rotation. There are a couple questions as to who will back up who - but you can already see what's likely.

Tharpe > Mason Selden Wiggins Ellis > Traylor Black > Embiid or Lucas (I vote Embiid after seeing the scrimmage)

That is 8. The ninth will come from either Frankamp or Greene. Frankamp at 2 (for Selden) or Frankamp for Wiggins (and Selden moving to the 3 when that happens. Or, Green will just sub in straight up for Wiggins once in awhile. I think Frankamp will get more of the playing time between the two, though.

Jeff Kilgore 5 years ago

a_c, the thing is, things are genuinely different this year. The rotation is based mainly on Self's confidence in his bench. There is nothing sacred about the 8-9 numbers. If you think about it, you wouldn't have wanted Self to go much past the eighth player. This year, the "eighth player" (whatever that means), could be Brannen Greene or Lucas or Mason or Frankamp. It feels ridiculous referring to any of these players that far down from the starting five, but I really think that Self can play 10 plus once they have the D and familiarity down. This is by far the best combination of kids 1-15 that we've ever had. Sure, the best 1-9 has to be the 2008 National Champions. From 9-15, this team is far better. Given how many OADs we might have, this depth is very important.

Michael Pannacciulli 5 years ago

Thought I was reading a piece from Keegan with the references to the Beatles and Ed Sullivan at first. ;)

The kid better get used to it because its not going to change until he gets to the NBA where he most likely will be a point of interest wherever he goes but you then need to earn star status all over again.

DXJhawk 5 years ago

Matt is a big fan of the Beatles.

FearlessJayhawk 5 years ago

If these players can blend well together and learn how to play defense, it wouldn't surprise me to see this team go undefeated this year.

Cameron Cederlind 5 years ago

With most likely a top 5 SOS, I'd be less surprised waking up with my head sewn to the carpet.

Jeffrey Nichols 5 years ago

Excellent imagery. Well said. I agree, this won't be an undefeated season - too young against the quality of teams we will play. But it will be an amazing ride!!! And outside of undefeated, a season with endless possibilities.

Brad Farha 5 years ago

They are still young kids with a brutal early schedule. We will almost certainly see them stumble early. It is my hope that those are good building blocks for a strong finish.

texashawk10 5 years ago

Not happening, there's too much parity in today's game for a team to go undefeated playing in a major conference. There is a reasoncwhy no team has done it in almost 40 years.

LAJayhawk 5 years ago

I appreciate the optimism, but.... yeah.... might want to pull back a bit there. We very well might have the hardest schedule in D-1 basketball next season, we are going to be SUPER young, and there are a lot of good basketball teams out there. If we lose 3-5 games it will be a remarkably successful season. Might not want to forget that we are replacing our entire starting 5.....

Undefeated next year is just not going to happen.

Preston Dwiggins 5 years ago

It's like we have the Beatles (Wiggins, Ellis, Selden, Tharpe) The Stones (Black, Embiid, Traylor, Greene) and U2 (Frankamp, Mason, AW3, Lucas)!!! I could listen to them all day : )

Ryan Zimmerman 5 years ago

I can't stand U2 :) but i hear ya...

nuleafjhawk 5 years ago

Just when I was starting to feel good about this coming season, Tait has to ruin it ALL by starting out HIS article with - " Opinion: ".

hedshrinker 5 years ago

wonder if he'll be a team player or just interested in promoting his own stock (dunking, not sharing the ball); the film clips of him signing autographs looked like he was totally bored and not engaged with fans...he'd better grow up fast and learn how to live with celebrity graciously...we don't need another one and done phenom.

Brad Farha 5 years ago

Your comments seem counter to what I've heard everyone else say about this kid. He didn't do a huge press conference for his college choice, and he seems grounded in interviews. I think he'll be a team player, but his skill will show in the box score.

John Randall 5 years ago

I'm more than a little ambivalent about "needing" oad talent, but there is no doubt we can use it - and use it well.

KemDooKU 5 years ago

It's a great year for the cream of the crop - there will be so many great players going into the NBA draft next year that it will have to keep some of the really good players from leaving early - maybe we get to see

Joel Wayne Perry

For one more year which would otherwise not be the case in regular years- will lose Wiggins for sure but how nice will the team be the following year if these guys stick it out-

I am excited about this year but always nice to know that unlike UK the cabinets will still be stocked with elite veteran players!

Pius Waldman 5 years ago

Your opinion may speak for you but doubt many would agree. Hedshrinker just maybe we need to wait and see how it plays out. I do feel the attention he is getting will be a challenge as sometimes it could be overwhelming.

Robbk1066 5 years ago

This upcoming year is going to be fun to watch. Make no mistake UK is loaded, and there are 5-6 other teams that are going to be very good too. We certainly have the team to compete and if we play defense and meld our experience with our freshman we will be an extremely tough out. Might be the best KU team since the 08 champs. Depth at all positions except PG, talent all over the place and experience sprinkled in, mercy it is going to be something next year.

The other exciting factor though is the future, with JHoward recruiting coupled with what we have to offer we might be stocked for the near future too. Make no mistake his hiring is going to make Bill Self's life much easier while he is here.

2 championships in the next 5-7 years is very possible.

Preston Dwiggins 5 years ago

Don't worry too much about depth at PG, I know we have youth in Frankamp and Mason, but Selden can handle the load if we need him too to give Tharpe a breather and Greene can come in at the 2 spot to replace Selden. Can't wait to see how Bill decides to play his stacked hand.

mikehawk 5 years ago

The best part of the article has to be about his apparent humble, no big deal attitude. Knowing HCBS, he can't wait to jump all over Andrew in practice so his teammates can see up front and personal, Coach ain't impressed and there are no favorites. Everybody gets their butt chewed on when they screw up.

LVCHawk 5 years ago

Wiggins would be Lennon, not McCartney. What a slap in the face to Wiggins.

Adam James 5 years ago

This roster will be 10 players during the regular season with the possibility of 1 player from each of these groups dropping off if they don't perform well. This would leave us with a 8 man rotation come March. My guess it would be Traylor with the bigs and AW3, Greene or Frankcamp with guards. Whoever can play better defense will stay in the rotation. Here is my prediction for top 10.

4/5: Ellis, Black, Embiid, Traylor

1/2/3: Wiggins, Selden,Tharpe,Frankcamp,Greene, AW3

BENCH: Mason, Lucas, Self, Garrett, Manning, Mickelson(RS), Wesley, Roberts

Preston Dwiggins 5 years ago

Agreed with AW3 being on the outer circle. I want to see his game this year before I put him too far out though. Great kid in AW3 : )

bpjhawk 5 years ago

in this era of the information age, i don't think anything in the past is truly comparable. i was on campus when danny was a freshman and the hype wasn't close to this. we were excited to watch him play, but he had already lived in lawrence for his senior year in high school, so the town was used to having him around. back then, if you were out and saw danny, there was no texting your buddies and you had to go find a pay phone if you wanted to call them, and they had to be home to get the call.

this wiggins mania is at an exponentially higher level.

KemDooKU 5 years ago

He may be Jordan and L.James all wrapped up in a ball but it won't be this year but three or four years from now if at all - Every needs to keep it in perspective - even C. Anthony of Syracuse who is a fantastic NBA player took almost all season to hit his stride which was in full motion against KU in the NCAA championship game - I have heard from people watching him that his outside shot is not the best and he does not handle the ball all that well - sounds like Rush his freshman year - he does have amazing quickness and outstanding leaping ability but check yourself if you think he is Jordan in his prime at the young age of 18. - No one can live up to the hype so when he misses a shot, gets rejected, loses a ball, makes a bad pass, gets dunked on, and many other bad plays during the season realize Andrew is not God or the Holy Ghost and he will make mistakes and not look like Jordan, James, Wilt, Magic, or Larry Bird all the time-

ParisHawk 5 years ago

Wiggins isn't a mutant-monster competitor like Jordan. Just a Collins/Chalmers attitude would be fine with me.

Jack Wilson 5 years ago

No, no .. far be it from me to temper your enthusiasm.

I'm just trying to avoid being infected with the bug.

jaybate 5 years ago

~"What I Like about Hype" sung to the tune of "What I Like About You" by The Romantic

"Hey, uh huh huh

Hey, uh huh huh

What I like about hype, its day and night

Tell me I'm the only one, wanna see me on Skype, yeah

You're hyping me in my ear

Tell me all the things that I wanna to hear, 'cause that's life

That's what I like about hype

What I like about hype, it really shows how I dance

When I go up, down, jump around, think about self-romance, yeah

You're hyping me in my ear

Tell me all the things that I wanna to hear, 'cause that's life

That's what I like about hype

That's what I like about hype

That's what I like about hype



What I like about hype, you give me long shelf life

Never wanna' let you go, know you make me feel like Skype, yeah

You're hyping me in my ear

Tell me all the things that I wanna to hear, 'cause that's life

That's what I like about hype

That's what I like about hype

That's what I like about hype

That's what I like about hype (whispered)

That's what I like about hype (whispered)

That's what I like about hype (whispered)

That's what I like about hype (whispered)

Hey, uh huh huh, hey hey hey

Hey, uh huh huh, brrr

Hey, uh huh huh, hey"

~First Keegs' reporters give players the rock star treatement.

Then Keegs' writes about how they are getting the rock star treatment.

Talk about an echo chamber.

Nifty, eh?

~This kind of attention will certainly make Wiggins' wait to sign on the last day become the advice agents give to all OADs, and to all the agent runners.

Pitthawk34 5 years ago

Love the team is treated like rock stars...while some of us fans are treated like minorities. Thank you KU athletics for taking games away from us who don't have TW or WIBW. Thanks greatly.

Erin Troyer 5 years ago

^^^^Maybe go to a bar or a buddies house? Maybe search around online to find those games? Or maybe you just need some cheese to go with that whine. Geez....

Commenting has been disabled for this item.