Sunday, November 10, 2013

Wiggins, Jayhawks eager for Blue Devils

Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins laughs with assistant coach Kurtis Townsend during an open-practice scrimmage on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins laughs with assistant coach Kurtis Townsend during an open-practice scrimmage on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas University freshman Andrew Wiggins on Tuesday will play his second game in the United Center, home of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.

The 6-foot-8 guard from Canada erupted for 19 points off 6-of-10 shooting in the East team’s 110-99 loss to the West in the 2013 McDonald’s All-America Game last April 3 in the Windy City.

“It was good. It’s a big place. It can hold a lot of people. It was fun to play in. The gym was cool,” said Wiggins, who will lead the Jayhawks against Jabari Parker-led Duke approximately 9 p.m. Tuesday in the NBA arena (capacity 20,917) in which Wiggins and fellow freshman phenom Parker figure to visit numerous times as pros the next 15 years or so.

Parker — the No. 4-rated player in the recruiting Class of 2013 by — scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the winning West squad in the McDonald’s game. KU freshman Wayne Selden also performed in the contest, scoring 13 points off 5-of-7 shooting as a teammate of Wiggins on the East.

“He is very diverse. He can do a lot of different things,” Wiggins, the No. 1-rated player in the Class of 2013, said of Parker, a 6-8, 235-pounder out of Chicago’s Simeon High. “He can score, dribble, pass. He’s an elite player. It’s always good going against players when you know they are good.

“I’m excited. Duke is a legendary team with a legendary coach. I’m looking forward to it. It should be a good match-up,” he added, referring to KU vs. Duke, not Wiggins vs. Parker.

“He’s a good player. He can shoot the ball. He’s pretty skilled. He’s good,” KU’s Selden said, chiming in on Parker, who also had 16 points in the East team’s 102-98 victory over Wiggins’ and Selden’s West squad in the 2013 Jordan Brand Classic last April in New York.

KU freshman center Joel Embiid scored four points with five blocks and seven boards in that contest. Embiid was a teammate of both Parker and Duke freshman guard Matt Jones (6-4, DeSoto, Texas), who had 14. Jones had four for the West in the McDonald’s game.

“I know Jabari and Matt Jones. I know them well,” Embiid said. “Jabari is one of the best players coming out of high school in my class last year. He’s really good.”

KU third-year sophomore Jamari Traylor, who attended Chicago’s Julian High before moving on to IMG Academies in Florida, played against Parker, “one time in high school. I was a junior, and he was a freshman. He was always a good player, a lot of potential,” added Traylor, who expects to guard Parker some Tuesday.

If recent practices are any indication, Wiggins and the rest of KU’s freshmen are looking forward to the match-up in the Champions Classic. Michigan State plays Kentucky in the opener at 6:30 p.m.

“All I’ve seen is guys going at it ... Wiggins getting on the floor, everybody showing a different kind of mind-set,” junior guard Naadir Tharpe said. “I think guys are starting to understand how important this game is going to be.”

Wiggins apparently has come a long way in a short time. In one of KU’s exhibition games, he elected to bend at the waist to pick up a loose ball rather than hit the deck.

“I feel like guys ... I wouldn’t say (have been) trying to be cool, but not really understanding what it really is here, understanding the people that came here, the people that played here,” Tharpe said of KU tradition that includes diving for loose balls. “You’ve got to show more than just going out there and shooting some hoops.

“At the beginning of the year, I felt he (Wiggins) was much more laid-back. He’s starting to understand he’s going to have to start doing more, start showing more. I feel everybody (nationally) is going to be against him. We are on his side. He has to prove to the world he is the best player.”

All of KU’s players will want to show well against Duke, KU coach Bill Self said.

“I would say Andrew is thinking about Duke, but he’s also thinking about Jabari and (Rodney) Hood,” Self said. “I bet they (Blue Devils) are thinking about Kansas, but also thinking about Wiggins and Selden. There’s probably a lot of that going on, a little bit of a young personal rivalry, which doesn’t mean much, but it’s natural to think like that.”

Self said “it’s a different deal” in playing a team like Duke than KU’s opening foe, Louisiana at Monroe.

“When you refer to certain players from certain teams you don’t ever get to watch on TV, you refer to them as numbers. We’re not going to refer to Duke’s guys as numbers. We’re going to refer to them as names. All our guys will definitely know who they are,” Self said.

The players may know each other from high school, but this is much different from a game on the prep level.

“I told ’em this is not going to be anything like playing in the McDonald’s game, the Jordan game, or any high school championship you played in,’” Tharpe said. “This is much more bigger than that. It’s much bigger to the school than anything.”

Recruiting: Cliff Alexander, a 6-8 senior forward from Chicago Curie High, attended KU’s women’s game against Oral Roberts on Sunday. He will sign with KU, Illinois, Memphis or DePaul on Friday on ESPNU. Alexander’s girlfriend, Caelynn Manning-Allen, is a KU freshman forward from Chicago Curie High. Wednesday is the first day of the early signing period.


Terry N Tom Denner 5 months, 1 week ago

Mr. Wiggins,I was so excited to see a youngster coming down from Canada to play BB with the Jay Hawks. But now knowing u want to be a 1 and out type of player so u can make your millions in the NBA kind of sucks.You should have choose the SEC - Kentucky where u would not have to worry about your GPA. At Kentucky u could be flunking every class and still get all the playing time need to show off your talent !!


Mark Wooden 5 months, 1 week ago

I would like to challenge the staff to not use Wiggins in any headline for the rest of the season. Its bad enough that Self is recruiting these one and dones but to have the attention overshadow the program as a whole is a bit hypocritical.


Jonathan Allison 5 months, 1 week ago

I so wish that this game was tonight!


Bryce Landon 5 months, 1 week ago

Cliff Alexander's GF may play for the KU women's BBall team, but even so, trying to recruit him to the men's team with a women's game may not go over so well. The women's team just doesn't have the same drawing power as the men's team.


Doug Cramer 5 months, 1 week ago

Drury University = Division II school 3 miles down the road from my home in Springfield MO !


Ian Emerson 5 months, 1 week ago

What this game will come down too is how well duke shoots from the 3 point lane and how well they keep from fouling our big men. Free throw shooting excused because that's how it is every game. I think we are really going to get duke in foul trouble. I just don't see how they can match our depth inside. However if Duke rains 3s on us we better be ready to hit a few ourselves, this team can really shoot. We gotta prove it.


Bob Thompson 5 months, 1 week ago

This site is not much fun since they changed. Might as well read the newspaper. Wonder how long it will be before the paper realizes this.


Dennis Kalivoda 5 months, 1 week ago

I will be every surprised if KU wins this game.


Chris Shaw 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Again, the number of points you beat a squad by should be in no way a component you measure a team against. With that said, having watched both Drury and Davidson games...Duke at this point of the season looks more seasoned, more polished, a little more in tune on what's being run offensively and defensviely.

KU definitely has a shot, but Tharpe not playing last game, being younger, less experience, and just for the simple fact Duke looks crisper right now....I would also give KU the underdog role.

I hope they use that as bulletin board material.

Remember...It's November 11th...You don't win Championships on November 12th. You lay the foundation.


Tony Bandle 5 months, 2 weeks ago


1] Playing Duke early will provide a true measure for the players to believe exactly how right Bill is regarding their progress. Frankly, I will be surprised [but thrilled] if KU wins. No loss is good, but it can be a a productive learning experience.

2] HCBS, better decide who is going to be Cliff's roommate next year in The Towers.

3] Hawks..100% focus on every free throw...... each one is important. Aim for 75% plus.

4] My suggested strategy for the on every possession. It's still early in the season for applying the new rules and, besides, the refs will want a lot of face time on a national broadcast. I'll take the "over' at 55 total fouls and commercials at 100!!

5] Can someone tell me again why I thought it was such a bad idea to re-up on this site through facebook???? Renewing my posting has had zero negative effect on my life. :)

6] Poor Charlie..the KU Basketball Season starts and the football program becomes Claude Raines, [The Invisible Man].

7] Welcome to the Big Time, Naadir.....your first game as the starting floor leader is against Duke on the road!!


Robert Brock 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I thought that our defense looked weak against ULM. The Hawks made countless mistakes. Better sharpen up or Dook will make us suffer.


Ron Franklin 5 months, 2 weeks ago

The players match up well. The game decision will come down to a Coaching Duel and Free Throws.


John Fitzgerald 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I think you bring up a good point Don. Doesn't matter who you play, or how much you beat them by, as long as you win. Duke beat Davidson by 34 points, but they only beat a team that's supposed to be inferior to Davidson by 16. We beat our exhibition opponents by 40 and 18, then only beat ULM by 17. We won by double digits. In my book I call that a good win. And I keep saying this but Wiggins plays better with stronger competition. He thrives on a challenge and loves to hear people say "you can't" because he says "I will", and "he does" multiple times. I saw glimpses of him in the first 3 games playing like he should, and let me tell you, when he puts in full effort, watch out. He glides, he spins, he jumps, he floats, and he has a soft touch. The only thing he is missing is aggressiveness. Bill Self will teach him throughout the year how to impose his will on opponents and to be more aggressive, and that's when he will become lethal and his potential will explode. Wiggins is the real deal and it's just a matter of time until people start saying "oh yea, that's why he's the best player in the country." I can't tell you if we're gonna win or lose, but I can tell you I expect a good game. Whatever happens this is a great way to help these young guys grow. Here's to a great early matchup with Duke and hopefully seeing them in the dance. RCJH!!


Don Burgundy 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Gary, I read your article about KU getting spanked by Dook on Tuesday and wanted if you watched any of their exhibition games? They were struggling with a team by the name of Drury and ended up only winning by 16. Don't you think that since Davidson is known notoriously for playing "small ball" that Duke had a much better chance at beating them? I looked at the blue devil's roster and the only player they have taller than 6'9 is the 7 foot Plumlee brother who is slower than frozen pond water. And we all know Duke's best chance at winning is transition offense. Thoughts?


Commenting has been disabled for this item.