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Monday, October 28, 2013

It’s go time: Andrew Wiggins, KU to debut tonight

Kansas freshman forward Andrew Wiggins. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Kansas freshman forward Andrew Wiggins. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

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Kansas freshman forward Andrew Wiggins. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Andrew Wiggins, who arrived on Kansas University’s campus on June 15 for the start of his one-year college adventure, has picked up plenty of pointers from his new coaches and teammates.

Asked to identify the single-most important thing he has learned heading into his KU basketball debut — today’s 7 p.m. opener against Pittsburg State — the soft-spoken Canadian said simply: “Always running the floor. Always running the floor.”

Perhaps the only negative words uttered about Wiggins since he signed with KU on May 14: He has a tendency to take possessions off. The player who averaged 23.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game his senior year at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep says that is the case no more.

“I think I play hard all the time now. There’s no upping my ability in how hard I play,” Wiggins said, asked if he thinks he’ll increase his intensity now that it’s time actually to compete against somebody besides his teammates.

“I think I’m ready right now,” added Wiggins, who will make his major-college debut with TSN, Canada’s leading English-language sports TV channel, as well as Global Television Canada, in town.

Wiggins, who has played before the home fans at Bill Self’s summer basketball camp, Late Night in the Phog and in a recent open scrimmage, debuts with five other freshmen — Joel Embiid, Brannen Greene, Conner Frankamp, Frank Mason and Wayne Selden.

He said being part of such a large freshman group has been helpful.

“College basketball is way different from high school,” Wiggins said. “The physicality of it, the mental part. It’s all a different level. I think coach Self has prepared me to be who I am, the player I am on the court and off the court. It’s really a learning process for myself, for all of us.”

Freshman backup point guard Mason believes Wiggins is ready for the season-long spotlight.

“He has been playing up to the hype and his name. He’s been doing real well,” Mason said. “He’s been doing the things he does best.”

“He’s been running the floor excellent, has a great pull-up game,” noted sophomore Perry Ellis. “He’s been doing real well, getting better and better each practice. I look forward to seeing him (tonight). I remember I was pretty nervous my freshman year out there under the lights. I think they all (freshmen) are having fun. They’ve been working hard.”

Self conceded that this year’s exhibition games (KU also will play Fort Hays State on Nov. 5) might be more important than the past because of the presence of the six freshmen, plus senior newcomer Tarik Black. He said eight players have separated themselves: the probable starting lineup of Naadir Tharpe, Wiggins, Selden, Ellis and Black, plus Andrew White III, Jamari Traylor and Embiid.

“I want to see how guys react in different situations, and (Wayne) Selden and Joel and Tarik and obviously Andrew and Andrew White III and Jamari (Traylor), even Perry (Ellis) and Naadir (Tharpe), those guys need to get some ample minutes because they haven’t played that much,” Self said. “And if you do that, you’ve still got to get ... obviously Landen (Lucas) hasn’t played at all. That still leaves out Conner (Frankamp) and Brannen (Greene) that need to get minutes. It’s probably not going to be an everybody-is-going-to-play-17-minutes-type deal, but I’ll be excited to see how different guys react in different situations.”

It’s safe to say 16,300 fans will be most eager to see the much-hyped Wiggins, the No. 1 player in the recruiting class of 2013 who has already been on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

“I do think from this point forward, I don’t think he needs to do any more media. You guys will be upset with me. I don’t see why he needs to,” Self stated. “He can’t go anywhere without getting bombarded. It’s wearing him down. So I think that we should, from this point forward, remove as much of that as possible. If he plays well in a game, or when he plays well in a game, sure, he can do some postgame stuff, but I don’t understand why everybody wants to get a piece of him. We’ve already done that.

“He can’t live up to the hype. It’s impossible. They’re comparing him to Wilt Chamberlain, and Chamberlain is the most dominant player that’s ever played the game. The kid is 18 years old, and he’s never made a college basket, but we’re going to compare him to Chamberlain? That’s impossible. But could he be a great one? Absolutely. Should we expect him to be a great one? Yes, we should.”

Starting tonight.

Comments

Chris Shaw 5 months, 3 weeks ago

http://www.justin.tv/jayhawktv/protected

p>phog.net is password.

Just passing along information from the shiver. Not sure if it works, but worth a shot.

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Rodney Atkinson 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I have Direct TV and decided to go w/ESPN Full Court, however it doesn't kick in until the 8th of Nov. Anyone know if the game this evening is on Direct?

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Dave Cook 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm using HotShot VPN (4.95) a month on my Ipad, this will let me watch espn3 games on my ipad... sadly.. my daughter has a school program tonight!!! ggrrrrrr

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Dave Coen 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Long live Coach Self !!! ROCK CHALK!!!

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Steve Williams 5 months, 3 weeks ago

do you know if espn3 will be blacked out for time warner customers,, if not, anyone want to share their log in info

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Brianna Zaleski 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I live in Wichita and have never had a problem watching the pre-season games. After reading these boards, I'm getting a little paranoid. Fellow Wichitans, is there any problems I should know about? I have COX

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Ryan Shelton 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe football has

Made me cautious, but I'll wait

To anoint this team.

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Bruce Beckum 5 months, 3 weeks ago

OMG! OMG! OMG! Tipoff! Jayhawks! Tonight!

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Joshua Ames 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I live in Kansas but not in a region where Time Warner services, nor does espn3. I can usually watch these games on Fox 14 out of Pittsburg but they are telling everyone TWC and Jayhawk TV blacked everyone out. So I guess it's trolling justin.tv and frontrowsports. frontrowsports isn't currently airing the game yet. Hoping to see how we figure out the lack of pg depth tonight. Also whether or not it would be best for Brannen Greene and or Frankamp to take a red shirt. I have a feeling both are going to have issues with latteral quickness especially with the rule changes. A lot of times you can make up for those things with what used to be a legal arm bar. That was a big reason AW3 never played significant minutes last year but you can tell by his twitter account this summer he worked hard to increase his latteral speed.

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Alex Berger 5 months, 3 weeks ago

The good news is that once the basketball regular season games start, KU football will be going through another winnable stretch of games! Ending the football season on a high note will help bring football recruits to see our vaunted basketball team for official visits. November will be a good month.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow!! Another one- year wonder! I wonder if anyone in the KU basketball program sees a trend here given the recent performance of the Jayhawks in the NCAA Tournament?? .

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Greg Lux 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Football??? What Football ... It's Basketball time at Kansas .... Rock Chalk

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Jerry Tompkins 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Will the game be on Cox Cable tonight in Topeka? What will be the channel for most of the season in Topeka?

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Dennis Kalivoda 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I just hope we get to see most of the KU games.

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Jeff Johnson 5 months, 3 weeks ago

So I guess the only way we get to see the game in western Kansas is on ESPN3, witch we don't have with or internet provider.

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Marley Schnauzer 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Think AD has made bad decision with TV game not available in Lawrence except on WOW. Was long time customer of Sunflower, but since WOW took over, service lousy, cost ridiculous, will never agaqin be a customer of theirs. Which means I will miss a few games and I hate that.

1

Chandler James 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I either need to find out how to log on to justin,tv.. or the trick to log on to espn3 outside the coverage area

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