Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Column: Joel Embiid top 5? Puh-lease

Kansas center Joel Embiid dips under the bucket for a reverse layup after being fouled by Toledo center Nathan Boothe during the second half on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Joel Embiid dips under the bucket for a reverse layup after being fouled by Toledo center Nathan Boothe during the second half on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.



Kansas center Joel Embiid laughs after jokingly being asked to put to bed a rumor that he once killed a lion while growing up in Cameroon, during a news conference on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self: Joel Embiid a 'guaranteed' top-five pick in NBA Draft

After Kansas University freshman center Joel Embiid announced he was entering the NBA Draft, KU coach Bill Self said it was a difficult decision for the 7-footer because he "loves it here," but Embiid made the right choice as he is "guaranteed" to be one of the top five picks.

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Reader poll

If you had the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, who would you take?

  • Joel Embiid, Kansas 63% 1368 votes
  • Dante Exum, Australia 1% 23 votes
  • Jabari Parker, Duke 8% 181 votes
  • Julius Randle, Kentucky 4% 104 votes
  • Andrew Wiggins, Kansas 20% 431 votes
  • Other 1% 39 votes

2146 total votes.

Every time I hear someone say that Joel Embiid will be a top-five pick in the next NBA Draft, I wonder if I have missed something.

Is Embiid actually 28, and has he been playing basketball all his life? That’s the only plausible explanation for any mystery regarding his draft projection. Top five? Top one. Period.

He’s 7-feet tall, started playing organized basketball a few years ago and has such amazing mental and physical agility that he could pass for a guard who shot Nerf hoops from the moment he was placed in his crib.

He has the perfect frame for adding the pounds and strength he’ll need to trade elbows with the double-wide trailers camped under the hoop. He already has the footwork to get around them. Embiid has a naturally soft touch, blocks shots and is extremely bright.

If he’s not ready to contribute in a big way right off the bat, all the better. The team that drafts him can pick up another lottery pick next season and a few years after that be ready to crash the party reserved for elite teams.

Embiid was a part-of-one-and-done college basketball player, but moved so gracefully and played so skillfully that he’ll be remembered more vividly than most four-year players.

A native of Cameroon, Africa, Embiid likely will be joined in the top five by a Canadian (KU teammate Andrew Wiggins), an Australian (Dante Exum) and two Americans (Jabari Parker and Julius Randle).

Exum is a 6-6 combo guard whose father, Cecil Exum, played with Michael Jordan and James Worthy at North Carolina and played professionally in Australia.

As for the top three recruits from the Class of 2013, I’d take Wiggins, then fellow small forward Parker, then Randle, a power forward already carrying an NBA body.

Wiggins played on the wing for KU and had little trouble blowing by serious athletes. Parker often was defended by slower players in the post. Wiggins has more untapped potential and figures to fill out physically more than either Parker or Randle.


Craig Carr 6 years, 3 months ago

28 games? Puh-lease. Joel isn't Wilt or many other KU greats. No need to spend anymore time on an individual who attended our university for 6 months. Wish him well and be done.

Jeremy Wilhelm 6 years, 3 months ago

I don't see the point. Wilt only played 48 games for KU. That's barely a quarter of what a four year guy plays these days.

Marc Frey 6 years, 3 months ago

Until "the system" can be changed, we are stuck with this scenario every year. I do not like it anymore than you do.

Bob Weinstein 6 years, 3 months ago

how callous of you!! how unappreciative!! Don't speak for KU, please.

Craig Carr 6 years, 3 months ago

Callous? i am sure that was a joke, if not then you are

Walter Bridges 6 years, 3 months ago

Had JoJo played 2-3 years at KU, he certainly would have the stats to back up any claims to being an elite player at KU. Barring injury, JoJo's jersey would be hanging alongside other all-time great players who have had their jerseys hung from the rafters inside AFH.

The college game has changed. Very few possible lottery picks stick around a 2nd season. Would Paul Pierce have stayed three years at KU under the current state of NCAAB? Not likely. To say Embiid is not a KU great seems short sided at best. If the current rules stay in place, 28 games may be all you get.

Keith Gellar 6 years, 3 months ago

not true. look at Cold Alrdich and Jeff Withey- good college players, but no where close to elite talent.

Craig Carr 6 years, 3 months ago

There is only 1 Jo Jo in the history of KU basketball and we all know it isn't Joel Embiid. Not taking anything away from Joel's ability but Jo Jo White is one of the greatest to ever wear a KU uniform.

Robert Brown 6 years, 3 months ago

You cannot call Embiid a KU great that will be remembered in 10-20 years. He played 28 games and certainly was not dominant in all of the games. In some games, he was physically manhandled. I do believe that he was the difference in KU winning the conference and finishing 3rd or 4th.

Certainly, if he becomes the next Hakeem Olajawon, then his short tenure will be looked at with fondness, but I don't think it would surprise anyone if he doesn't live up to his Top 5 selection.

Bob Weinstein 6 years, 3 months ago

When people say stuff like this it makes me wonder if we were even watching the same games?! Embiid is a basketball freak and we were lucky to have him!

LJ Gee 6 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Mark Lindrud 6 years, 3 months ago

Keegan, you have gone back to being wrong again. Joel will be a top 5 pick this year because he is considered the best center prospect. This has nothing to do with us wanting 1-2 picks as KU players it is just the facts. I am not saying what he will be like in 5 to 10 years because that is impossible to predict. He had a very good season for us and unfortunately, he got hurt and that happens, but to be so short sided is amazing. Unless an injury concern comes up before the draft he will be a top pick.

RJ King 6 years, 3 months ago

Did you get past the headline to even read the article?

Keegan states, "Top five? Top one. Period." In the second paragraph.

Keith Gellar 6 years, 3 months ago

if the DMan was still on our coaching staff, guaranteed embiid stays. heck, even turner would be a lock.

Andrew Horigan 6 years, 3 months ago

If Danny was still on our coaching staff Embiid would have announced even sooner, he would be even better.

Matt Tait 6 years, 3 months ago

Hey everyone... Just got some info on the comments. We're in the process of doing some testing to fix a site issue and in order to do so we had to turn off the viewing of threaded comments, which is why the replies are not showing up.

Hang with us for the next couple of days while we test and we'll be sure to let you know if any permanent changes are coming your way.

If there are, I assure you that it'll be a workable system that you can all adjust to easily and quickly.

Thanks. Have a great rest of the day! - Matt

Bob Weinstein 6 years, 3 months ago

Too bad about the comment reply failure because people sure are making some stupid, ungrateful comments about this young man.

1) READ the article before you comment. Not just the headline. Keegan thinks that Embiid should go first!! not just top-5.

2) Some of you KU fans make me wonder if we were even watching the same games! Do you understand basketball at all!? How do you not understand how privileged we were to have Embiid in a KU uniform. He is an athletic freak of nature. He helped recruit Wiggins to Kansas. He will continue to be an excellent ambassador for our program. #MOJOJO (I wish we could have mo jojo)

Mike Crosbie 6 years, 3 months ago

One name missing from the fact talk who I think should get consideration is Doug McDermitt, who passed Oscar Robertson for #5 on the all time NNCAAscoring list...

John Randall 6 years, 3 months ago

McDermot certainly is a marvelous college player. The product of a lifetime of preparation, he very well may have reached his ceiling, or close to it. NBA GMs aren't looking for this kind of package. His situation is similar to Chalmers from KU -- second rounder who has become a journeyman pro.

Chandler James 6 years, 3 months ago

Since when does this site show posts in ascending order instead of descending order?

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