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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

’Wolves welcome Wiggins

New Timberwolves players, from left, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young and Zach LaVine attend a news conference at the Minnesota State Fair on Tuesday in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

New Timberwolves players, from left, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young and Zach LaVine attend a news conference at the Minnesota State Fair on Tuesday in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

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From former Kansas University basketball player/current Minnesota Timberwolves GM Milt Newton greeting him at the airport Monday, to receiving a hero’s welcome Tuesday at the Minnesota State Fair, Andrew Wiggins is definitely feeling appreciated following his trade from Cleveland.

“It’s been a crazy summer, really up and down. Kind of lost, not really knowing where I’m going,” the 6-foot-8 Wiggins said at a Tuesday news conference at the fair in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

“But I wanted to play for a team that wanted me. It’s all good now. I’m excited for this season. I’m very excited to be here, excited to get to work, building up the whole chemistry on the whole team. It’s a new group of guys. I’m looking forward to working hard with them, getting to know all of them off the court and on the court.”

Wiggins joins fellow Canadian Anthony Bennett on the Wolves’ roster, as well as draft pick Zach LaVine and former Sixer Thaddeus Young, who all attended the Tuesday festivities after being involved in the trade that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland.

Wiggins, the top overall pick in the 2014 Draft, autographed photos at the fair and was followed around by hundreds of fans. At one point, he and LaVine descended a giant slide.

“For me, it’s not really hard to accept it,” Wiggins said of the trade. “I’m the type of guy that I go to where I’m needed. I go to where I’m wanted, really. That’s what I like. I landed in the best situation I can be in.”

Of parts of his game he’d like to improve, he said: “You can never perfect anything, so my jump shot, my handling, moving without the ball, everything that’s possible on offense.”

Before heading to the fair, Wiggins visited Target Center, home of the Wolves, wore a No. 22 jersey and sat in front of his new locker.

An Associated Press writer said, at that point, he let out a sigh.

“It was a big relief,” Wiggins told the AP. “Now it’s solidified. I’m situated in a spot where I know I’m going to be at for a very, very long time. It’s comforting.”

Of Wiggins, KU coach Bill Self said: “He says he’s happy. So if he’s happy, everybody should be happy. I’m excited for him. They do have a pretty athletic bunch in Minnesota. When you talk about Andrew and Zach LaVine and some other things they’ve got going, they are going to be ridiculously young, but hopefully it’ll be a good foundation for his future.”

New comparisons: Former NBA player/current NBA-TV analyst Stu Jackson compares Wiggins to Dominique Wilkins, who also never played for the team that drafted him. He was dealt by Utah to Atlanta back in 1982.

“He has the huge, athletic wow factor that Dominique always had,” Jackson told twincities.com. “He has the ability to create shots that most other players can only dream of creating: the step-back, the spins, the one-foot takeoff, the two-foot takeoff. In other words, his skills are innate, while not polished. His ability to slash to the basket, put the ball on the floor, his intuitive sense and habit of creating space on his jump shot.”

Recruiting: Trae Young, a 6-foot-1 sophomore shooting guard from Norman (Oklahoma) North High, will attend the Oct. 10 Late Night in the Phog on an unofficial recruiting visit, jayhawkslant.com reports.

Comments

Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

That is a lot of young talent to bring to a team with one trade since LaVine was their actual draft pick this year. With Young at the 4, Bennett the 3, Wigs the 2 and LaVine at the 1 this team could be fun to watch in the near future. If LaVine develops then Rubio could be traded for a big man.

Glen Miller 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Rubio will be their 1, not LaVine. I would look for Wiggs to be the "3" and LaVine to be the "2". Bennett will come off the bench more than likely.

Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I would agree, but a lot of talk is LaVine maybe able to play the point. We shall see how that develops. I also agree Wigs is more suited for the 3, but if these guys develop there could be some versatility to work with on this team.

Keith Gellar 1 month, 3 weeks ago

“He has the ability to create shots that most other players can only dream of creating: the step-back, the spins, the one-foot takeoff, the two-foot takeoff. In other words, his skills are innate, while not polished. His ability to slash to the basket, put the ball on the floor, his intuitive sense and habit of creating space on his jump shot.”

Sadly, none of these skills were on display when he was at KU

Keith Gellar 1 month, 3 weeks ago

skill is something you can do consistently. None of the skills described were consistently performed by him. the not polished comment should be bolded. if his intuitive sense was really that good, he shouldn't have lost the ball in the final few mins of the stanford game. IMO- that's what cost us the game.

Lance Cheney 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Yes, that one play cost us a whole game. It wasn't a combination of all the mistakes and poor play prior to that. Sadly, I don't have any specifics to point to.

Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The lack of interior defense, ability to rebound and turnovers cost us the game. Wiggins may have had a bad game, but he was not the reason we lost.

Jack Wilson 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Not to nit-pick, but Self cost us that game ... out-schemed and out-coached by Dawkins.

Brett McCabe 1 month, 3 weeks ago

You do like to hammer on Self, don't you? No coach is perfect but, overall, he's done a pretty good job don't you think?

Rodney Crain 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Spot on Jack. Dawkins game plan was perfectly executed. With Joel out, he took Wiggins out of the game and bet that the remaining players we had could be beaten, and he was right. Self had no answer. I wish Self would have someone on his staff play the role of being the coach with a "Red team" mentality. Someone who approached scouting the other teams we play with more than a recap of their tendencies. It would be nice to have someone say if it was me this is how I would beat us, then talk about a plan B or even a plan C that we could adjust to in game.

Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I wish we had a coach that won 10 straight Big 12 Titles, 6 Big 12 Tournament Titles, and took us to 2 Final Fours and who had won a National Title for us.

Rodney Crain 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Mark if you are happy with our NCAA success in the last 11 years, then all I can say to you is; Standford #10 loss, Michigan #4 loss, VCU #11 loss, Northern IA #9 loss, UCLA #2 loss, Bradley #13 1st round loss, and Bucknell #14 first round loss ( 7 out of 11 years we have lost to lower seeds, 4 of those to double digit seeds). Since my response was specifically to our most recent loss in the NCAA tournament where we were out coached and out played, I can only assume you do not know what you are talking about. If your glass is half full with a pitiful NCAA record like that, remember we think we are an elite program, than you settle way too much in life. Specifically in the double digit seed losses in the NCAA tournament, we seem unable to adjust to a well coached team that has taken away a specific part of our game plan. That is being outcoached. We have way too many bad, head scratching losses, for this to be a bump in the road. So Mark, I am talking about why all that B12 success does not translate to a better showing by Self in the NCAA. If you think I am being unrealistic I would say so is losing to VCU, MI, N. IA, Bradley and Bucknell. Mark ,Self can be too rigid and does make mistakes. It does not mean I want a new coach, it means I wish he could fluid enough to adjust.

Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I know exactly what I'm talking about. Upsets happen. I'm not happy about the losses but we can dissect every blue blood team and how they've been upset in the tourney. Make sure when we win the big 12 next year, and from here on out when we get to the final four, you don't say a word since you want to focus on the negative.

Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

My last part was out of line, my apologies. With Joel out, we showed too many deficiencies. This year's team was based on Joel and Wiggins and with Joel out we were limited. This was more about relying on too many young guys and a transfer to carry the load and that was unfortunate. This year we are more experienced and more diverse. The major question will be interior defense, which I hope either Lucas or Mickelson can make a difference.

Rodney Crain 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Mark if at the end of a game we can agree that we gave our best effort from the head coach to the last player then I can accept defeat. The other team was just better. But when I see our players, and our coach sometimes, in utter disbelief at another unexplainable NCAA loss, I see a group who expected to win, not somebody who prepared for and then played to win. There is a difference. Winning B12 titles is not as intense as the one game battles, with quality opponents, where you need to win to advance. Those are like 40 minute wars that you must adjust quickly within or before you know it your best players are sitting on the floor wondering what happened. Coach says its about match-ups, I think he is right. It's about match-ups of teams but also the planned and unplanned ones that you face within the game too. That is the part that we appear the most lacking in the last 11 years. 64% of the time (Self Era) we lose to a lower seed, 36% of the time to a double digit seed. That is just unacceptable to me considering the teams we have had. We should have at least gotten to 2 or 3 more final fours and at least had one more championship.

Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

It sounds like according to you we should just never lose in the tournament unless it is to a 1 or 2 seed. That is why it is called March Madness because things unfortunately happen. Last year we had the highest ranked championship final between UConn and Kentucky. Personally, I did not think we should have been seeded as high as we were last year because we went into the tournament with 9 losses and we were not as strong as we have been. When you look at the year we went to the title and lost a few years ago we over achieved because that was not a strong team, but we got to the title game and made Jayhawk Nation proud while surprising some. Do I like losing to lower seeds? Of course not, but once again, top seeds get beat, but it seems that you would only be happy if we went to the Final Four every year because we are just better, but it doesn't happen that way. Last year we relied on too many young players and that is not Self's style because he is about defense, which typically more experienced teams understand for him and execute beautifully. I expect this year's team to do much better because it understands the system better. I am prepared for your retort about how our coach is not coaching correctly every other year except when we have not gone to the title game.

Rodney Crain 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Being upset by a double digit team is a clear indication that your team, and or your coach was not prepared, nor could they adjust in-game to win the game, especially in the first or second round. To just dismiss that fact, means you are complacent, like losses due to luck, or fate are just beyond our control. Look at the MI loss, or last years Stanford's game for examples, we could see in 5 minutes that Stanford was going to make somebody else on our team beat them, it was not going to be Wiggins, why did our adjustment only happen late in the 2nd half? My original point, shared by some on here, is that Self should adjust more quickly in NCAA games to make sure those games do not get away from us. I could care less if you are prepared about my fair criticism about our coach or team. I want our team to be more prepared to switch to plan B or plan C if the other team is successfully taking us out of our game plan in the NCAA tourny. We call ourselves an elite program, is that only with respect to our Great conf. record or our poor NCAA record with regard to double digit losses?

Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

64 teams play. Guess what, only one wins. Every year upsets happen. You're so focused on our failures that you don't appreciate our successes. When we won in 2008, it was the first time all four number one seeds all were in the final four. It's not easy and we are a1 seed a lot.When we played Kentucky in the title game we beat the 1 seed north Carolina 80-67. That's considered, an upset in our favor. We win also. Self, isn't perfect, but he has brought us success.

Rodney Crain 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Do you have a shirt or a hat that says "I am a homer"? When anyone is satisfied with poor results and you dismiss them out right it only shows how mediocre you are. 2008 championship game, you are going to use as your example? Brother that was pure luck, Self said so in his book. Memphis had to do everything wrong and we had to everything perfectly to tie that game. I am glad we won, but that is not the success I wish we were striving for. 64% of Self's teams lose to lower seeds in the NCAA's, a third of our losses are to double digit seeds. All this with being seeded no less than 4th. Sorry but there is an obvious problem there.

Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

So, both times we went to the title game we over achieved one way or another. You mention luck, everyone knows that to win the title you need a little luck, or at least something has to go your way to win the whole thing. I'm not dismissing that yeah it stinks we have lossed and many of those have been to double digit seeds. You seem obsessed with our failures. You must be an unhappy person and I'm certain you hope self gets fired soon since he's a failure in your eyes.

Rodney Crain 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Mercy.... You are something else, do you even understand what it takes to be elite? You learn nothing from success, you learn from losses and build off success . Chase perfection, you will catch excellence, Lombadri. You acceptance of our suspect record in the NCAA makes me wonder if you are just a cheerleader or a true fan of our program. You focus on your failures to get better or you will accept them and settle for things. Great programs, great winners are driven, not complacent. It's ok to question Self and our players.

Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

You learn nothing from success? You don't learn what worked to win? Yes you learn from failures, but you learn from both. You're the one who's something else.i never said we don't question the coaches and players. They're not perfect, but the system in place has brought us success. If the system was perfect we'd be undefeated and have national titles yearly. It doesn't work that way because they make mistakes because they're human. Maybe you should coach the team since you're perfect.

Rodney Crain 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Settle down Mark, you really get off on tangents don't you? Have you even read Self's book? If you had you would know it is the losses that are hard for him, that stick with him. He does not keep track of 30 win seasons, or streaks like you do. When you have success your mistakes are minimalized because you end every discussion about mistakes made with " well at least we won can't be that bad". My original point, which you have repeatedly missed is that Self should adjust quicker during NCAA games when our game plan, or system is not working. Btw I specifically quoted Lombardi, that you chase perfection and you get excellence. Never said anything about being perfect, or even allude to our team being perfect, so try to focus please. My word, I did not think a simple comment would be so hard for you to understand. Well at you are prepared now for anything else I might post, right? :)

Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I understood your point just fine. Coaches always chase perfection, which I'll agree, but your commentary has focused on losses in the tournament. Every team loses in the tournament. Blue bloods lose often like everyone else. That is my point you've ignored. I want to win every year and get to the final four, not I like the rest of us, know it's hard to do and should appreciate when we do. Every team has different strengths and weaknesses and coaches do their best to play to their strengths and cover their weaknesses. I think it's you that needs more objectivity.

Keith Gellar 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Wiggins should have carried the team on his back. DMAN did it in 88 and look where it got him..an NCAA championship. Yes, and i do think it was a realistic expectation. Whether Wiggins likes it or not, he's in the same air as Danny and Pierce. If it were Danny or Pierce in his position, they wouldn't have hesitated and would have carried the hawks atleast past stanford.

Brett McCabe 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Just for the record, Pierce turned it over late against URI.

Mick Allen 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Manning was a mature 22 year old senior. Wigs an 18 year old freshman.See the difference?

Lance Cheney 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I wouldn't say that. He could hit that step-back jumper all day long. And he definitely had the spin move and could get to the basket - he just couldn't finish when he was at the rim. Hopefully he gets that taken care of, sooner rather than later.

Cameron Cederlind 1 month, 3 weeks ago

You should have watched a game this season, it was pretty exciting. (17+ ppg)

Erich Hartmann 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Sorry, Keith. Let's define the contextual use of the word "innate". It means what he arrives with, or what are his go-to moves. Didnt Wiggins display all of that in like KU's 3rd game against Duke in Madison Square Garden? The late-game, clutch step back jumper. The lock-down D. Basically he and Mason and Selden closed out that W over a royalty opponent. And he was on fire vs. WVU (40+pts), but team play sucked that day, so we lost. Of course an 18 or 19yr old player needs polish--> that goes without saying. 19yr old MJ needed "polish" too, as did 19yr old Kobe.

Perhaps a reminder about the Stanford game: The Stanford coach gameplanned Wiggins, and played a tight, collapsing zone--> thus, Ellis was bothered all day, couldnt finish paint shots, and Traylor (who went for 17-and-15 vs. EKY the game prior) couldnt finish paint looks either. The only effective post presence was Black, who fouled out after +/-18pts. Wiggins own statement from his press conference: "Everywhere I tried to go, there were 2 or 3 guys coming at me...". But he still tried to attack and penetrate. Most KU fans feel at least 1 charge call was bogus, and Wiggins was fouled also at least 1-2 times on those 6 or 7 'empty' drives he tried. So, as KU fans/alums (who should be able to recognize good basketball when we see it), maybe we simply credit the opponent (Stanford) for a good gameplan and execution, and realize our team didnt do several things in several areas to earn the W on that day?

Next season please...(we Dance every year. Period.)

Jack Wilson 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Bingo .. right on point.

Self's job was to scheme him into situations to get him better looks. Wiggins was the focus of their D -- remember his comment after the game about two guys being in his face all the time?

Stanford tried to take Wiggins away, and we happily obliged.

Glen Miller 1 month, 3 weeks ago

You must not have seen any games this year then. I saw the step back several times. He slashed to the basket every game, just didn't finish sometimes. he spun and threw down a dunk that was about as sick a move as I have seen in a while. His take offs were all over the place in games. He might have the quickest second jump I have ever seen. Are you just a hater or are you really being serious??

Mark Lindrud 1 month, 3 weeks ago

What team were you watching?! His ability to slash to the basket was a major strength of his, and had great intuitive sense to get rebounds in addition to court awareness. He could create space for a jump shot, but his shot was inconsistent from 3 point range. He was inconsistent in being aggressive, but both he and Joel were the two biggest reasons we won the Big 12 Title.

Jack Joiner 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I too had problems with him finishing at the rim, but he has all the skills to be a great player. I thought he did a better job finishing in the summer league.

Aaron Paisley 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Tightening his handles and getting stronger are the two things Wiggins needs to work on the most. With solid hanfles, Wiggins will be able to do whatever he wants to on the floor to get an open look. Becoming stronger will let him finish through contact much better. I feel this is typically the biggest weakness for most of the OAD players simply because their bodies are still physically maturing. I have no doubt that Wiggins will be able put on the necessary strength, but that's just not an overnight improvement.

Anyone blaming a single person for the loss to Stanford needs to put down the bong and realize that was a collective team loss on everyone.

Keith Gellar 1 month, 3 weeks ago

i agree.it was a collective loss..by my point is wiggins could have single handedly carried the hawks. he has the talent and skill set

Aaron Paisley 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Do you really agree because your statement above say differently.

Jack Wilson 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Please remember this when you criticize Wiggins -- he was a freshman. Pretty amazing stats and performance for a freshman. If anyone thought he was the next Lebron, or bought the SI cover hype, you were simply expecting too much.

Imagine what this guy would have been by his junior season?

And perhaps judging his NBA contribution might have the most credibility if done in about three years.

Joseph Bullock 1 month, 3 weeks ago

remember, Wiggins reclassified, and should have just been a senior in high school, last season. he lacked strength, and was not used to so much contact, going to the rim (but he did get better at the basket, as time went on). his lack of ball handling (which I mentioned early on, last season, also hurt him against not only Stanford, but other athletic, well coached teams, too. but I was at the game against Stanford, and no one played well, except Black, and to be frank, our coaching staff did not make all the needed adjustments, and some they made, like pressing, were a bit too late. Stanford had an excellent game plan, and the players executed it, to perfection. But if we played them 10 times, we would win 8 out of those 10 games. too bad that isn't how it works. but, I would not trade our coaching staff, for any other, and they are not perfect, either. they are human. I am really looking forward to this year.

Joseph Bullock 1 month, 3 weeks ago

also, I am going to the Champions Classic, in Indy, where we will play Kentucky. I recently heard that Kentucky is on tour, somewhere overseas. Does anyone know if that is true? That definitely gives them a big advantage, having all of that practice time, and playing together, and with the coaches actually being able to work with, and coach the team. But, I still think we can beat them, if not in Indy, by years end, when it really counts. Coach talks about our lack of height (no 7 footer, but I am telling everyone, that we have 5 outstanding big men, who are super athletic, and some who can stretch the floor. Our over all team, is deep, athletic, quick, fast, physical, and can defend, and rebound. When all is said and done, I truly believe we will be much better than last season. Oh, and if we press, we can dominate. Look what happened at the end of the Stanford game, when we finally pressed. We almost won the game. We are more suited to press, this season, with experienced guards, and with the addition of Graham. I'm excited. I welcome any comments. I would like to see if anyone agrees with me.

Joseph Bullock 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I do, however, wish Svi (or however you spell it), was already here with the team. I know it is an honor playing for your Country, but I think it really puts him behind, here. Especially with what Hudy could have been doing for him. But at least he is playing games, and we will have him for 2 years. Hopefully, he will catch up, and jell quickly, once he gets here.

Scott Yessen 1 month, 3 weeks ago

There is no question HCBS is a great coach, but that doesnt mean he doesn't make mistakes. Jack is absolutely right. Self was unwilling to adjust during the Standford game and that lose falls on his shoulders. Does that mean we all want a new coach, of course not.

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