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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Keegan

Column: Andrew Wiggins satisfies expectations at TCU

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins delivers on a lob dunk against TCU during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins delivers on a lob dunk against TCU during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self says Andrew Wiggins can play as aggressively in every game as he did vs. TCU

Bill Self says Andrew Wiggins can play as aggressively in every game as he did vs. TCU.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

After scoring career-high 27 points vs. TCU, Andrew Wiggins talks about Bill Self motivating him

After scoring career-high 27 points vs. TCU, Andrew Wiggins talks about Bill Self motivating him

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Kansas 91, TCU 69

Box score

— Coaching college basketball isn’t supposed to be as easy as Bill Self sometimes makes it seem.

It’s as if he puts his players’ minds in a line and presses a button to choose what kind of wash he wants in preparing for an upcoming game and nudging his players’ development along subtly yet with urgency.

The button connected to Andrew Wiggins’ mind pressed after Monday night’s victory against Baylor read, “He leaves me wanting more.”

He surrounded those words with honest compliments, none memorable enough to cloud the message: “He leaves me wanting more.”

Voila, Wiggins didn’t leave anybody in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on the TCU campus Saturday night wanting more from his ever-so-smooth first half, especially the purple-clad ones hoping to experience a titanic upset for the second year in a row.

Wiggins scored 19 first-half points on the way to a career-high 27 in KU’s 91-69 blowout of the Horned Frogs. That’s six more points than the entire KU team scored in a half on the same floor a year ago.

Wiggins said his coach’s words weren’t on his mind when he took the floor, but also said he’s motivated by such challenges.

“He tells me a lot that I can do more, do more for the team, do more for myself and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Wiggins said. “... It’s never a negative thing. People might take it as negative criticism, but it’s not. That just motivates me to do better and try to provide more.”

It looked like such an effortless 19-point half that featured him rising above his defender on three mid-range jumpers, two three-pointers, five free throws and a dunk off a lob from Wayne Selden.

“The thing I’ve always been so impressed with from Andrew is he’s so humble,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “He lets the game come to him.”

Wiggins made 8 of 13 field goals, 2 of 4 three-pointers and 9 of 10 free throws. He also had five assists and five rebounds.

In the first half, Wiggins needed just eight field-goal attempts to score 19 points.

“I think from an offensive point of view, I would call it my best game because I was hitting my shots and hitting my free throws,” Wiggins said. “At the other end, I think I could have stepped up my game more and (done) other things like rebound.”

Wiggins dunked a perfect lob from Selden and delivered a perfect lob that Jamari Traylor dunked.

Which end of the lob play gives him a bigger charge?

“Both,” Wiggins said. “I don’t throw many lobs, and when I do I try to make the best of it.”

Self called it, “one of his more aggressive games. He was a little thirsty to score in the first half, which is what we want. It helps when he makes shots. He just needs to relax and be him. He can defer a little bit and he can kind of get lost, but he never got lost today. He was able to put his handprints all over possessions and he created opportunities for others and for himself.”

Self said there is still “another step” the three freshmen starters — Wiggins, Selden and center Joel Embiid — can make.

“As far as aggressiveness, (Wiggins) didn’t do anything tonight that he can’t do every game,” Self said.

The coach sure liked what he saw from Wiggins, but he’ll always want more. It’s part of a coach’s job description.

Comments

James Kirk 10 months, 4 weeks ago

The guys looked really good tonight. An embarrassment of riches, to be sure. So, does anyone think that the squid actually has a better recruited class this year? Me neither. I'm off to drink more beer with no turnovers.

Joe Ross 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Good win tonight. Coach should treat for some frozen custard from Culver's (and amass 18 violations for improper benefits).

Erich Hartmann 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I dont think its a violation if everybody gets some, team mgrs, asst coaches, waterboys, comfortgirls, Hudy, etc...(and nothing more tangible such as cash or material gifts. I think foodstuff is permissible).

Thats also some of the rationale behind that posh apt. complex Kentucky has (has to include non-athlete students, but we all know who it is really built for). And now KU is building a similar apt. Maybe even non-students can buy a penthouse suite to rub elbows with Self's OADs...(I'm thinking about those dignified mature folks who sit in the bottom few rows at halfcourt at AFH)... :)

OR, better yet, have KU alums that are current/recent NBA players come stay at a posh penthouse type time-share, thus by living there, they are able to interact with players naturally. Reinforces the family/F.O.E. thing...ya know...

Suzi Marshall 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Sweet night for Wiggins. His J look solid, penetrated at will, got to the line and nailed his FTs, 5 sweet dimes....the lob to Traylor was a thing of beauty. Two of his 3 turnovers could have been called fouls on TCU. Wiggins looked everybit the hype tonight!

Our PG play was strong and solid. Tharpe was wonderful running the team and even played some D....perhaps the first time in his life. Mason blew by defenders and looked like JoJo White. The bench looked mature and ready to contribute. Selden can dominate anyone, anytime.

When Wiggins is playing well, the team rallies around him and looks invincible. They all take on a role of super confidence. If Wiggins and the team could play a whole game, every game the rest of the season.....Lord have mercy on my soul for ever doubting this team. This team can flat out play some ball.

Mick Allen 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Agree Suzi. One of the most impressive things to me was Nadiir's selfless play. Here is a kid who has gone for over 20 in two of our conference wins, yet does not take a shot. Stats obviously are not paramount to him. Self, like any other coach sells the team unity, all for one mentality. The great coaches are the ones who are actually able to sell it and we have a great one. I'm confident in the fact that Nadiir realized early on that we could score from any position and concentrated on distributing the ball. He actually was too unselfish on occasion and turned down 2 or3 open looks from the arc I thought he should have taken. Undoubtedly we will again need his good stroke at times this year and obviously will need to take his shot if open. We are always among the leaders in offensive field goal percentage because we make the extra pass and get good looks and exemplifies the "we are only as good as the sum of our parts" that HCBS so masterly gets the kids to buy into lock, stock and barrel.Wiggens was awesome as you said and it was nice to see the play and contributions off the bench,e.g. Lucas, Traylor, Greene and of course Mason. Selden is a clever entry passer and took it to the rim hard. Perry was a beast on the boards. The inner competition coach has started between Ellis and Traylor seems to have benefitted both, as Keegan reported last week. The man is a hell of a psychologist.

Suzi Marshall 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I loved the way Tharpe managed the team during his 20 minutes of play. He was very uselfish, he made the other guys better, and we got the W, which is Self's definition of what a PG does.

These guys are really coming together as a team. Since conference play commenced, every game is a very visible step of them coming together. The next 3 games will be a true test to gauge how far they have come as a team.

Walter Bridges 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I still think Tharpe is passing up too many open shots. He absolutely needs to help stretch the defense for Kansas to be more successful inside.

Mel Clare 10 months, 4 weeks ago

We all know about Wigs, Joel and Wayne doing their thing...............What IMPRESSED me the most was Lucas coming in with very good minutes to fill in for an injured Black. Just think, Lucas is on a redshirt freshman and we still have Mickelson form Arkansas that will a junior after his transfer.................both are 6'10 and big bodied guys. I have read where Mickelson is a very good defender and loves the contact in the paint area. I believe that Joel will stay for another year, just from his talking. Selden should. This team will just reload for next year. Good minutes for Greene, Frankamp, Lucas and a White III sighting too! This will only help this team later on. Hopefully Self can do the same thing with players when we play TCU again, and Texas Tech..............

Dirk Medema 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Didn't it have the feel of the non-con warm-up games where everyone plays that were missing from the schedule this year? It certainly was good to see Landon get some minutes. Unfortunately, he's probably waiting mostly in the wings for another year as well. Sort of Withey-esque.

The big body that likes to bang that gets added next year is Alexander. My understanding of Hunter was that he is long, and a good shot blocker, but more in the drifting outside Isaiah Austin mode than a banger clog the middle type. Regardless, absolutely correct that Coach has amassed an embarrassment of riches.

John Randall 10 months, 4 weeks ago

The ratings are over the top – rankings will be out Monday. In the RPI/SOS ratings, Kansas is as far ahead of #2 as #2 is ahead of #79 … rankings won't change much until higher-ranked teams pile up a few losses.

Michael Leiker 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Wow, the overhype train rolls on. Did I miss something? This was TCU right? The frogs looked like a bunch of junior high kids. KS played great, fun game to watch, don't want to take anything away, but this was no earth shattering feat. Dude still managed to turn it over 3 times against the shortest arms in the conference. Only 5 boards? Wiggins and Embiid giving it away is going to kill this team down the stretch. What were the odds of somebody not scoring 25+ tonight? This team needs to start learning to get Tharpe more shots and play through his shooting. The league race is over, but Tharpe has to be scoring for this team to get where it needs to go. Wiggins is too easy to shut down to think you can rely on him. Hitting guarded shots is what wins in March. Tharpe is the only player who has shown the ability to hit those shots consistently.

Brett McCabe 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Wow, didn't we just win on the road by 21?

Play through the point guard? I must have been confused the last 11 years because it seemed like Self's offenses were actually built around playing through the bigs. And now it's the team's job to get the point guard a shot?

It was a stellar performance by Wiggins, the game was over at half-time. He did have five assists, more than the point guard had.

Not slamming Naadir, here. But this post is pretty ridiculous.

John Randall 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Yes, the scoreboard showed a 21-point difference. It didn't show the number of bench-dwellers who logged significant minutes after halftime. This was one really good half followed by 20 minutes of fun time, which is nice after five games in the pressure cooker … back to the frying pan on Wed.

Mick Allen 10 months, 4 weeks ago

You are absolutely correct in your rebuttal Brett. Nadiir realized early on that we could score from any position and he took care of the ball and distributed it well. A totally unselfish mentality that should not be criticized when his scoring wasn't needed against an outmanned opponent, the type of outmanned opponent, that a player who has not bought into the team play concept as wholeheartedly as Nadiir, would force shots and try to get his 20. We of course will need Nadiir's good stroke down the road, but I think he understands his role well enough that he will know when to shoot the three and when to distribute the ball and get it down low. To think HCBS would abandon the high low and play through his point guard for his offense show how very little the poster knows about HCBS and KU basketball.Not trying to be hurtful, but the post is ludicrous.

Erich Hartmann 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Sorry Leiker, but maybe what you missed is the KU/Duke game all-Wiggins closeout? Interesting post trying to slam Wiggins after his highest points scored? Isnt a really, really good player supposed to go for 20+ against a weak foe? What's your beef with Wiggins? Would you rather have one of those KY OAD's? Besides, what is the difference between me-first attitude and team-first attitude? And which does Wiggy show? But he IS capable of clutch play: --> maybe you should see the Duke game, and understand that Wiggins is the real deal. It was all him in crunch time. He even fouled out Jabari Parker. Biggest stage, PTPer, Wiggins is the real deal. But even MJ had poor shooting days, nothing new in this sport. Wiggins also closed out a close conference game by drive, drive, driving & getting fouled. 80% FT shooter. He also tried a single-handed comeback vs. SDSU, hitting 3 treys and then didnt get an obvious foul call late that could have made it a 1 possession game, even Dukie Vitale was in his corner.

My advice to 'Hawk fans: enjoy these last 9weeks of Wiggins in a Jayhawk uniform. Great kid, great team-first attitude, great family...best frosh Self has ever had, with the short list including Rush, Chalmers, Embiid, and Sherron. Dont forget that Andrew Wiggins picked KU because he already met, knew, played with, and had chemistry with Selden + Embiid. He is a team guy. Which is also why he is a Bill Self guy. Funny that Self wants him to be "more" selfish, but he sees more than any of us do.

Walter Bridges 10 months, 3 weeks ago

It wasn't all fun time in the second half. There were several times were Self clearly wasn't pleased by the pickup game style Kansas was playing instead of running their offense the way it was meant to be run for 40 minutes.

Another issue was that Tharpe scored a total of ZERO points. Tharpe needs to realize early on where HE can score. The unselfish mentality should never mean it to pass up your own shots and dish to others.

Nothing major... I believe any in conference road game victory to be a success.

Robert Brock 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Tharpe had plenty of opportunities to shoot outside shots against the Frogs. He chose, instead, to pass to our bigs inside. They couldn't be stopped.

John Randall 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I think Naadir was letting the #2-7 teams in Big12 know they can pick their poison – be dominated inside or get burned when they try to shut that down. He's going to score when we need him to score.

Benz Junque 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Agreed. Naadir obviously was making an effort NOT to shoot tonight. HE turned down shots and layups that he would have taken in any other situation so the team could work on getting more movement and more chances for other players. He played rock solid and gave exactly what was needed to beat TCU.

Dave Weroha 10 months, 4 weeks ago

You saw it here first - my theory is to hedge against the risk of KU's starters letting up and playing lackadaisical after a big lead (last few games, slacking off when ahead) allowing the opponent to come soaring back, Self is subbing out and letting others play because he knows the subs bring 110% because they don't see a lot of playing time. If we start to see more subbing in future games, this is exactly what he's doing - curing the "slacking off" syndrome of his starters. Go listen to every one of Self's audio comments in the locker room - he always predicates his "We played with good energy" with "...in the first half" or "...in the second half". Every time he says that, have you noticed?

Erich Hartmann 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Good point, and even the 08Champs slacked off once they had big leads. Part of it is human nature. Different teams, same red-faced coach, but still the same tendencies. Solution: bring in fresh, hungry wolves!

Ben Schwartz 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Wigs had a great game. It is ridiculous how quiet his stat columns are. He is getting his numbers without much ball-hogging... shoots a lot of foul shots.

Lucas is an offensive board machine. He just has a knack for it.

I love Traylor because of where he came from, the efficiency of his game to date, and his role on the team as the guy who is the first to pat a teammate on the back or get fired up on a big play.

Selden Jr remains my favorite player this year (out of a team of very likable players). The dude has been more about Kansas basketball all season than anyone else. He was that way for me before his big hustle play vs OKST. That type of play was bound to happen because Selden is the type of player who will do it. His energy and desire is on a whole different level than the majority of the rest of the team (I will go on the record and say I am satisfied with our team effort/chemistry at this point overall, though). Just in the TCU game: drove the lane and slammed it with one hand (not a freshman play), and almost slammed a put-back OVER Traylor. We got a complete steal when he decided to come to KU. If he sticks around, he is the type of player who has the poise and maturity beyond his years to bind an elite team together.

Selden does a great job of balancing aggressive drives to the rim for dunks and athletic lay-ins looking for the contact+foul. I wish Wiggins would take note. We have a kid who can get two the rim in two quick steps, can jump out of the gym, and has a famous YouTube clip in which he almost converts on a dunk from like 5 feet out on the baseline at Lebron's camp (the one where Lebron jumps up in anticipation) and I find myself constantly screaming at the TV "WHY DIDN'T YOU DUNK THAT?! He is almost too humble sometimes. I think he is really trying hard to just be part of the team and he has lost some of his own identity in the process.

Ben Schwartz 10 months, 4 weeks ago

to* not two, already edited with some extra thoughts

Kent Richardson 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Impressive that both teams played hard all game. TCU kept pace in the second half by getting good penetration and hitting all their bunnies. Team seems to be getting it at both ends and if this is the Wiggs we get the rest of the season, man o man. We can slow you down enough and certainly outscore you. Teams with three great guards who can shoot will be the only ones who could take us down.

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