Embiid's stock rising
Whether Kansas is on the court, playing on national television, or has the day off, it seems the national media always has Bill Self’s Jayhawks on its radar.
Before checking out some big-picture takes on some of the Jayhawks (No. 18, 10-4), here are a few in-game and post-game tweets in regards to KU’s 90-83 road win at Oklahoma Wednesday night:
- During the game, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, whose son James is a walk-on at Oklahoma, credited KU coach Bill Self for knowing how to use a technical foul to his advantage:
Fran McCaffery needs to go to school on Bill Self. One technical is all you need. 35-21 run since the T.— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) January 9, 2014
- Sports Illustrated/CBS college basketball scribe Seth Davis, who watched Kansas in person at the Battle 4 Atlantis, took a moment to give the Jayhawks credit for their road win:
Hardest thing to do is win a league game on the road. Kansas (at Okl) and Minnesota (Penn St) just got it done. Good on ye.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) January 9, 2014
- ESPN’s favorite yelling former coach, Dick Vitale, might have been speechless for a moment, upon realizing how much offensive success Kansas had at Oklahoma:
Hard to believe KANSAS scores 90 on the road vs Oklahoma & Wiggins doesn't score in double figures.— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) January 9, 2014
- Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jay Williams doesn’t view Kansas as the best, or even the second-best, team in the Big 12 right now:
Wiggins, Embiid project as top NBA picks
Every person who has paid any attention to Kansas this season knows that Self’s hyped freshman class has multiple potential one-and-done players. And few expect forward Andrew Wiggins and center Joel Embiid to be around when the 2014-15 season starts.
Thanks to espn.com, you can start to toy around with what NBA franchise Wiggins and Embiid will call home following the 2014 Draft, in June. Head over to the 2014 Lottery Mock Draft and give it a whirl.
The exact order of the top 14 slots in the draft, aka the lottery picks, won’t be determined until the season ends and the lottery is held. But this fun little mock draft machine spits out as many options as one could dream up every time the “play lottery” button is pushed. Using a list of 14 NBA prospects, it projects where each player will go, depending on how the teams are sorted out.
Out of curiosity, I played it three times. Each one provided a scenario in which Wiggins and Embiid were off the board by the third pick:
No. 1, Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, Duke; No. 2, Denver Nuggets: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas; No. 3, Orlando Magic: Joel Embiid, Kansas.
No. 1, Orlando: Wiggins; No. 2, Cleveland Cavaliers: Embiid; No. 3, Philadelphia 76ers: Parker.
No. 1, Milwaukee: Parker; No. 2, Orlando: Wiggins; No. 3, New Orleans Pelicans: Embiid.
You get the idea. The mock draft lottery feature could spit out any number of combinations, and most of them have Wiggins and Embiid in the top three or four.
Interestingly enough, the man behind the draft machine, ESPN’s Chad Ford, expects different outcomes to these scenarios by the time the real draft rolls around this June:
By June? I’m thinking Joel Embiid might be No. 1 in 13 of 14 scenarios. He’s the “It” guy right now in NBA circles http://t.co/STK9BCRDfP— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) January 9, 2014
Over at ESPN’s Grantland, NBA aficionados Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose agree. Simmons retweeted Ford and followed with this:
Off last retweet: Jalen and I agree with Chad Ford... we think Embiid is going No. 1. http://t.co/iOM2ODXknJ— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) January 9, 2014
You can watch Simmons and Rose gush about Embiid beginning at the 2:20 mark of the below clip, from Grantland’s YouTube channel.
Embiid gaining notoriety
In a piece by Ryan Fagan, of The Sporting News, it is pointed out that Wiggins, Duke’s Jabari Parker, Kentucky’s Julius Randle and Arizona’s Aaron Gordon entered this season with the most hype.
But for this piece, Fagan focuses on four other outstanding freshmen: Tyler Ennis, Syracuse; Jordan Mickey, LSU; Eric Mika, BYU; and Embiid.
Again, Embiid’s rising NBA draft stock is noted, and Fagan provides a link to the DraftExpress.com YouTube channel, which has this below video on Embiid. The stats cited are only from the first 10 games of the season, but I’m certain this is as thorough a video as you could hope for (IT’S 16 MINUTES LONG!) in terms of showing off all the skills and intangibles Embiid possesses that has NBA personnel drooling.
(Also, if you’ve ever wanted to watch multiple clips of Embiid boxing out, while listening to instrumental-only Lupe Fiasco, well, I just made your day.)
Wiggins ‘not overwhelming’
In an effort to catch up casual college basketball fans with everything that went on during the non-conference season, which coincides with college football season, CBSSPorts.com’s Gary Parrish offered 10 things those who weren’t paying attention needed to know.
No. 2 on his list: “Andrew Wiggins has been really good but not overwhelming.”
Parrish posted this before Wiggins went 2-for-9 from the floor at Oklahoma on Wednesday. Still, he makes a valid point that it probably isn’t fair to ask “What’s wrong with Wiggins?” or call the freshman standout’s season “disappointing."
Ellis breaking out/KU ‘wishy-washy’
Down near the bottom of the King’s Court piece, in the rapidfire section, the national writer also picked Kansas as his current “wishy-washy” team.