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Addition of Andrew Wiggins brings clarity to KU basketball lineup

The Andrew-Wiggins-to-Kansas news that overjoyed Jayhawk Nation at 11:09 a.m. today and continues to send waves of happiness throughout Lawrence brings to town the latest can't-miss, one-and-done college hoops prospect.

Regardless of your opinion on OADs, the addition of Wiggins, a 6-foot-7, 190-pound wing from Huntington, W.V., who can do a little bit of everything, not only makes the Bill-Self-led Jayhawks the favorite to win a 10th straight Big 12 title but also puts Kansas firmly into the preseason Top 10, perhaps even the Top 5. Not bad for one of last year's No. 1 seeds that lost all five starters, many of whom played key roles on the Jayhawks' run to the national title game in 2012, as well.

More important than any fact about where KU will be ranked or what KU can accomplish during the 2013-14 season is the fact that adding Wiggins to the incoming class and the returning roster gives Self an incredible amount of flexibility and a seemingly endless list of options.

As Self likes it, the competition for playing time will be stiff this coming season, which not only means the Jayhawks are loaded, but also means they're going to get better. Picture this: a deep and talented crop of Jayhawks new and old battling against one another for minutes every day during practice. There will be no fear about going too hard, only fear about not going hard enough.

Wiggins, who is projected by many to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, will certainly be pencilled in as a starter from Day 1.

The rest of the starting lineup remains to be seen, but, again, there are a bunch of different options for Self.

Here's an early stab at what the opening night starting lineup could look like, followed by a look at KU's reserves:

Starting Five
PG: Naadir Tharpe, jr.
SG: Wayne Selden, fr.
SF: Andrew Wiggins, fr.
PF: Perry Ellis, soph.
C: Joel Embiid, fr.

Bench:
PG: Frank Mason, fr.
SG: Conner Frankamp, fr.
SF: Brannen Greene, fr.
SF: Andrew White III, soph.
PF: Jamari Traylor, soph.
PF: Landen Lucas, RS-fr.
PF: Justin Wesley, sr.

Don't forget that Memphis forward Tarik Black is visiting KU today and, should he choose the Jayhawks, he would offer Self yet another option in the starting lineup. Perhaps something like this:

PG: Naadir Tharpe, jr.
SG: Wayne Selden, fr.
SF: Andrew Wiggins, fr.
PF: Perry Ellis, soph.
C: Tarik Black, sr.

What all of this tells me is (a) KU will not have to worry about a lack of athleticism next season; and (b) Naadir Tharpe better be ready to take on a leadership role because he'll be playing with a bunch of youngins.

As many of you may know, I've loved Tharpe's leadership traits since his freshman season and I think he took a real step forward in that department last season. Give him another summer to go to work and adjust to the feeling that this is his team to lead and I think he'll be primed for a fantastic junior year.

Remember, Tharpe was at his best last season when he served as a facilitator, and with these lineups and the offensive weapons KU will have coming off the bench, it will be pretty clear that getting the ball to the right guys will be Tharpe's No. 1 job next season.

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Comments

celliott5288 1 year, 3 months ago

Great day for the Jayhawks!!!!

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clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 3 months ago

No offense to Coach Dooley, but Lawrence will be "Dunk City" next year

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jhawkrulz 1 year, 3 months ago

I think that you bring up good lineups; however, knowing Bill Self sometimes he shifts small and sometimes he plays big.

I'd be interested in thoughts of how the rotations will occur for instance, I think AWIII will see playing time...but how/where?

Look forward to your thoughts.

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Steve Kubler 1 year, 3 months ago

It would not surprise me to see AWIII red shirt with Wiggins being an obvious OAD.

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Vernon Riggs 1 year, 3 months ago

AWIII won't transfer because of the one-and-done year of Andrew Wiggins. He will wait his turn. He will be the next superstar to step up after Wiggins leaves for the NBA.

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Mike Barnhart 1 year, 3 months ago

Hmm... Gotta' wonder if JoJo Embiid will be ready to start before conference season begins. I think we'll see a lot of Lucas and Traylor in the non-con!

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ferdthemooncat 1 year, 3 months ago

Methinks Jamari will open the season as the starting C. Quick, athletic and knows the system.

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702Hawk 1 year, 3 months ago

This team reminds me of the national title team in the way that if one play fouls out or isn't having their night we can replace them without feeling it. I love depth but I hope they all be team players and know where they stand and are happy with it.

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Mike Barnhart 1 year, 3 months ago

If AW gets hurt YOU'LL FEEL IT!

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702Hawk 1 year, 3 months ago

I hope no one has an injury. And I do hope your right because we have great guys backing him up. It would mean he was super dooper great.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

As improbable as it seemed a few months ago, there is a possibility that the 2013-14 Jayhawks MAY end up with THREE OADs!!

1] Andrew, barring injury, is a given.

2] The meteoric rise of Jo Jo is beyond astonishing..from unrated to the Number One Center and the sixth-ranked player!!?? He may just play himself into "The Show" after next season!!

3] And finally, granted a much longer shot, but Wayne could really turn GM some heads with the magical "P Word".......POTENTIAL.

I am not predicting or even advocating #2 or #3, but just the fact that there is that possibility is mind-boggling!!!

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

If Tarek Black commits that would technically be four one and dones at Kansas next season!!!!

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DRsmith 1 year, 3 months ago

AW and Embiid for sure. Seldon will need some more work.

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Michael Luby 1 year, 3 months ago

Naadir could challenge for the season assists record this year...and probly win it.

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COHawk10 1 year, 3 months ago

Can't even explain how stoked I am for this season.

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Boouk 1 year, 3 months ago

My guess on the rotation and minutes per game next season in close games:

Tharpe: 32, Seldon: 32, Wiggins: 36, Ellis: 32, Embiid: 28.

Bench:

Frankamp: 12, White: 12 Traylor: 12, Lucas: 4.

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Boouk 1 year, 3 months ago

It's tough for me to leave Greene and Mason out of the rotation, but Self's never had a rotation with 10+ players, so I went with the more experienced Andrew White. Even If we don't get Tarik Black, I still don't expect Lucas to play much next season. Self's rotations have typically included 4 bigs, but I can see it being just Embiid, Ellis and Traylor when none of them are in foul trouble.

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Boouk 1 year, 3 months ago

I can definitely see Greene playing some 4 for us. That'd give our bench a nice scoring punch we haven't had in recent seasons.

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Michael Johnson 1 year, 3 months ago

i think you guys are missing the boat on lucas. hes gonna be a stud.

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akgjenkintown 1 year, 3 months ago

Defense will dictate who gets minutes. High school stars tend to focus more on their offense, but at KU the players that can play team defense will see the most playing time, especially early on. In the high school all star games Embiid stood out the most for his defensive presence. He never backed down, but fouled a lot. Last year Perry's defense was a problem. Everyone focused on his poor offense for much of the season, but he got beat on defense too many times to count. When Jamari and Perry subbed last year the other teams took advantage and would typically go on runs, but with another year under their belts they shoild be greatly improved. The challenge for Self is to get these great high school scorers to understand that KU has averaged 30 wins a season because of their tough defense. Therefore the vets such as Tharpe, Ellis, Traylor, White, and yes Lucas will get playing time while many of the newbies try to figure out Self's system. Granted Wiggins and Selden will be counted on immediately because of their scoring and athleticism. However, once some of the other players learn their roles and defensive schemes, KU could be very good and much deeper than in the past. Finally, team chemistry cannot be underestimated and hopefully the players and coaches will gel or it could be an untypical year. Nevertheless, on paper this is an extremely talented group of basketball players, who hopefully are very coachable.

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justanotherfan 1 year, 3 months ago

Defense will be important, but of the three freshmen that will play the most, they all rate as above average to outstanding defenders.

Embiid is an elite defensive player, much more so than offensively. His defensive abilities are well ahead of his offensive polish, which isn't surprising given how little organized basketball he has played. Still, he will play (and play a lot). I see him getting 25-30 mpg.

Selden is an above average wing defender. At the 2 spot, his strength could make him an elite level defender. Because he can defend either wing (or the point in a pinch) I see him also playing high minutes. He's getting at least 22 mpg, probably more in the 25-27 range.

Wiggins can defend the 2, 3 or 4. His elite level athleticism will make him a very good defender, perhaps even elite as he refines his skills. Wiggins is different from Ellis in that he is a different caliber of athlete. He's playing 27+ mpg.

Tarik Black adds an interesting wrinkle. I don't think he comes unless he feels like he is going to play. Defensively, he's better than all of KU's returning bigs. Offensively, he's not that refined, so I can't see him being on the floor with Embiid a whole lot.

On the perimeter, either Frankamp or Mason will likely end up redshirting. There just aren't enough minutes to play both of those guys, plus Tharpe because their size makes it difficult to play two of them together for extended minutes. Frankamp's shooting may give him the edge here. I also think that the way Self rotates his perimeter players, either Greene or White will end up redshirting. In a lot of ways, those two are similar. I think the thing that may separate this battle is ball handling. There will be times when this position will need to step in as a secondary ball handler.

I would break down the minutes like this:

Starters (w/o Black) Tharpe - 25 Selden - 25 Wiggins - 28 Ellis - 24 Embiid - 25

Bench Traylor - 12 Lucas - 18 White or Greene - 18 Frankamp or Mason - 18 7 minutes of time to the rest of the bench, primarily for foul trouble, mop up duty, etc.

Starters (with Black) Tharpe - 25 Selden - 25 Wiggins - 28 Ellis - 24 Black - 20

Bench Embiid - 20 Lucas - 14 White or Greene - 20 Frankamp or Mason - 20

I don't see Justin Wesley getting much time next year regardless. There's a pretty good chance that two guys redshirt next season I think. It's almost a certainty that at least one guy will end up redshirting from the White, Greene, Frankamp, Mason group. There just aren't enough minutes to justify burning a year of eligibility for all of those guys.

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Mark Lindrud 1 year, 3 months ago

It's safe to say with this overload of talent the lineup dreams will begin and be loads of fun. It's legitimate we will need to play 9 guys regularly. We all agree Embiid, Wiggins, Selden, Ellis and Tharpe are the starters. The bench will be tricky, and redshirt decisions will be considered. I'd say for sure Lucas, Traylor and Greene then it's a toss up between Connor, Mason and AW. That's up to to the coach and as long as we have versatility on the court we will be fine, and we've got Self

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andrewJHWK 1 year, 3 months ago

Andrew White will start before Wayne Selden. Traylor before Embiid. That's Mr. Self's way of going with more senior players. Gives players something (playing time) to work towards.

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mikehawk 1 year, 3 months ago

I think Landen Lucas will start and be a big surprise to everyone at the 5. I think Frank Mason may not start, but someone has to spell Naadir at point. I think he may be the other surprise. Doesn't Seldon also have the capability to be a very big point? Certainly, HCBS potentially has multiple options...big, small, quick, fouls to give, etc. You can bet the returning players have got it turned way up this summer. You better be ready to bring it in practice or you could find yourself buried on the bench. It may not look as pretty as people anticipate early, but watch when it starts to take shape (late December) The OSU swagger down here in Oklahoma is a bit more humble with the AW signing. Still, make no mistake about it, their deal is to stop the 9 year run and prevent it from becoming The Decade Run.

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Greg Lux 1 year, 3 months ago

Why can't we start basketball in June and finish in April. That would give everyone May to rest. I would vote for it, because this waiting is killing me this year. This team is going to be so fast its scary. I want to see us play NOW !!!!!

Rock Chalk

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