Thursday, August 1, 2013


Opinion: Among talented newcomers, Joel Embiid is KU’s X factor

Kansas center Joel Embiid laughs during warmups before a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at the Horejsi Center.

Kansas center Joel Embiid laughs during warmups before a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at the Horejsi Center.



Kansas center Joel Embiid laughs during warmups before a scrimmage on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at the Horejsi Center.

A certain amount of mystery always accompanies college athletes in their first seasons on campus. Even a recruiting class as accomplished as the one hauled in by basketball coach Bill Self comes with questions only performances in games against quality opponents can answer. Such as:

Will Andrew Wiggins display a soft-enough shooting touch to complement his explosive moves to the extent he leads the team in scoring?

Can Conner Frankamp defend well enough against much thicker, stronger players to earn significant playing time so that he can showcase his extraordinary range on such a pure jumper? Defensive readiness will also be the issue for how soon sweet-shooting Brannen Greene earns big minutes.

Will quick, strong pure point guard Frank Mason show enough confidence out of the chute to challenge Naadir Tharpe for the starting assignment? A year ago, the Michigan State game exposed freshman Perry Ellis as not yet ready to own a starting assignment.

Can’t think of any questions with Wayne Selden, an explosive 6-foot-4, 225-pound wing armed with a pure three-point touch, except the one that can be asked of any freshman: Will being surrounded by so much talent make him better, or will he struggle with not having everything revolve around him?

Interesting issues to monitor, all of them, but without question the most compelling development to watch will be that of center Joel Embiid, so remarkably talented and so very new to the game. He qualifies as this team’s X factor and the burning question boils down to this: Can Embiid — a smart, coordinated, naturally skilled athlete — progress in one season from a “See Jane run. Run, Jane, run” understanding of basketball enough to win battles against comparative Tolstoy scholars?

Nobody seems to doubt he one day he will make an exceptional NBA center, and that’s part of what makes the essential question about him so difficult to answer. His ceiling is so high that he will get picked extremely high in the draft as soon as he’s eligible, after his freshman season.

How high?

Rick Pitino, coach of defending national champion Louisville, said, “I think Kansas could have the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the draft with Wiggins and Embiid. (Embiid) does everything.”

But will he already be able to do it on the blocks, where most of his opponents will be shorter, but also more in tune with the sumo-wrestling moves required to establish position the way the game is played today?

A 7-foot, 250-pounder from Cameroon who played soccer and volleyball — oh, no, will the announcers mention the volleyball connection every time he blocks a shot, a la Jeff Withey? — Embiid was born to play basketball, he just didn’t know it until he took up the sport competitively just two years ago.

At a similar stage in his career, Hakeem Olajuwon (then spelling his first name Akeem) averaged 8.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 18.2 minutes per game for the University of Houston. Nice production for a red-shirt freshman and former soccer goalie who picked up basketball at 15. He quickly developed into one of the greatest centers in the history of the game. If Embiid could match Olajuwon’s freshman numbers, sometimes playing with senior Tarik Black, sometimes instead of him, that would portend future stardom for the friendly shot-blocker.

Embiid is fortunate to play at a school that qualifies as one of the best big-man camps on the planet because he competes against other quality post players daily, but he has so little experience.

Skilled and athletic, smooth and long-limbed, Embiid has all the qualities that one day could translate to greatness. Watching whether that day will come soon enough to help Kansas significantly qualifies as the most compelling aspect of this coming season, which is packed with fascinating story lines to track.


BainDread 9 years, 4 months ago

Cue RJ Cogburn begging for a football article...3....2....1.....

texashawk10 9 years, 4 months ago

There is another one today which makes it 4 articles in 3 days during a 2 week stretch where there is nothing going on in KU football right now.

Priest Fontaine 9 years, 4 months ago

Did Selden lose an inch? Players usually gain an inch at KU. Thought he'd easily be 6'6" by now ;)

Jim Erickson 9 years, 4 months ago

It's standard procedure to hit a second growth spurt as a college freshman. It's science.

Joe Joseph 9 years, 4 months ago

I'm going to be very sad if the bulk of this recruiting class doesn't stay together for at least two seasons. But it's true. Even a decent season and Embiid will probably be gone.

Jim Erickson 9 years, 4 months ago

Wiggens is a one and done for sure... My guess is that a big inexperienced guy like Embiid will be a 2-3 year project. Having Tharpe, Frankamp, Seldon, Ellis, and Embiid 2 years from now would be REALLY nice though!

Jim Erickson 9 years, 4 months ago

No... It's stupidity to be honest. With Selden this is a multiple offense situation!

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 4 months ago

I have to disagree. Embiid is not a project. Repeat, not a project. He will learn a lot this year in the college environment, but I saw him playing some of the best high school seniors in one of the best senior classes I've ever seen, and all he did was block shots, rebound, make free throws, outlet fast breaks, and shoot jumpers. Most of the competition he'll play against this year will be lucky if it is as good as the all-star types he played against this year.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 4 months ago

Before Wiggins came along, I was just salivating at the thought of the 2014-15 season. Tharpe, Perry, and other seasoned veterans leading the younger first and second year players. It could be Self's best team by far.

Greg Lux 9 years, 4 months ago

Damn the NBA and the players Union... Stop the nonsense and keep kids in school for at least 2 years... Most are not ready and the league is spending millions of dollars to draft on POTENTIAL. Sending players to the development league is just stupid when a year or two more of college would do the same thing and weed out those who will not reach the potential a lot cheaper... Wake up and stop the nonsense. Leave kids in school.

Rock Chalk

jaybate 9 years, 4 months ago

Tom asks more questions than a soap opera.

Remember soap operas?

Did their sudden mass extinction signal the end of America as we knew it?

Has any society lost so many hours of entertainment so suddenly and not descended into barbarism?

Can a society produce great movie actors without an entertainment D League like the soaps?

Can the Internet and reality TV make us get better?

Or will Joel Embiid be gone before then?

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 4 months ago

Tune in next week to find out...

Like sand through the hour-glass, these are the days of our lives.

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

Hello Jaybate!.......Also........notice that there are no more good war movies like when were growing up. Hollywood doesn't seem interested.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

Wait a minute now! Every generation has had great war movies. Even if you just count the Hollywood ones. You should see some of these. I’m assuming you haven’t.

The Hurt Locker ‘08

Valkyrie ‘08

The Last Samurai ‘03

Enemy at the Gates ‘01

Black Hawk Down ‘01

Saving Private Ryan ’98 (Maybe the best ever!)

The Thin Red Line ‘98

Braveheart ‘95

Schindler’s List ‘93

Old school:

Full Metal Jacket ‘87

Platoon ‘86

Apocalypse Now ‘79

But I’m assuming you mean this old:


Tora Tora Tora

The Dirty Dozen

Paths of Glory

The Bridge on the River Kwai

Oh wait. Are you “All Quiet on the Western Front” old? :-)

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 4 months ago

great list, especially from the 90's and on, but you left off a couple of my favorite classics. The Devil's Brigade and Midway

Robert Murphy 9 years, 4 months ago

You forgot "Born on the Fourth of July", a must see.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 4 months ago

My favorite war movie is "To end all wars". It's the truer version of Bridge on the River Kwai. Very good movie.

actorman 9 years, 4 months ago

Excellent list. And don't forget the incomparable Band of Brothers miniseries, as well as the excellent miniseries The Pacific.

brooksmd 9 years, 4 months ago

It was a HBO production, but Band of Brothers was great also. And if you ever get to New Orleans definitely visit the World War II museum. Fantastic.

brooksmd 9 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, didn't see actorman's post on Band of Brothers. Thumbs up for Pacific. Geez what those guys went through.

ku_foaf 9 years, 4 months ago

I have seen 4/5 "Old", all "Old School," and five of the later... all great movies!

Enemy at the Gates was fantastic - good story line and based on a true story! I believe the part where he said, "If you don't have a gun, follow the guy with the gun. If he gets killed, pick up the gun and start shooting!" is pretty close to reality.

Most of all, it shows just how fierce and determined the Russians were. They would not accept defeat, despite the massive losses. Fifty percent of all 40M deaths in WWII were Russians.

I have heard people from Vietnam say that ending sniper scene in "Full Metal Jacket" was played out over and over. Another group that simply would not be defeated at any cost.

Funny that we share so much with foreign enemies - neither would tolerate foreign invaders or foreign rule!

JayhawkRock78 9 years, 4 months ago

KG Nice list. Please add Von Ryan's Express & The Great Escape.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

I left out so many. The Deer Hunter is right up there. It was so disturbing to me though that, personally, I almost consider it a horror film. I never really wanted to go back and watch it. It just bothered me so much.

Jim Erickson 9 years, 4 months ago

This won't be a popular comment, but I think it's a perspective that needs to be considered. Joel Embiid has long term project written all over him. He looks like a guy that will be a big time center, especially defensively, but that doesn't mean he will be stellar as a freshman. He has been playing basketball for a very short time and big men rarely make big impacts as freshman for Self.

If he can come in an be a solid player as a freshman then I'll be thrilled. I expect huge things immediately out of Ellis, Wiggens, and Tharpe. Seldon looks a bit more polished and may hit the ground running. I see Joel Embiid taking time just like Aldrich, the Morris Twins, Withey, Robinson, Kaun, and the list goes on. If Embiid is a rotation guy that averages 5 points and 4 rebounds a game this year then we need to be fine with that.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 4 months ago

We just never know with the Freshmen. A year ago I, like most of us here, believed White, Adams, and Perry would be stud freshmen. 1/2 out of three on that with Perry's late season coming out party.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 4 months ago

None of those guys were top 10 ranked (in a stacked class) HS players.

We'll be lucky to have a second year with Joel.

Evan Bilyeu 9 years, 4 months ago

I totally understand what you're saying but, with all the OAD's that happen I am not sure how things will unravel. He would be a huge center if he stayed for a few years.

Preston Dwiggins 9 years, 4 months ago

For the love of basketball, it's "WIGGINS". Let's get the #1 recruit (Jayhawk) correct please. Thanks.

actorman 9 years, 4 months ago

And it wouldn't hurt to spell Selden's name correctly too. C'mon, Cairo, your posts are so good in other ways, but you've got to spell the names of KU's players correctly!

Jim Erickson 9 years, 4 months ago

Ah schucks.... The sad part is part of my job is being paid to write! Wiggins... First time, let me off easy. Selden... This is number 2. Some deep reflection and life change is in order!

ku_foaf 9 years, 4 months ago

As we know, the NBA drafts on potential. Everyone agrees his potential is high.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 4 months ago

The NBA will snatch him up long before that. With Embiid, you're not dealing with the present but the future, and there have been scores of players drafted early without his potential. He is not a project. He is not a project. If you watched those all-star games like I did, you saw him block every player in the gym including Randall, Wiggins, and Parker. He's not ready for the NBA, but the NBA won't wait.

Jim Erickson 9 years, 4 months ago

Another comment on Embiid... With his talent and size, I see him having one impact year before he goes top 5 in the draft. He has major talent, upside, and a perfect body for a center and guys like that don't stick around. I don't see it being year one (I'd be thrilled if it did) but I do see him being a force at some point as a Jayhawk.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 4 months ago

The problem for us could be that even if Embiid is a 12-15 mpg role player and produces 5 points 4 rebounds and 2 blocks a game, he still could be an NBA lottery pick after ONE season, because he has the NBA frame and the scouts have been drooling over his upside.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 4 months ago

Someone a few months ago (probably 'bate) coined the term "premature draftjaculation" to describe the reason why NBA execs who are so captivated by his size, athleticism, and his raw tools wouldn't be able to resist taking Embiid in the draft 1 or 2 years before he's actually ready to play in the NBA.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 4 months ago

Something tells me that Embiid this year for us is a lot like Cauley-Stein for UK last year. COULD'VE gone early, but I also have a hard time seeing him leave early.

AND like Cauley-Stein where now he'll play back-up to Dakari Johnson....the same could STILL hold true for Embiid if the 'hawks land Cl. Alexander or J. Okafor.

Alex Peekeaton 9 years, 4 months ago

Cauley-Stein is UK's starting center with Dakari backing him up to start the season.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 4 months ago

Cauley-Stein was the #9 C and #40 overall in a weaker class. Maybe there is a little difference between the 2.

Brian Conrad 9 years, 4 months ago

Cauley-Stein completely different player with WAY less upside .

jhox 9 years, 4 months ago

The NBA is all about potential, and he may have the highest ceiling of anyone in the draft, including Wiggins. The NBA guys will be whispering in his ear, you can bank on that. I just hope he's not short sighted and realizes two years of college ball, to develop his game, will pay long term dividends.

Brianna Zaleski 9 years, 4 months ago

: Can Embiid — a smart, coordinated, naturally skilled athlete — progress in one season from a “See Jane run. Run, Jane, run” understanding of basketball enough to win battles against comparative Tolstoy scholars?


It's either too early and that one flew straight over my head, or Keegs has been hanging out in the Lawrence coffee shops too long... Keegs, put down the triple mocha, close your laptop and go home. That 130lb, wafer thin, philosophy graduate assistant is not who you should be getting input from for your columns!

Dirk Medema 9 years, 4 months ago

It's too early, and that is a 1920's bi-plane that is missing a cylinder.

Robin Smith 9 years, 4 months ago

It's a clunker but at least it aspires to be more :-)

actorman 9 years, 4 months ago

It may be awkwardly worded, but what exactly is complicated about it??? He's asking whether Embiid will be able to adjust from a basic understanding of basketball to being able to compete against top D1 players, who understand the nuances. Perhaps the problem is that the "See Jane run" reference is more up your alley in general, ZIG.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 4 months ago

ZIG, you're critically analyzing a sports writer. Stop and think about that for a minute.

Hawk8086 9 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately for us, the NBA drafts players based on potential. Embiid could have one year where he plays 20 min. or so per game, has decent numbers (as mentioned in the article) and become a lottery pick based on potential.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 4 months ago

Yes, Wiggins will display the soft touch. No, Frankamp will not be able to stay on the floor and guard. No, Greene will not earn BIG minutes. No, Frank Mason needs a year in the system to develop the confidence to run this team. Yes, Selden will fit right in, and Embiid will be gone after one. Ellis and Wiggins will average 14 ppg, and the Hi Low is going to operate like a smooth criminal this year. Naa’ is going to prove that he has matured like “a 40 year old Man” a la Gundy; he’ll handle it. And Self will guide them to Title IX.

Pet Peeve/SoapBoxtime: I realize they have only provided the spelling of their names around 250 times each since March, but just in case you missed it. It’s Selden and Wiggins. Not Seldon and not Wiggens. How about just enough courtesy to spell their names correctly? I would expect this from a Missouri or Kentucky grad, but not a Jayhawk.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 4 months ago

Wow that's a lot of predictions! Are you saying Ellis and Wiggins will combine for 14 or they'll each average 14? The latter would be a great scenario if true. As per the Selden and Wiggins spelling, get used to it. We've been butchering these guys names ever since Kirk Heinrick, uh Hinreich, darn it Hinrich, well you know who played in AFH.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 4 months ago

Hypsters say you are worth millions. NBA execs believe hypsters. NBA execs pay you millions. You go.

jhox 9 years, 4 months ago

Just wait until you see his size, coordination and athleticism. Then you'll understand why that's likely.

It's interesting that people think Kentucky's incoming class is the greatest ever. Until we landed Wiggins, i probably believed that as well. Honest to God, there is no way I would trade this KU class for their class now that we have Wiggins to go with Selden and Embiid. On chemistry alone I like our class much better.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 4 months ago

Agreed. No hype needed. Just $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Ted Hume 9 years, 4 months ago

wow, Blown, i can't quite believe it, but think i have to agree with the predictions line for line, except for one tiny change: Ellis and Wiggins will average 15/16 ppg.


jhox 9 years, 4 months ago

I'm still not sold on Tharp, and while I agree Frankamp will struggle to defend the way Self will demand, his offensive ability is such that he will be hard to keep off the floor. I've not seen enough of Greene to have an opinion. Otherwise I pretty much agree too.

Evan Bilyeu 9 years, 4 months ago

You really think Wiggins will only average 14 ppg?? Thomas Robinson averaged 17.7 ppg in his junior year, Nick Collison (All time great) averaged 18.5 ppg. This kid that is supposed to be the "Next Best" in the NBA. He is going to average 20 ppg.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 4 months ago

Hey Chalk, thanks for the reply. I"m not making an assessment based on what people say about Wiggins. My guesses are based on the offensive scheme, how many shots he is going to get, and the production potential of his 'mates. I'm predicting this team to have balance similar to the 08 team. The two examples you provided: Robinson was the only consistent scoring option we had, and Collisons points came from outstanding footwork, including his ability to grab rebounds and get bunny putbacks. Wiggins likely isn't going to get the shots per game that Robinson did, and he'll rebound 3-4 less than Collison did as a senior, and less putback opps. Danny put up 14.6 his freshman year. He was a #1 pick. McLemore was the main scoring option last year and put up 15.9. I'm just not seeing Wiggins putting up this many shots. He is humble and reserved, and if he takes 15 shots a game, sure he'll get 20ppg this season. I just don't see him out of the 14-16 range, and so I went with 14 to stay on the low side.

Evan Bilyeu 9 years, 4 months ago

Yeah I understand. But I feel like everyone is going to try to feed him the ball a lot and see what he does with it because they are going to be looking for him in most plays.

REHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

If JoJo is not a "guaranteed" top 3 lottery selection, I think he should stick with Self and Co. until he is. The moment I watched him send Kentuckys vunderlug Randall reeling into the first row of seats, I figured that summertime pro scouts would be licking their chops.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, I'd be suprised if he went any higher than 4th - 1) A. Wiggins, 2) Ju. Randle, 3) An. Harrison.....then MAYBE 4) Embiid. But if he stuck around another year he might be No. 1. Would be cool to have back-to-back No. 1's!!! :)

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 4 months ago

For my money, well no for someone else's money, I would pick Jabari Parker third. That kid has that intangible game that would make him a #1 kid more years than not.

Boouk 9 years, 4 months ago

I think PG play is this teams X-factor. Embiid will be a top 5 pick in the 2015 draft after breaking out his Sophmore season.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 4 months ago

And having the Number One and Number Two drafted players be Jayhawks is bad for recruiting WHY??????

I know that losing this talent will hurt but look at what it will do for the mindset of every high school senior, junior and sophomore basketball stud out there. We could become K"OAD"U without the cheating and rap stars!!!

Think of a bevy of new high school studs coming in every year mixed with a balance of 3/4 year guys. Self & Company could have Final Four teams for years!!

I know, I's not the KU way but you know what??!! I used to be able to work on my own there's no friggin' way. This sport is changing, so why not grab the lead wave and beat everybody to the beach???!!!!

Kurt Eskilson 9 years, 4 months ago

Agreed on all counts! I can't even find the water pump or alternator anymore … much less replace them like I used to.

brooksmd 9 years, 4 months ago

Hint: They turned the motor sideways so look on the passenger side of the motor down underneath that big plastic shroud thingie.

kennethst 9 years, 4 months ago

I'm just a tad bit excited for this season. Anyone else?

PS-The joys of combining parenthood and Jayhawks. .......Tonight......My 3 year old little angel has invited me to the outside patio for dinner with Winnie-the -Pooh, Eyeore,her stuffed baby Jayhawk and "big" Jayhawk. ......Should be a lively conversation with such distinguished guests!

Evan Bilyeu 9 years, 4 months ago

A little bit. Can't even go a night without dreaming of this upcoming season.

Judy Culbertson 9 years, 4 months ago

Did Tyler Self sign with the Miami Heat? I see that he is no longer listed on the KU Sports roster. How many can be on the roster? Thanks.

BucknellJayhawk3 9 years, 4 months ago

Question about recruiting: looks like we are recruiting like 15 of the top 20 prospects and we've given offers to a lot of them. We may only have 2-3 scholarships free next year, does this mean we rescind our offer on any of the recruits or is it first come first serve?

Dirk Medema 9 years, 4 months ago

First come, first served.

Everyone but Roy (1990's) Williams over-recruits, because most players that you offer will go elsewhere.

With a monster NC year, there could be 5 gone from this team - Black, Wiggins, Ellis, Embiid, Selden.

Brandon Deines 9 years, 4 months ago

Dear Kansas fans:

KU's starting 2 guard this year will be Wayne Selden. Please note the spelling of his last name. There is not an "o" in his name. It is Selden, NOT Seldon. For the love of god, please figure this out.



JBobKU 9 years, 4 months ago

A lot of peopel seem to seldem get it right.

Evan Bilyeu 9 years, 4 months ago

Is it really something to make a big comment about? Since you are such the expert maybe you should be writing the articles.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 4 months ago


God should be capitalized.

Brandon Deines 9 years, 4 months ago

Different god than the one you're thinking of.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 4 months ago

I hope Seldon's better than Josh Shelby was.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 4 months ago

I hope that he can at least pick up where Travis Relaford left off.

texashawk10 9 years, 4 months ago

I also hope that Ben McClemore does a good job with the Kings and Charlie Weiss can be an FBS team this year.

FearlessJayhawk 9 years, 4 months ago

It's quite possible that KU could have three lottery picks next year, Embiid, Selden and Wiggins.

justanotherfan 9 years, 4 months ago

The cutoff for Embiid being a lottery pick is pretty simple - 12 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks. If he puts up those numbers, he's a definite lottery pick. If he backs that off in points, but adds a couple rebounds (say, 9 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks), he's still a lottery pick because being an exceptional rebounder/ defender is worth a ton.

And that's the thing. Embiid isn't going to be expected to be a great offensive player, even at the next level. He has some basic moves and a decent jumpshot, but that's not why he's going to make a ton of money as a pro. His shot blocking, mobility and rebounding is why he's going to play 12 or more years in the NBA if he stays healthy.

He can do that now. I fully expect to enjoy Embiid's one year of double figure rebounds and 3-4 blocks every night, then applaud him for being a top 5 NBA draft pick, reload next year at KU and start the whole process over again.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 4 months ago

Those numbers aren't happening next season.

REHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

I would imagine that JoJo's season averages won't be mindblowing. But if he puts up decent league stats, then shines in tournament play, it stands to reason that we could lose him. Once he learns Kansas Basketball, I look for him to become a stellar performer. Hard to imagine that happening on the collegiate level, as a OAD. In summer tournament play with and vs. the best recruits in the nation, he held his own...which was spectacular for even a very gifted 7' athlete who has played organized ball only a couple of seasons. But if he is patient, allowing the game to come to him (while his body and mind continue to develop), he looks to be a future major force for a lucky NBA team. Two seasons in Lawrence could really benefit his future success and cumulative earnings. I'd say that Pitino's prediction for Embiid to be the #2 NBA lottery pick next spring was a tongue in cheek dig at his neighbor Calipari's program.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 4 months ago

Agree with you slayr. Unfortunately for most players these days it comes down to two questions. Where will I be drafted, and how much does that spot pay out on a three year contract. The entire college game has changed before our eyes this past decade. On one hand, I am a proponent of striking while the irons hot, but I am also a very big picture oriented person and have many of the same concerns that you have shared. I'm on board with change, so I can enjoy it instead of fighting it.

Adam James 9 years, 4 months ago

Selden will lead this team in scoring and he will be Big 12 Freshman of the Year. There is a good possibility he might even be National Freshman of the Year. He will be a little out of control at times, but wait and watch how much of an impact he is going to have on this team. Not just from an offensive standpoint, but the defensive end as well. RCJH!!

Mike Barnhart 9 years, 4 months ago

Why are so many of you guys not "buying in" on Wiggins? If he's truly Durrant-esque then; yes, he'll score at least 18 points a game and yes, he'll lead the team in scoring and yes, he'll be national player of the year and yes, he'll be the first pick of the 2014 draft!

Evan Bilyeu 9 years, 4 months ago

I 100% agree on you jhok. No one is taking the hype seriously. I think that we are all afraid of him ending up like Josh Selby that we are not realizing how gifted this kid really is! Selden will be a piece of work and I think he will average about 14 ppg but I think Wiggins will average 20 ppg.

Mike Barnhart 9 years, 4 months ago

Compared to other "number one's" he's not Luke Hochevar, Josh Selby or JaMarcus Russell... he's Andrew freaking Luck!

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 4 months ago

Agreed. I think what bragill1978 says is true......for 2014/15!!!

texashawk10 9 years, 4 months ago

How's a sophomore going to win Freshman of the Year?

justanotherfan 9 years, 4 months ago

I am completely buying on Wiggins. He's going to be a monster. However, I think he will post crazy numbers across the board (not necessarily as a scorer). Selden will score a bunch. Not that he won't contribute in other ways, but he's going to put the ball in the basket.

I'd imagine Wiggins will have something like 14 points, 8 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks. Just sick across the board numbers.

Selden will do a more normal 16 points, 4 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals.

Tharpe will have like 7 or 8 assists a night, but may not crack double figures in points in more than a handful of games.

Ellis will be in double figures in points, but his rebounds will be down as JoJo and Wiggins grab 8+ each night and Black and Co. grab quite a few off the bench.

This team could be very special, and they don't need Wiggins to score 18+ points to do it, but they probably do need him to do a bit of everything.

Dillon Hayes 9 years, 4 months ago

I think Frankamp can pull off a quick 10ppg off the bench.

justanotherfan 9 years, 4 months ago

I'm not sure Frankamp will play enough to get 10ppg. I think there will be a couple of games where he puts up a bunch of points in a hurry because he's such a tremendous shooter, but I just don't know where he fits in the rotation night in and night out, or where his shots will come from, because he shouldn't take shots away from Wiggins, Selden, Ellis and the guys inside that will need their touches.

Michael Luby 9 years, 4 months ago

Actually Jaybate said something earlier about Wiggins' ability to shoot treys this year could be just as big a question and just as crucial to our season. I tend to agree with that line of thought.
Personally I hope Naa, Wigs and Selden both can shoot the 3 at around 38-40%, knock down their FT's with consistency, that JoJo has a great season at KU but isn't ready to jump to the League after we win our 10th straight Big 12 title and our 4th NCAA Crown.

Evan Bilyeu 9 years, 4 months ago

I have seen a lot of clips of Tharpe over the summer and his camp games+ games in Chicago. He looks like he has gotten LOADS better from the three point line.

TexiCaliHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Obviously, I'm ecstatic we signed Wiggins and believe he will indeed live up to the 'hype'; however, after watching the Mickey D's game, I am feeling great about Selden as he appears to be so confident (a la Marcus Smart) which will help our 'young guns' adjust from the high school to college game.

I haven't seen enough tape on Embiid to make an informed comment as this point -- and not to generalize -- but if he can play a similar role to what Niang did for Louisville, that may be enough for us this year. I was a bit skeptical of us signing Black (mostly given his lack of FT shooting and seeming regression at Memphis); however, it sounds like he is a beast who is highly motivated to make this year count.

Finally, I do believe Tharpe will have progressed to the 'point' where he can run/lead the team, but I am very intrigued by the many weapons he will have at his disposal . . . trey-ball potential of both Frankamp and Greene (and maybe AWIII) to complement the athleticism and slashing potential of Wiggins and Selden as well as low block post-up potential of Ellis and Black (and maybe Embiid).

Who else has that type of versatility on Offense? So, despite all of Keegan's many questions posed above, really the only major question in my mind is whether HCBS can get this collection of 5-Star 'talent' to play together as a TEAM -- specifically, on Defense which has been a hallmark of our success over the past 10 years.

While I'm not a betting man, I would be tempted to wager that HCBS will indeed obtain the necessary 'buy-in' from the TEAM to mold themselves into a top flight Defensive team to match their incredible Offensive skill sets by the time March rolls around. At KU, Defense always starts our Offense -- getting us into transition and easy buckets that fuel the big 16-2 runs we have become famous for.

Bring on 'Boot Camp' and then let the SHOW begin!

Evan Bilyeu 9 years, 4 months ago

I believe Selden should have been ranked a lot higher than he was because he is very athletic, has range, built for NBA, and can dunk/ get to the basket.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 4 months ago

Black's decline last year was psychological - he was pissed at the staff. His game has not slipped. I expect him to be a monster this year.

KULA 9 years, 4 months ago

I suspect Bill will severely limit Embild's minutes, judging him to be too raw. After one season of playing less than 8 min/game, the NBA, recognizing his talent, will draft him as a lottery pick.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 4 months ago

Hmmmm .. so, that means Traylor or Lucas plays ahead Embiid?

Say it ain't so.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 4 months ago

good point. Ellis likely plays 30 minutes a game. Black, not more than 25. That leaves 25 available post minutes per game. Personally I think that Black and Embiid both can be penciled in for about 18 to 20 mpg which leaves a total of up to 12 minutes for Traylor/Lucas.

Hawk8086 9 years, 4 months ago


I think that is a resonable prediction.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

I think we are sleeping on Traylor a little. He’s coming into his 3rd season with Bill and he started developing some post moves and hitting his free throws near the end of the season, to go with his crazy athleticism. He was a project too. A shorter Embiid, of sorts. It may not happen, but he could explode at any time.

Wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Traylor and Lucas getting good minutes while Embiid gets his feet wet.

wrwlumpy 9 years, 4 months ago

Speaking of Lucas, He has been Hudyized and has the big butt to set picks, "ala Ed Nealy" the K-Stater that played in the league for 12 years. He has been coached in the system a year and has gone against Traylor, Ellis and Jeff. He won't hurt us while he's in the game.

KULA 9 years, 4 months ago

No, Bill will probably find some "Brady-like" player to throw minutes at.

Ryan Patti 9 years, 4 months ago

You can't say Embiid is an x-factor when he might not even start next year over Tarik Black. Also, Embiid has only played 3 YEARS OF BASKETBALL IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE. He will be staying at KU for 3-4 years to develop his game on both sides of the ball, so he is not only a shot-blocker. I love Embiid, like he is a beast, but he is not the x-factor especially with Wiggins and Selden on the team. He will be in the future though. Mark my word.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 4 months ago

Future = Jan - April 2014

There is a reason he went from unknown to #6 in 6 months. If we're unlucky, he won't be drafted in 2014.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 4 months ago

Embiid stays if we have a frustrating end to the season with him not producing, and he feels a need to redeem himself. If he and the others develop, we lose 5 to the draft again - and 3 or 4 to the lottery/first round.

REHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Well, if we win the whole shooting match, then tough poison to swallow, watching a mass exodus of players to the League. However, if it happens, maybe Bill and Co. can reload with another promising crew. Does not seem likely that he could soon land another Wiggins, but most of us are still amazed at what our recruiting staff has landed this season. Several topnotch high school seniors appear to have us on their short or long lists. So....

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 4 months ago

I couldn't disagree more. The NBA knows who he is, and none of what you say matters more than that. They aren't waiting. They never do. I've marked your word. Now mark mine.

KJD 9 years, 4 months ago

"See Big Blue Nation suck on it? Suck on it Big Blue Nation, suck." - Rick Pitino

For fun Pitino is poking Big Blue Nation in their collective eye hole with this Embiid comment just to rain on their 'best recruiting class ever' boasting parade. Whenever I read that Pitino quote about Embiid, this center has everything, and that Kansas has the top two picks in next years NBA draft, I can't help but think that he's saying it just to take some shine off of what he is hearing, I'm guessing fairly frequently in one way or the other, about Kentucky having the best recruiting class ever ever ever. Maybe this has been chatted about already on these boards though it feels a little less about Embiid to me–though he is indeed a big time talent with huge upside– than Rick is adding onto his swirly that he put on his former school: Wildcats have worse season since the Sutton Years (or perhaps Rick's first year), Rick wins it all with in-state rival Louisville (Louisville! The traitor!!), Rick thinks that KU has a better class this year than UK, at least he thinks they have the best two NBA prospects, so Big Blue can suck on that too.

Jeffrey Nelson 9 years, 4 months ago

THE most compelling storyline? Maybe. It's either that or Wiggins, but you never know until the story is told.

AZHawk72 9 years, 4 months ago

This has to be one of Coach Self's toughest coaching years to date. Yeah, there's talent, but most of it is raw. Yeah, there's depth, but how does he keep all these guys happy with playing time. Sure, Embiid will get playing time because Black has a history of foul issues. While it's good to see Tharpe nailing some three balls, I hope we don't need him to do so given the supporting cast.

I'm not trying to be negative, but I think this year may hinge more on the development of Mason and Greene than those more frequently mentioned. And I can't wait to see Selden guarding Smart. With both loving to drive more than a NYC cabbie, every possession will resemble rush hour.

Tharpe needs to work on keeping his man in front of him more than drilling threes.

Michael Luby 9 years, 4 months ago

yah me too. Cant wait to see Selden guard Smart. Also Smart trying and failing to guard Wigs.

Hawklin 9 years, 4 months ago

How about the fact JoJo, along with Selden and Perry are at Adidas nations????? Stop regurgitating online articles and do your own work. The most hyped KU basketball team is right down the street. Try to follow along.

John Fitzgerald 9 years, 4 months ago

Embiid will have an immediate impact and likely only be around one year. The reason I say this is he has more natural athletic ability than the other bigs we've had and he doesn't have as much competition ahead of him on the lineup. Black was a big pickup for us, but mainly to help train Embiid. If he can put on some muscle, play strong defense, and move his feet quick then he's going to be a starter. This guy only has an upside to him and as the year progresses he will turn into a star. I honestly think he has the potential to be compared to Anthony Davis.

Robert Brock 9 years, 4 months ago

We hear that Embiid can rebound and play some defense (block shots). Can Embiid provide anything on offense? I'm going to guess that he won't as a freshman.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.