Sunday, November 10, 2013

Wiggins, Jayhawks eager for Blue Devils

Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins laughs with assistant coach Kurtis Townsend during an open-practice scrimmage on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins laughs with assistant coach Kurtis Townsend during an open-practice scrimmage on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas University freshman Andrew Wiggins on Tuesday will play his second game in the United Center, home of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.

The 6-foot-8 guard from Canada erupted for 19 points off 6-of-10 shooting in the East team’s 110-99 loss to the West in the 2013 McDonald’s All-America Game last April 3 in the Windy City.

“It was good. It’s a big place. It can hold a lot of people. It was fun to play in. The gym was cool,” said Wiggins, who will lead the Jayhawks against Jabari Parker-led Duke approximately 9 p.m. Tuesday in the NBA arena (capacity 20,917) in which Wiggins and fellow freshman phenom Parker figure to visit numerous times as pros the next 15 years or so.

Parker — the No. 4-rated player in the recruiting Class of 2013 by — scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the winning West squad in the McDonald’s game. KU freshman Wayne Selden also performed in the contest, scoring 13 points off 5-of-7 shooting as a teammate of Wiggins on the East.

“He is very diverse. He can do a lot of different things,” Wiggins, the No. 1-rated player in the Class of 2013, said of Parker, a 6-8, 235-pounder out of Chicago’s Simeon High. “He can score, dribble, pass. He’s an elite player. It’s always good going against players when you know they are good.

“I’m excited. Duke is a legendary team with a legendary coach. I’m looking forward to it. It should be a good match-up,” he added, referring to KU vs. Duke, not Wiggins vs. Parker.

“He’s a good player. He can shoot the ball. He’s pretty skilled. He’s good,” KU’s Selden said, chiming in on Parker, who also had 16 points in the East team’s 102-98 victory over Wiggins’ and Selden’s West squad in the 2013 Jordan Brand Classic last April in New York.

KU freshman center Joel Embiid scored four points with five blocks and seven boards in that contest. Embiid was a teammate of both Parker and Duke freshman guard Matt Jones (6-4, DeSoto, Texas), who had 14. Jones had four for the West in the McDonald’s game.

“I know Jabari and Matt Jones. I know them well,” Embiid said. “Jabari is one of the best players coming out of high school in my class last year. He’s really good.”

KU third-year sophomore Jamari Traylor, who attended Chicago’s Julian High before moving on to IMG Academies in Florida, played against Parker, “one time in high school. I was a junior, and he was a freshman. He was always a good player, a lot of potential,” added Traylor, who expects to guard Parker some Tuesday.

If recent practices are any indication, Wiggins and the rest of KU’s freshmen are looking forward to the match-up in the Champions Classic. Michigan State plays Kentucky in the opener at 6:30 p.m.

“All I’ve seen is guys going at it ... Wiggins getting on the floor, everybody showing a different kind of mind-set,” junior guard Naadir Tharpe said. “I think guys are starting to understand how important this game is going to be.”

Wiggins apparently has come a long way in a short time. In one of KU’s exhibition games, he elected to bend at the waist to pick up a loose ball rather than hit the deck.

“I feel like guys ... I wouldn’t say (have been) trying to be cool, but not really understanding what it really is here, understanding the people that came here, the people that played here,” Tharpe said of KU tradition that includes diving for loose balls. “You’ve got to show more than just going out there and shooting some hoops.

“At the beginning of the year, I felt he (Wiggins) was much more laid-back. He’s starting to understand he’s going to have to start doing more, start showing more. I feel everybody (nationally) is going to be against him. We are on his side. He has to prove to the world he is the best player.”

All of KU’s players will want to show well against Duke, KU coach Bill Self said.

“I would say Andrew is thinking about Duke, but he’s also thinking about Jabari and (Rodney) Hood,” Self said. “I bet they (Blue Devils) are thinking about Kansas, but also thinking about Wiggins and Selden. There’s probably a lot of that going on, a little bit of a young personal rivalry, which doesn’t mean much, but it’s natural to think like that.”

Self said “it’s a different deal” in playing a team like Duke than KU’s opening foe, Louisiana at Monroe.

“When you refer to certain players from certain teams you don’t ever get to watch on TV, you refer to them as numbers. We’re not going to refer to Duke’s guys as numbers. We’re going to refer to them as names. All our guys will definitely know who they are,” Self said.

The players may know each other from high school, but this is much different from a game on the prep level.

“I told ’em this is not going to be anything like playing in the McDonald’s game, the Jordan game, or any high school championship you played in,’” Tharpe said. “This is much more bigger than that. It’s much bigger to the school than anything.”

Recruiting: Cliff Alexander, a 6-8 senior forward from Chicago Curie High, attended KU’s women’s game against Oral Roberts on Sunday. He will sign with KU, Illinois, Memphis or DePaul on Friday on ESPNU. Alexander’s girlfriend, Caelynn Manning-Allen, is a KU freshman forward from Chicago Curie High. Wednesday is the first day of the early signing period.


Don Burgundy 8 years, 7 months ago

Gary, I read your article about KU getting spanked by Dook on Tuesday and wanted if you watched any of their exhibition games? They were struggling with a team by the name of Drury and ended up only winning by 16. Don't you think that since Davidson is known notoriously for playing "small ball" that Duke had a much better chance at beating them? I looked at the blue devil's roster and the only player they have taller than 6'9 is the 7 foot Plumlee brother who is slower than frozen pond water. And we all know Duke's best chance at winning is transition offense. Thoughts?

Doc Roach 8 years, 7 months ago

Exhibition means nothing due to coaches trying different lineups, personnel combos and such. What IS very alarming is when you look at box scores of other top teams...Duke, UK, Wichita State, they play very good field goal % defense and DO NOT foul, while drawing an enormous number of fouls due to using dribble drive. KU is just not there yet and I have a bad feeling heading into this game.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 7 months ago

Exhibition means nothing, but one thing to note...Drury is no slouch if you happened to watch that game between Duke/Drury. Drury is the defending DII National Champs and hung in with Duke for a half.

Duke outscored Drury by 20 points in the second half and completely wore down a Drury squad, which is what a team like Duke is suppose to do.

Having watched the Davidson/Duke game as well...Duke looked very impressive considering how experienced Davidson is. Davidson will be in the NCAA Tournament shattering someones dreams this year.

KU is bigger, but Duke may be quicker and better from the perimeter than KU. If KU can contain the perimeter and limit the number of uncontested 3 point attempts than KU will be in good shape.

John Fitzgerald 8 years, 7 months ago

I think you bring up a good point Don. Doesn't matter who you play, or how much you beat them by, as long as you win. Duke beat Davidson by 34 points, but they only beat a team that's supposed to be inferior to Davidson by 16. We beat our exhibition opponents by 40 and 18, then only beat ULM by 17. We won by double digits. In my book I call that a good win. And I keep saying this but Wiggins plays better with stronger competition. He thrives on a challenge and loves to hear people say "you can't" because he says "I will", and "he does" multiple times. I saw glimpses of him in the first 3 games playing like he should, and let me tell you, when he puts in full effort, watch out. He glides, he spins, he jumps, he floats, and he has a soft touch. The only thing he is missing is aggressiveness. Bill Self will teach him throughout the year how to impose his will on opponents and to be more aggressive, and that's when he will become lethal and his potential will explode. Wiggins is the real deal and it's just a matter of time until people start saying "oh yea, that's why he's the best player in the country." I can't tell you if we're gonna win or lose, but I can tell you I expect a good game. Whatever happens this is a great way to help these young guys grow. Here's to a great early matchup with Duke and hopefully seeing them in the dance. RCJH!!

Kevin Huffman 8 years, 7 months ago

We saw some of that from Ben at times last year too - i.e., ESPECIALLY the home game against Texas!!!

Ron Franklin 8 years, 7 months ago

The players match up well. The game decision will come down to a Coaching Duel and Free Throws.

Robert Brock 8 years, 7 months ago

I thought that our defense looked weak against ULM. The Hawks made countless mistakes. Better sharpen up or Dook will make us suffer.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago


1] Playing Duke early will provide a true measure for the players to believe exactly how right Bill is regarding their progress. Frankly, I will be surprised [but thrilled] if KU wins. No loss is good, but it can be a a productive learning experience.

2] HCBS, better decide who is going to be Cliff's roommate next year in The Towers.

3] Hawks..100% focus on every free throw...... each one is important. Aim for 75% plus.

4] My suggested strategy for the on every possession. It's still early in the season for applying the new rules and, besides, the refs will want a lot of face time on a national broadcast. I'll take the "over' at 55 total fouls and commercials at 100!!

5] Can someone tell me again why I thought it was such a bad idea to re-up on this site through facebook???? Renewing my posting has had zero negative effect on my life. :)

6] Poor Charlie..the KU Basketball Season starts and the football program becomes Claude Raines, [The Invisible Man].

7] Welcome to the Big Time, Naadir.....your first game as the starting floor leader is against Duke on the road!!

Robert Brock 8 years, 7 months ago

I don't have a Facebook account (I still have some pride). I registered my name etc in order to post.

Kevin Huffman 8 years, 7 months ago

Regarding No. "2]" - practically EVERYONE is predicting he (Cliff) goes to Illinois now.

Having said that, that could be a good sign for us getting either Okafor or Turner.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 7 months ago

Again, the number of points you beat a squad by should be in no way a component you measure a team against. With that said, having watched both Drury and Davidson games...Duke at this point of the season looks more seasoned, more polished, a little more in tune on what's being run offensively and defensviely.

KU definitely has a shot, but Tharpe not playing last game, being younger, less experience, and just for the simple fact Duke looks crisper right now....I would also give KU the underdog role.

I hope they use that as bulletin board material.

Remember...It's November 11th...You don't win Championships on November 12th. You lay the foundation.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 7 months ago

BMU/Chris -- I posted this yesterday. I think the experience thing is way overblown. Duke did look better in their opener, that's for sure.

Duke starts a freshman, two sophomores, a junior and a senior.

KU starts two freshmen, a sophomore, a junior and a senior.

The starters' experience level is nearly equal -- just the difference from a freshman to a sophomore.

In the first game, Duke's #1 minutes guy off the bench was a sophomore. Ours was too.

And Duke's second highest minutes guy off the bench was a freshman. Ours might be too.

Only two subs played double digit minutes for Duke -- a sophomore and a freshman.

There is no real experience difference here.

What I can't stand hearing from Self (already) is that we're young. Most of the real good teams are young. Our age and experience did not seem to help us beat a young Michigan team. So perhaps we can dispense with the "young" stuff right now.

Let's not get too ready for a spanking. When you anticipate a spanking, many times it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. And I'm not talking about the headline writer here.

We can beat Duke. They have no advantage on us. Our rotation is more talented. I expect a win in Chicago. We're the better team. Whether they beat Davidson by 5 or 35, it doesn't matter. Let's expect to kick their a**.

Evan Bilyeu 8 years, 7 months ago

To add on to that we might soon have a sophomore that can potentially start in Andrew White. He had 12 points off the bench last game. I think they will need to do their very best on defense if they want to win against duke. Offense will take care of itself if we can play D. I have been hearing the word "experience" every time people mention this game, and every one thinks duke is in favor of experience. I would love to see us win this, but to be honest I would rather see Wiggins put 30 points on the board and us lose by two then for Wiggins to score 10 points and us win by two, just because I want to see some consistency from him. I think since this is such a huge game he will see that in order to win this he will most likely need to put up big numbers. He didn't go off at the exhibition games and the season opener because there was no need for him to, he realizes that when he needs to take over a game in order to win, so excited for this game and hopefully we can pull off a win.

Lonnie Ross Dillon 8 years, 7 months ago

Maybe, but KU's Junior and Senior have exactly one game total within the KU system.

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 7 months ago

KU's Junior is named Naadir Tharpe. He has more experience at KU than any other scholarship player on the roster. Perhaps you've heard of him?

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

WOW!! Laura, what did you say to get bleeped!!??

Dennis Kalivoda 8 years, 7 months ago

I will be every surprised if KU wins this game.

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 7 months ago

I will be "every surprised" if KSU finishes above .500 this season...

Bob Thompson 8 years, 7 months ago

This site is not much fun since they changed. Might as well read the newspaper. Wonder how long it will be before the paper realizes this.

Ian Emerson 8 years, 7 months ago

What this game will come down too is how well duke shoots from the 3 point lane and how well they keep from fouling our big men. Free throw shooting excused because that's how it is every game. I think we are really going to get duke in foul trouble. I just don't see how they can match our depth inside. However if Duke rains 3s on us we better be ready to hit a few ourselves, this team can really shoot. We gotta prove it.

Doug Cramer 8 years, 7 months ago

Drury University = Division II school 3 miles down the road from my home in Springfield MO !

Bryce Landon 8 years, 7 months ago

Cliff Alexander's GF may play for the KU women's BBall team, but even so, trying to recruit him to the men's team with a women's game may not go over so well. The women's team just doesn't have the same drawing power as the men's team.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

Never underestimate The Power of Love!!!! - Huey Lewis and the News.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

Bryce, this was a non-official visit. In fact, I think it indicates just the opposite. Why go to the trouble of visiting KU on your own nickel if you're not going to be coming to KU for a full ride!!

Kevin Huffman 8 years, 7 months ago

***Um, maybe for a last chance to see your gf for a while?!?!?! Cliff's going to be real busy with h.s. basketball in the coming weeks to months now.

Kent Wells 8 years, 7 months ago

Much nicer than saying, I think he's here to get busy....

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 7 months ago

Have you seen the Gonzalez twins?--worth a look in every sense... But in all seriousness to the women's team, I watched them beat ORU on Sunday--> They are young, but are doing a lot of things well. They should have a good season. But more to your point, Bryce, I think if Cliff is going to support his girlfriend by going to one of her games, it would be much easier to keep that up if he also came to KU, I think. I hope.

Kent Wells 8 years, 7 months ago

It worked out great for Tyshawn Taylor (not so good for the Jayhawk though).

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 7 months ago

Kent, for whatever reason, I simply looked at Tyshawn+his LadyJayhawk girlfriend "on the Jayhawk" as simple college-type fun. Plus, with 2 actual KU players involved, it could be their own special story years from now. Now what Marcus Smart did "on the Jayhawk" was wrong, and he got his payback in Gallagher-Iba Arena, courtesy Keving Young...

Mark Wooden 8 years, 7 months ago

I would like to challenge the staff to not use Wiggins in any headline for the rest of the season. Its bad enough that Self is recruiting these one and dones but to have the attention overshadow the program as a whole is a bit hypocritical.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

Mark, not that I disagree with you but who do you think the pro scouts, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, etc. are coming to see..Naadir?... Perry?.....Jamari?

Right or wrong, Andrew is the most famous and most anticipated OAD to date and everything about KU Hoops to the outside world goes though him.

We Jayhawks know better but the LJW needs to let this happen for the long term viability of the Kansas program. OAD's are here to stay and to remain an elite program they are the coin of the realm.

Be patient, let the season play out and watch as the overall excellence of talent on this team makes it's present felt.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

PS Sorry..presence..although come March, it may be a BIG Present!!! :)

Terry N Tom Denner 8 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Wiggins,I was so excited to see a youngster coming down from Canada to play BB with the Jay Hawks. But now knowing u want to be a 1 and out type of player so u can make your millions in the NBA kind of sucks.You should have choose the SEC - Kentucky where u would not have to worry about your GPA. At Kentucky u could be flunking every class and still get all the playing time need to show off your talent !!

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