It is only July but Kansas seems to be getting more and more hype as basketball season gets closer.
Yesterday, ESPN had a blog with the country’s “most indispensable” college basketball player. The list included Doug McDermott, Marcus Smart, Mitch McGary and…. Andrew Wiggins.
1. Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) — Let me explain, OK? I know Kansas would be fine without the No. 1 recruit in America. Even if Wiggins had taken his talents to Lexington or Tallahassee, the Jayhawks would have still been relevant in the Big 12. They have Perry Ellis, Memphis transfer Tarik Black and a solid recruiting class. Plus, Bill Self has won nine consecutive conference titles. But the only reason we’re talking about Kansas as a potential national title contender, despite losing two pros (Jeff Withey, Ben McLemore) and three other starters (Travis Releford, Elijah Johnson and Kevin Young), is because Wiggins is in Lawrence. No high school recruit has ever arrived with this much hype. He might not live up to it. If he does, however, it’ll be easy to see why he’s so indispensable.
Pretty nice praise from the Worldwide Leader.
Additionally, Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy wrote a flattering piece about Bill Self and the “most athletic team” Self has ever had at Kansas.
Some interesting notes from the piece:
- “This is without question the most athletic team we’ve had,” said Self.
- KU is starting over with players who accounted for 2.7 percent of last season’s starts. “Perry, without question, even though he didn’t start, in my mind he’s the equivalent of a starter,” Self said. “But with all that being said, it’s still the youngest team that we’ve had.”
- On Joel Embiid: “When we recruited him, I thought he had a chance to be pretty good. And then we watched him with his high school team and thought he had a chance to be real good,” Self said. “And then after coaching him for a while … he’s just so young in the game, but I think he’s got a chance to be one of the best big guys I’ve ever been around. He’s just got it. He just doesn’t know how to do it yet.”
- “Naadir and Frank Mason and Conner Frankamp, they’re all guys definitely better than what I’ve thought, but still a long way to go to run a team, to being the primary guy,” Self said. “There’s definitely competition there. Mason’s going to put pressure on everybody to be better. He wants it so bad … Our workouts have been so competitive.”
- The abundance of athleticism, which includes freshman wings Wayne Selden and Brannen Greene, will allow KU to play a more ferocious defensive style. “I think we’ve got to defensively do things to pressure more because for the first time in years we can actually pressure the ball,” Self said. “We’ve got wings that can run through passes. I think we’ll have to do more stuff fullcourt.”“And then also, we haven’t played any zone, but I think we can have an unbelievable zone team. I’m not saying we’ll do that a lot. I definitely want to investigate it.”
And the best part of the article…
“I don’t think this team, I would say, would win more games. But just as far as having bodies and active guys …” Self said. “We should be a fun team.”
The 2013-14 season is going to be really fun.