Postgame Wrap Up: Pittsburgh State

Before Tuesday’s game, I had a few questions for the Kansas Jayhawks and how they would perform. Here’s what I saw and reflected on:

  • Can Andrew Wiggins shake off his jitters for his first ever game in Allen Fieldhouse?
    • Short answer: Yes. Andrew Wiggins didn’t hit a field goal until midway through the first half. His first possession of the game was a travel. But guess what? He still played great. When his offense wasn’t going for him, he played great defense. Following his first turnover, he blocked a shot down in the post. Later on the first half, he blocked an opponent’s three point shot. After clearly struggling offensively in the first 10 minutes, he settled down and scored 16 points. Wiggins missed all three of his 3-point attempts. If he hits two of those, we’re talking about a great performance. Wiggins had a “quiet” 16 points and I’m guessing we’ll see a lot of those. Which is fine… Ben McLemore did that a lot last year. 
  • Will Wiggins be the leading scorer? Will he score more than 15 points against a clearly inferior team?
    • Wiggins and Ellis both scored 16 points. Wiggins took the most shots and only Andrew and Ellis took more than field goal attempts. 
  • Who will emerge as the second-leading scorer? Will it be Perry Ellis, Wayne Selden or someone else?
    • After Ellis and Wiggins, Andrew White III had 12 points to lead the Jayhawks. 
  • After Naadir Tharpe, which guard will emerge as the back-up? Frank Mason, Conner Frankamp or the dark-horse: Wayne Selden?
    • Frank Mason clearly stood out as the best point guard option behind Tharpe. Which isn’t saying much because Frankamp didn’t play very well (0-for-3). Mason will get the first start of the regular season with this team. Hopefully, he can work out his problems in the next exhibition. 
  • Bill Self said that Tharpe, Selden, Wiggins, Ellis, Black, White, Traylor and Embiid have stood out to him as the top eight players on the team. Who emerges as the ninth man in this rotation?
    • After these eight, Frank Mason, Brannen Greene and Landen Lucas got the most minutes (in that order). However, Self had to play Mason a lot tonight because Mason is starting against Louisiana-Monroe. Greene looked incredibly smooth and he hit his shots. I don’t think Greene redshirts at this point. He’s just too good and he may be needed off the bench (we’ll discuss this later). 
  • Will Jamari Traylor really have an important role on this team?
    • Short answer: Yes. Traylor had 6 points and 5 rebounds in 13 minutes. He was incredibly efficient. He’ll be a great option on this team if Embiid, Ellis or Black get into foul trouble. 
  • Does Andrew White’s practice success translate into KU’s best guard coming off the bench?
    • White was the first guard off the bench tonight. He delivered. He had 12 points in 15 minutes, hit 2-of-3 three-pointers and grabbed four rebounds. 
  • Will the rules changes actually affect the game as we know it?
    • Let’s see…61 free throws, 50 foul calls. There was hardly any flow and the game lasted a long time. The game ended at 9:17. That’s too long. It’s unfortunate now but KU will eventually benefit from it.  Kansas has depth so they can afford to rack up fouls. Other teams don’t have that luxury. Like I said before, Greene will be valuable if Wiggins or Selden gets into foul trouble. 

A few notes:

  • Wiggins was No. 6 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays for his alley-oop dunk. He joined former Jayhawk Xavier Henry in the SCTop10 (No. 8).
  • Naadir Tharpe will miss KU’s first game against Louisiana-Monroe. Tharpe illegally participated in a scrimmage (along with Jamari Traylor) in Chicago over the summer. Kansas self-reported and self-punished themselves.
    • “He played in it, (and) he wasn’t allowed to play in it, because it wasn’t from here and it wasn’t from his own area,” Self told the media on Tuesday night. “So he goes up there to hang out with ‘Mari, and he plays in one summer-league game. So we self-reported that, because he didn’t get prior approval, which he would not have gotten because it wasn’t in his area. It’s a game for a game (penalty). Naadir can play in the next exhibition game, but he will not play in our first regular-season game.”
  • Jayhawk fans in Canada are in luck. TSN will broadcast all of KU’s basketball games because of freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins. Details here.