Andrew Wiggins, incoming Kansas Jayhawks freshman, is in a position where he is going to leave the program an utter, disgusting and heart crushing disappointment. Yes, that is factually correct. Despite what all the recruiting websites told you, no matter how many times Dick Vitale‘s face has turned purple while talking about him, you can ignore the hoopla and mark down Wiggins’ failure to live up to the hype as the only guarantee that will happen in the upcoming season.
Blasphemy you say? No, not at all. While websites like ours or others of our ilk are telling you how Wiggins will be the greatest thing since sliced bread, it should be noted that there is a zero percent possibility that he lives up to the wondrous invention of loafed bread coming pre-cut.
Even our good friends at USA Today have gotten on the Wiggins is all that and a bag of chips bandwagon. Recently, one of their own penned “Will Andrew Wiggins be the best Kansas player ever?.”Of course he won’t be. I mean, he can’t. The author was smart to point out all the greats who have previously played for Kansas. Guys like Danny Manning, Paul Pierce and some fella by the name of Wilt Chamberlain. Not only are those all-time, all-timers, but they also had a huge advantage where as Wiggins does not. Each of those guys played more than one season with the program.
When Wiggins declares early entry into the NBA Draft — because he will — nobody should blame him. We live in an era where capitalizing as soon as humanly possible is the safest bet. If Wiggins were to overstay his welcome, by say a singular extra season, scouts will only find flaws in his game and deem him unworthy of being a number one overall pick. That is what folks in the business call the bad side of early over exposure. The good side? Well, that is him likely being the number one overall pick if he comes out after his freshman year based solely on his high school hype.
Wiggins can average over 20 points an outing, rebound and pass like there is no tomorrow and folks will still be upset that Kansas didn’t go undefeated or win a national championship. That is not saying either of those two things can’t happen, but the likelihood of it is the same as Kate Upton finally deciding to take me up on that dinner date I’ve offered so many times before on the mean streets of Twitter.
This is what we get for living in a 24/7 sports media coverage. Heck, I am guilty of it myself. When Wiggins had yet to decide which school he was going to attend, I wrote on which one he was leaning towards — for three straight days. It is hard not to get caught up in the hyperbole when a story or player as exciting as the Wiggins’ situation comes about. It is the exact same way, for the exact same reasons, that everyone goes bonkers over all the Tim Tebow stories. Insert an athlete. If he is polarizing, great. If not, well, he better have a tremendous amount of hype behind him. Why? So we can tear him down after we spent hundreds of hours putting other-worldly expectations on him.
It is not the fault of the athlete. We might grimace when a student-athlete refers to themselves as a brand, however, who else is going to look out for them while they battle the journey through the NCAA and all of their ineptness? Certainly not the NCAA or the fans. We are constantly hoping these guys fail for no reason other than they don’t play for “our” team. It is a never ending cycle of putting a kid (the kid part is pretty important) on a pedestal and just waiting for the right opportunity to come around to knock him off.
Whenever Wiggins has his first poor game in a Kansas uniform, experts and writers are going to be quick to ask whether or not he is a bust — or if he was even deserving of the hype to begin with. Which begs the question. Where are all these expectations that Wiggins won’t live up to coming from?
Oh, that’s right.
Joseph is a contributor for Rant Sports. For the love of Sam Cassell, follow him on the mean streets of Twitter @JosephNardone