If ever a college prospect resembled that of a category-five storm, it is Kansas Jayhawks freshman Andrew Wiggins.
For the rest of college basketball, the moments leading up to each game against consensus no. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft will be used to build up their defenses and shape their game plan, strengthening their foundation and cellars and praying that they make it through the night as opposition to the stud freshman.
Entering his first college season at Kansas, to say that Wiggins has garnered his fair share of attention would be sugarcoating what in reality is nothing short of a circus, the kind that we haven’t seen an amateur talent receive since a certain high school senior that held court at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
Fortunately for Bill Self, the 16,300 that make up the home crowd at Allen Fieldhouse and those excited to see the emergence of the next great talent that will help shape professional basketball for the next decade and a half, we are about to see a prospect in Wiggins who will not only meet the hype, but exceed it.
At 6-foot-8, the Thornhill, Ontario native has the kind of athletic gifts that come around only a few times every decade or so, in combination with the kinds of talents that Wiggins possesses as a basketball player.
His long arms, quick hands and lateral quickness should translate into his emergence among college basketball’s best defenders by season’s end. Whether that translates into a player that can chase down the opposing fast break or one that can cause havoc defending one-on-one, the presence of Wiggins on the Kansas defensive front is sure to be an enormous boost on that side of the floor.
Aside from his defensive impact, Wiggins will instantly be the kind of slashing wing player that will be next to unstoppable with his great first step and elite level athleticism. Although the ability to finish at the rim with authority exists in Wiggins like with few players we’ve seen at the college level, it is that innate ability to finish with a soft touch and after contact that furthers his already nightmarish threat to opponents from close range.
Although the jump shot is incomplete and lacking the ideal shooting mechanics, it has thus proven to be effective and further adds to the respect that defenses must show him on the floor. Although one should not quite expect a sharpshooter to emerge in Wiggins, the jump shot is a definite weapon in his arsenal, one that will scorch plenty of opposing defenders and win plenty of games for Kansas this season.
Lastly, the demeanor of Wiggins is one of quiet intensity and unparalleled competitiveness. At the end of the day, for Kansas to succeed, they will need Wiggins to take on a leadership role as their most influential talent on the floor, and it is these traits that will undoubtedly help Kansas gain that leader by season’s end.
With a budding superstar in Wiggins sparking frantic celebration, gasps of disbelief and heart-pounding drama, it’s going to be an exciting season for Kansas Jayhawk basketball.