Joel Embiid X-Factor for Kansas Jayhawks in NCAA Tournament

By Tyler Brett
joel embiid
Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas Jayhawks look to once again be one of the premier teams in the country this season and will hope to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Bill Self has a solid team in Lawrence this season, stacked with talent, including freshman superstar Andrew Wiggins. But while Wiggins is the youngster snagging all the spotlight, it could be another freshman, center Joel Embiid, who takes the Jayhawks deep into March Madness.

The 7-foot Cameroon native is still learning to play right now and has only averaged 17.7 minutes per game in the early going. But while he hasn’t logged a lot of minutes, he has been efficient with the time he has gotten. He is averaging 9.1 points, 7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game so far this season through seven games. As he earns more playing time in the rotation, his role in the gameplan will also be expanded.

He flashed a bit of the ability he’s capable of during the Battle 4 Atlantis event which gives Self confidence that Embiid is going to become a major part of the team’s success this season. In the loss against the Villanova Wildcats, the freshman contributed 10 points and five rebounds before fouling out after just 12 minutes on the court. In their win against the UTEP Miners, he was a force of nature scoring nine points, grabbing six rebounds, and swatting seven shots on defense.

Embiid is extremely raw at this point of his career but he has an incredible ceiling to his game. If he develops into a consistent presence in the post, he’ll provide a serious boost to the Kansas frontcourt this season. That added production down low could turn into the key factor to a deep run in the NCAA Tournament for the Jayhawks.

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