Entering the 2013-14 college basketball season, few stories seemed guaranteed to totally mesmerize and intoxicate media, fans and scouts alike the way the coming months of watching Andrew Wiggins grow into a man on the hardwood promised to provide. Bursting onto the scene with expectations sky high after years touted as not only the top player in his class but possibly the next truly great star destined for NBA grandeur, to say that there was and currently is an enormous amount of pressure on the shoulders of Wiggins would be stating things very lightly.
Due to this, even with the success that Wiggins has accomplished thus far in his freshman season rocking the crimson blue and white of the Kansas Jayhawks, his game remains under the kind of microscope and subsequent dissection that few players in the college game have ever had to live through.
Even worse, despite efficiently producing to the extent of 15.5 points, 5.5 rebounds to go along with contributions in all other departments as well as consistently providing highlight reel plays that remind viewers of the enormous potential lying within the realm of possibility for the 18 year old, some minds are beginning to wonder about what the future has in store for Wiggins.
With any young player, one has to expect that flaws will be present as is the case with anything that is far from a finished product. In the case of Wiggins, his ball handling and jump shot are two areas that definitely will need to be refined at the next level if he strives to go from being the very talented to the kind of player that NBA Christmas marathons are headlined by. That aside, regardless of the tangible talents that he needs to work on, there is one trait that Wiggins must work to defeat in order to avoid becoming his own worst enemy.
For the star of Wiggins to rise, it will need to be what is between the ears that will need self-reflection for the immensely talented young forward. Specifically, the tendency to drift and coast for prolonged stretches in games as well as his lack of aggressiveness are something that must be addressed for the long-term goals of the star freshman to be reached.
It will remain universally accurate that the trait of unselfishness is something that can be something very admirable when it translates to other players becoming involved and the team rising to new heights that otherwise couldn’t be reached operating as a lone wolf instead of a whole. Be that as it may, there comes a point, almost like the bell curve of returns so common to economy classes, where more is less, in this case where more unselfish play equals less success, where more time spent without the ball in the hands of your best player means less success as a team.
At the end of the day, the criticism has more to do with the lofty expectations we set for him and him not meeting them than any disappointment he has provided on the basketball court.
Has he been phenomenal at times? Of course.
Unfortunately, just not enough of the time for a mob that was expecting to witness what they imagined a year of LeBron James on the college season would’ve looked like.
We are quick to forget that every one of these college basketball players, whether one destined to be penciled in for the final shot or destined to only break a sweat during the pregame lay-up drills for four years, was a star at the high school level. Yes, many players come into their own very quickly despite suddenly facing teams stacked top to bottom with talent they otherwise might’ve seen a few times a year at the high school level.
Does that always have to be the case though?
Those quick to write off or smudge the prospects of the freshman forward need to regain the love of just watching a young player slowly blossom before our eyes instead of only oozing that impatience that will keep one wanting more instead of being thankful for what one has in front of them. Enjoy Wiggins, the pride of Canada and a player who makes the big plays when he needs to and takes your breath away in some instances with physical feats that few human bodies can accomplish.
The rest will come soon enough.