Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Andrew Wiggins, freshmen are special
By Andy Katz
CHICAGO -- This isn't a normal class of freshmen.
Julius Randle nearly single-handedly lifted No. 2 Michigan State past No. 1 Kentucky before eventually succumbing to the experience of a Spartans team that knew how to handle late-game situations in early November a tad better.
SportsNation: Big college hoops night
Julius Randle and Jabari Parker shined, but Andrew Wiggins won. Which freshman was most impressive? Vote! »
In the second game of the Champions Classic at the United Center, Duke's Jabari Parker was the dominant player for the No. 4 Blue Devils over the first 20 minutes against No. 5 Kansas. Andrew Wiggins had his turn in the second half, propelling Kansas to a 94-83 victory over the Blue Devils.
Randle, Parker and Wiggins lived up to their hype and were every bit worth the trip for all those representative of all those NBA teams in attendance.
But there is so much more to Kansas' class than just Wiggins. Frank Mason showed he has the ability to go in the lane, draw contact and covert at the free throw line. Joel Embiid was a force at times, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out five assists in 20 minutes. And Wayne Selden Jr. buried timely buckets for 15 points.
This is not the norm for first-year players. But get used to it. The freshmen in this class, not just the three or four biggest (for which we need to include Arizona's Aaron Gordon here), isn't normal.