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Kansas freshman Wiggins still seeking his place
Question of the Day
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Andrew Wiggins is finding it hard to be everybody’s Super Bowl.
That was the way that Kansas coach Bill Self described the up-and-down season of his talented freshman forward. One day, Wiggins will be pouring in 26 points against Florida, the next day he will be struggling to get his shot off against UTEP.
It’s already been a season of growing pains for the No. 1 recruit in last year’s class, and while the eighth-ranked Jayhawks are starting to soar, Wiggins is still searching for his stride.
“He’s so naive in so many ways,” Self said. “I don’t think he thinks about the fact he’s everybody’s Super Bowl when they have a chance to play against him.
“We’ve told him,” Self said, “but I don’t think he’s felt that yet.”
After easily knocking off No. 24 Baylor on Monday night, Kansas (14-4, 5-0) has roared to five straight wins and first place in the Big 12. The last four of them have come against Top 25 teams, making the Jayhawks the first to accomplish that feat since North Carolina in 1997.
Wiggins has been a big part of that success, of course. He scored 22 points against Kansas State, and poured in 17 against Iowa State and Baylor. But he also was held to nine points on 2-of-9 shooting against Oklahoma, and a season-low three points against Oklahoma State.
Taken together, those are solid numbers for just about any freshman in America.
Wiggins isn’t just any other freshman.
Ever since successfully dueling with Duke star Jabari Parker at a summer tournament, Wiggins has been anointed the next big thing. NBA scouts have flocked to Allen Fieldhouse to see him - there were 28 in attendance last Saturday, when the Jayhawks knocked off the Cowboys. And he’s done enough to prove that he could have a big future in the professional ranks.
But he’s also left many of those scouts, his coaches and just about every fan who has filed into the Phog hungry for more.
“I think he’s done well,” Self said. “I also think there’s another step he can take. He leaves me wanting more, so when people say certain things, I can’t be upset. I want more, too.”
Self has tried to treat Wiggins like anybody else, in part to temper some of the other-worldly expectations. The prized forward has only done two one-on-one interviews with the media - one of them with The Associated Press in December - since the start of the season, and unless he has a big performance, Wiggins generally isn’t made available to reporters following games.
“It’s a no-win, everything lose situation,” Self said. “There’s no way to live up to the hype.”
When he does have a chance to speak, Wiggins has acknowledged that he didn’t expect college basketball to be so hard. Players are bigger and stronger, faster and more athletic.
By Richard Rahn
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