Everything seems to be falling into place. After a lengthy courtship from College Basketball royalty, Andrew Wiggins eventually decided on attending Kansas. Much of the narrative of the past recruiting cycle was over who was better, the Canadian or Jabari Parker. While Parker continued to astound in terms of results at Simeon, scouts became increasingly sceptical about how his game will translate to the NBA. When Wiggins was doubted, he went out and responded with career highs.
Parker, to his credit, is in a no-win situation. If he goes out and dominates in College, the questions about his ceiling will persist. Had he been born a year earlier, there’s no question he’d go first overall in this year’s draft. Instead he’s stuck being the other guy to Wiggins. A word of hope to Parker, that didn’t work out too badly for Kevin Durant whose one-and-done year was opposite Greg Oden.
The story however is Wiggins and the Canadian media can’t get enough of it. It doesn’t hurt that any writer who has seen him is astounded by his game. Many stories cite him as the “Next [Insert Superstar here…usually LeBron]” but I don’t want him to be the next anything. The most fascinating thing Andrew Wiggins can be is the first Andrew Wiggins. This is a young man with potential to leave Steve Nash trailing in the dust for the honour of greatest Canadian to ever hit the hardwood.
Wiggins has opted not to play for Canada’s Under 19 team at the upcoming World Championships and it’s a call I agree with. The young man is committed to helping the national team in the long-term but a summer distraction will take away from the greater goal of the year ahead. He’s playing for Bill Self, a man who has an incredible regular season record as head coach of the Jayhawks and a national title to his name. The narrative of this season is set, Wiggins vs the Wildcats. This despite the fact that Kansas and Kentucky are not on each other’s schedules and would need to meet in March Madness for a head-to-head to happen. It’s still alluring, while the loaded UK team runs the floor for Coach Cal, Wiggins and his cohorts in Lawrence will look to top them. It will be a phony war that has fans salivating. Canadians who hardly watch College Hoops will demand a clash of these titans as the year proceeds. Can their man top Kentucky? It could be era-defining if he gets the chance.