As the most sought after college recruit American basketball has seen since possibly LeBron James, the buzz around Andrew Wiggins is hitting a new level as the NCAA season approaches. Rightfully so. The 6-foot-8 forward hailing from Thornhill, Ontario, has all the tools to take the basketball world by storm.
Before even setting foot on the Kansas Jayhawks’ hardcourt, Wiggins is already widely projected as the No. 1 overall pick in the coming NBA draft, and has been for quite some time. Barring injury, he will be the first player coming off the NBA draft board next spring and Jayhawks coach Bill Self is well aware of that.
“We never talked to Andrew about being a one-and-done,” Self told reporters. “We just talked to him about being a college kid, coming in and trying hard, helping us, and we’re going to help him by putting him in a position to showcase himself. … It was always unspoken that we understood, if he did what he was supposed to do, we won’t have him here on campus very long.”
Still, Wiggins’ presence in an already strong lineup makes Kansas the second favorite at +500 to win the NCAA Championship, trailing only Kentucky (+300). If Wiggins and the Jayhawks get off to a quick start, expect that number to shrink, too.
“He could be our best defender,” Self said of Wiggins last week. “He could be our best shot-blocker. He could be our best lane-runner. He could be our best offensive rebounder. He could be a lot of things.”
Right now, Wiggins is a teenager capable of dealing with this hype if there ever was one. By all accounts he is a quiet kid who puts the work in on and off the court and is looking to learn ate every turn. Let’s hope he stays that way as the hype machine starts roaring after this SI cover.