— Joe Namath.
This would’ve been a fitting quote to boost the focus of Bill Self’s Kansas squad coming into two cupcake games during late November.
Turns out, they didn’t need any extra motivation. The Jayhawks beat Iona and Towson this week by a combined 50 points and while Andrew Wiggins played well, he had plenty of help from his teammates.
On Tuesday, Kansas pulled away from Iona 86-66 in a game that saw 12 different players score for the Jayhawks. Andrew Wiggins acquired a modest stat line of 13 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals on 4-9 shooting and 1-4 from 3 point range. I understand as an NBA fan that you might want to see Wiggins crush the throat of every sub par team he plays, but it’s good to get others involved.
The player of the game actually went to his fellow freshmen peer, seven foot Joel Embiid who had 16 points and 13 rebounds on 7-7 shooting. In my opinion this is nothing but good news to highlight junkies like myself, if Wiggins can’t be double teamed due to the Jayhawks talent, it will only mean much more poster dunks in the future.
However, Wiggins did have three highlight reel plays in the game. The first two were alley-oop dunks, including a great one from Naadir Tharpe that brought the sold-out Fieldhouse crowd to its feet. Wiggins also intercepted an outlet pass and dished it under the basket to Ellis, the sophomore forward completed a smooth up-and-under that gave KU a double digit lead in the 2nd half.
Let’s move on to game two of the week, Towson. Kansas obviously heeded the warning bells of only winning by 20 and decided two increase their winning margin by 50%, winning 88-58. Wiggins had a much more efficient game Friday night, racking up 16 points and 7 rebounds on 6-8 shooting and lead the Jayhawks in scoring. Wiggins has now posted four straight double-digit efforts to begin his first and last season at KU.
During the post game Wiggins shed light on his new found confidence “When we play in the flow of the game, no one can stop us. We have too many tools to use. When we play like we did today, nobody can stop us.” Kansas’s Coach Bill Self was also quoted in a slightly more humble tone “Hopefully this will now be a good stretch where we can start putting some stuff together.”
Alright so let’s break down how Wiggins is succeeding so far for Kansas this year. Self uses Wiggins in a wing and baseline cutter role but not so much as a focal point in the half court offense. Most of Wiggins’s damage comes from drives to the lane, fast breaks and back door cuts. This correlates in his high field goal percentage and relatively high frequency at the free throw line. His season averages are 17 PPG, 6 RPG, 1.7 APG and 1.7 SPG. Wiggins shooting percentages are respectively, 54.5% from the floor, 33.3% from three and 75% from the free throw line.
It’s been a good start for the number one recruit but Wiggins still has areas he can improve in. If Wiggins can become a better perimeter shooter and better passer, he could win The National Player of the Year Award. Imagine if this kid started playing with court vision but had the option to pull up for a reliable three point shot, he would already have more potential than Kevin Durant. No, I’m not kidding. Think about it, he would be in theory the same type of player but have much more physical prowess at a much younger age. I don’t need to get carried away, will save that for another day.
Kansas’s next game is home to WakeForest on the 28th at 3:30. Check back in with us to see how Wiggins competes against an ACC opponent.
Alex Gorge is a scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @apg3000.
You can follow us on Twitter @philadunkia.