Andrew Wiggins never asked for the hype, but it’s something he couldn’t avoid. The checklist of items needed for him to stay grounded are there: recognition of flaws in his game, a close circle of family and friends, and a humble demeanor. Unfortunately, the latter of the list might be what has scouts and skeptics on the same page. Make no mistake, he can turn up to the tune of 30 point outings on the regular but he’s much more comfortable playing the team game as opposed to the hero ball basketball purists, which he happens to be, loathe. Wiggins was the super nova among stars on both his high school team at Huntington Prep, which featured a host of Division 1 college basketball bound seniors, and his summer AAU team, CIA Bounce, that fellow Canada products Tyler Ennis (currently starting for Syracuse University) and Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes made marks on, too.
Last season, Wiggins responded to an SI article that came out questioning how good Wiggins would in fact be by dropping 57 points. That fire, that passion, that ability to carry a country on his back is what pushed him to the forefront of this soon to be famed class. Now his biggest hurdle is tapping into what makes him special, all the time.
Forgetting that despite his all world ability, Wiggins is still a freshman is a mistake. With all the talent on Kansas, maybe he won’t have the dominating season that Kevin Durant or Carmelo Anthony had in their one-and-done campaigns that he was projected to have. And that’s OK. The piece missing from Kansas’ puzzle in their 63-59 semifinal loss to Villanova at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas was Wiggins’ sense of “give me the fucking ball’ when it came down to the end of the game. Durant has that. Kobe Bryant has that. Michael Jordan had it and, even though he struggled to find it, Lebron James has it.
Star players make plays down the stretch, but Wiggins, who only scored 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting, MJ fade away’d from the spotlight in crunch time. Was he simply playing within the flow of the game? Was the moment too big for him? No one can answer that but Wiggins. All we know is the bar has been set, expectations are high and the young OVO has till March to figure how to keep his on-court fire lit.