With so much momentum behind the question of what Andrew Wiggins might be, people finally got a glimpse of who he is: a fierce competitor with demigod-like athleticism and a motor that can only be defined as turnt-up. The comparisons are inevitable; Michael Jordan’s body, Tract McGrady’s size, and a slew of other attributes that have been thrown out there since Wiggins was 16-years-old.
While the next LeBron he is not (not a knock on his game, but their styles of play are different), we haven’t seen this type of excitement based around an amateur since Nike employee No. 6 wore two-three in green and gold. Instead of figuring out who he reminds us of, let’s allow his game to grow and give him the chance to make his own lane. He’s clearly enjoying the moment, the challenge and dispelling any notion that he doesn’t play with emotion. If you couldn’t appreciate the joy on that young man’s face when he threw down the game sealing dunk to beat Duke 94-83 in his first college game on national TV, then maybe you should look up the word exuberance and re-watch that clip.
The biggest knock on Wiggs before last night was that he didn’t care and while misdirected, the point does have some basis. He doesn’t care more about dropping 30 to outshine his others more than he values team success, he doesn’t think the name on the back of the jersey is bigger than the one on the front and he doesn’t care about the hype he didn’t create. OVO Wiggins would rather let the winning talk for him.
For those who never saw Captain Canada play before last night, the fickle and fast-paced opinions shifted quicker than Wiggins fast twitch muscle fibers. His quiet first half was indeed overshadowed by the smooth, efficient and effective scoring of Chicago’s home grown Parker. Duke’s projected one-and-doner did work to the tune of 27 points and nine rebounds, while shooting 9-of-18 from the floor. As a result, the bandwagon went in order of appearance, starting with Kentucky’s Julius Randle in the night’s opener, to Parker and back to Wiggins as he closed the show with a dominant end sequence.
Give yourself time to digest what you’re watching and what college basketball “affords” all of us. Wiggins will be one of the most important figures in the history of the game and you get to watch him turn from a star into a supernova. His value might not be so much for what he may or may not accomplish, but he’s undoubtably the sign of the shift for a nation. At best, he becomes a true franchise changer in the NBA. At worst, he opens the door for dudes from Up North. Just try, like he will, to enjoy journey.