Kansas Basketball: Andrew Wiggins Proves to Be as Advertised in Unofficial Debut

C.J. Moore@@CJMooreBRCollege Basketball National Lead WriterJune 20, 2013

Thirteen seconds is how long it took Andrew Wiggins to make jaws drop in a Kansas uniform on Wednesday afternoon. 

Wiggins, playing in a scrimmage for Bill Self's basketball camp in front of a packed house at KU's volleyball arena, got the ball off a steal and took flight from the left block. By the time he reached his peak, his head was at the rim and all Sacramento Kings center Cole Aldrich could do was watch from below as Wiggins threw down a monstrous dunk. 

We came to see the hype and he brought it almost instantaneously. 

"It felt good," Wiggins said. "I let loose of all of my nerves, and I was good after that dunk." 

If that's all it takes, then this kid really is special. Because the pressure and attention that surround him is something they've never seen at Kansas. And this is Kansas

Fans started showing up hours before the scrimmage to get a seat to see the player they call the best high school prospect since LeBron James.  

"The thing is, he's just a kid," Self said. "I told him the other night, he hasn't made a basket yet and the attention that he's received is based on potential; it's not based on anything he's done. But I think he should welcome the expectations. I don't think there's any reason to run from them." 

Self realizes this comes with the territory. He can hide Wiggins, but why bother? Television news stations throughout Lawrence, Kansas City and Topeka sent cameras to a summer scrimmage. ESPN.com was represented. The Kansas City Star sent three reporters. 

KU's media relations didn't have to feature Wiggins on Wednesday, but why bother hiding him? There's no running from this. 

The mass gathered around Wiggins after the scrimmage as he sat and waited for Self to arrive. The media-relations staff had set it up so Self could stand by Wiggins' side as he answered questions. 

"Wow," Self said as he walked up to the group. "We just win an Elite Eight game?"

Self realized why we were all there and he stepped aside to let the freshman deal with his first foray into what will be a lifetime carnival. 

Wiggins is used to it. Maybe not used to this. But every waking moment the past few years, he's had to deal with someone asking him where he was going to school. 

"Now everyone knows I'm going to Kansas," he said. "It's a big relief, big weight off my shoulders. It's been good." 

Wiggins is well-spoken and more media savvy than your average freshman. He has to be. And he mostly blends in with his other teammates until he has the ball in transition racing to the rim. Once in the air, there are few like him in the world. 

It's also obvious that he's still a player that's developing, which we should not forget. 

"What does he need to work on?" Self was asked. 

"I have not coached him but for about an hour and a half so far," Self said. "I have no idea. I think potentially he and (Wayne) Selden could be unbelievable wing defenders and unbelievable in transition. I don't know yet how it'll all come together. 

Here's what I took away from about 20 minutes of watching Wiggins in a scrimmage that was played at half speed: He is more than willing to attack when he has the ball. 

Wiggins quickly made his first three shots, including a step-back three-pointer. He then missed his final three shots, which were all threes.

Even when Wiggins misses, he's smooth. He has the explosion Kansas fans saw from Ben McLemore. Then he has handles that Kansas fans didn't see from McLemore. 

You can see why it's believed Wiggins would be the first pick in this draft if he were eligible. 

You can also see that he does have some things to work on, including his outside shot and learning how to get open. In this game, he did a lot of standing. But again, it was just a scrimmage that Self was not allowed to watch. 

KU's current roster lost, 66-61, to a combination of alumni and several current players, including Memphis transfer Tarik Black. The game was essentially won by former KU guard Tyrel Reed, who could not miss. He served as a temporary distraction. 

All eyes stayed on Wiggins. And from here on out, every movement, word and shot fired by the freshman will be dissected. 

He passed the first test in 13 seconds. 


All quotes were obtained firsthand.


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