Andrew Wiggins made his highly anticipated college debut Tuesday night, even if it was in an exhibition game against Pittsburg State.
For fans who've only seen YouTube highlights or have just heard of his legend, Wiggins' first performance should have given them a pretty good idea of what he's capable of.
He finished the night with 16 points, and though many of them were quiet, a few made plenty of noise.
Wiggins' debut was highlighted by one signature play—a play that sums up all the hype and hoopla surrounding him as a prospect.
Within a blink of an eye, he had slipped backdoor. At that exact second, everyone in the building knew what was coming.
Anticipating the lob, Wiggins made his move to the rack before climbing the ladder, catching the alley-oop and throwing one down from way above the rim.
Wiggins' ability to elevate higher than anyone else results in easy buckets like these that very few are capable of getting.
His athleticism shined throughout the night, even if it only resulted in one vicious throwdown. With Kansas looking to run its offense and keep the ball moving, Wiggins will have to adjust to being an opportunistic scorer, as opposed to the featured one he's been for the last few years.
That's what his challenge will be throughout the year.
Wiggins isn't going to get the ball in isolation situations or with legitimate space around him—especially not in the half court. He'll have to recognize and ultimately take advantage of the scoring chances that come his way. That could be slipping backdoor for a layup, attacking an open lane, pushing it in transition or stopping to pop before he hits traffic.
Wiggins had some nice buckets throughout the game, just about all of which were a product of his quickness and effortless bounce.
On one play operating from the left wing, Wiggins took his man baseline and tossed up a soft floater on the move. Later in the second half, he beat his man with a nasty first step before taking one dribble and finishing strong with his left hand at the rim.
Wiggins didn't force the issue at all throughout the night. Given how disciplined Kansas' offense and the other weapons on the team are, it's unlikely he goes into takeover mode that often throughout the year.
He went the first five minutes of the second half without taking a shot before heading to the bench around the 15-minute mark.
@NickBahe so-so. a little sloppy. not too assertive. just trying to blend in. he'll be fine, though. you know how these games can be.— Jason King (@JasonKingESPN) October 30, 2013
It's just another reminder that Wiggins isn't Kevin Durant. He's not going to average 25 a game in his one-and-done freshman year.
As the year progresses, his confidence and comfort level will rise, and we'll probably start seeing Wiggins play with a little more assertiveness. His effort level was solid on both ends of the floor during his debut, picking up a couple of blocks while looking to run whenever he had the chance.
Overall, it was a successful opening act for the top prospect in the country. There certainly won't be anyone questioning that status after watching his first college game action.
Look for Wiggins to average around 14 to 16 points and six boards a game this year. He'll likely pick up around three free buckets each night just coming off of dunks, fast-break chances and lobs alone. But his inability to consistently create perimeter offense will likely keep him from dominating as a volume scorer.
He's not perfect. Wiggins missed a few jumpers and turned it over a couple of times against the Gorillas. His handle and shooting mechanics are both still a bit shaky.
But his reputation remains intact. Wiggins' current weaknesses are all easily fixable over time.
Kansas and Wiggins open the regular season against Louisiana-Monroe at Allen Fieldhouse on Nov. 8. Expect plenty more highlights to come, as well as flashes of NBA stardom along the way.