We asked for a show, and a show is what we got. Kansas' Andrew Wiggins and Duke's Jabari Parker were as good as advertised at the State Farm Championship Classic.
Arguably the top two prospects on the planet played in front of thousands of eyes and dozens of NBA scouts, and they were both great in their own way. Each players' strengths were on display throughout the night, with Wiggins flashing electric athleticism and Parker showing his versatility.
Wiggins and the Jayhawks ultimately emerged down the stretch in a 94-83 win, but the end result was almost overshadowed by these blue-chip talents. Sure, this was a matchup of the No. 4 and No. 5 teams in the country, but it was also a battle for position atop the NBA-prospect pyramid.
Wiggins entered the year as the favorite for the No. 1 overall pick next June. Based on his performance so far this season, you would imagine that's still the case.
Despite his production coming in spurts, Wiggins went for 22 points and eight boards against Duke on an efficient 9-of-15 shooting. Down the stretch, he knocked down an NBA-level step-back jumper to give Kansas a four-point crunch-time lead. He capped off the victory with an emphatic fast-break slam while fouling out Parker in the process, putting a bow tie on an entertaining and promising showcase.
But while Wiggins' Jayhawks came out on top, Parker didn't exactly take a backseat. In fact, he sat shotgun throughout, ultimately outdueling Wiggins offensively with 27 awfully good-looking points.
Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com had this quote from Kansas coach Bill Self regarding Parker's performance:
'He was the best player in the game for a good stretch of the game.' Bill Self on Parker— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) November 13, 2013
Parker looked as smooth and advanced as any college wing I've seen since Kevin Durant. He was lighting it up from the perimeter with next-level step-backs, and scoring on the move by attacking the rim. He also showcased a little athleticism of his own, throwing down a sick one-handed alley-oop that jolted the arena:
At this point, it appears that Parker is the more refined player. While Wiggins relies on line-drive quickness, slippery spins and ridiculous elevation, Parker is able to get loose with developed moves in the post and advanced shot-creativity.
And that jumper is just money. He nailed four effortless three-pointers against Kansas. Rarely do you see college players this comfortable and accurate from downtown. And the ones you do aren't usually 6'8'', 235 pounds.
Still, Wiggins' potential is hard to ignore. The fact that he can drop 22 points without the same offensive polish speaks to his upside as an NBA player.
Both Parker and Wiggins did their thing in Chicago, playing their own individual styles and shining in the process. Expect there to be continued debate regarding who the top prospect is—just not who it's between.
Parker and Wiggins are the real deal.