Kansas Basketball: Grades for Jayhawks' Stars in Win over Duke

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2013

Nov 12, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Andrew Wiggins (22) is congratulated for scoring by guard Wayne Selden, Jr. (1) in the second half against the Duke Blue Devils at United Center. Kansas won 94-83. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

In the nightcap of the Champions Classic, the Kansas Jayhawks came alive with 54 points in the second half on their way to a 94-83 win over Duke at the United Center in Chicago.

Going into the game, the star that everyone was talking about for Kansas was Andrew Wiggins, who did show up toward the end when it mattered most. 

While the spotlight will remain on Wiggins for his deliverance of clutch points late in the game, there were a few other Jayhawks who showed up, too, and downed the Blue Devils in the process. 

Here are the grades for the top Kansas players from Tuesday's win. 


Andrew Wiggins: B+

Yes, Wiggins did step up in the second half to hand Kansas their second victory of the season, but he was nonexistent for most of the first half because of foul trouble. 

In his defining moment of the game, Wiggins hit a step-back jumper with 1:33 remaining and then followed it up with a dunk 16 seconds later. 

Wiggins was also able to deflect defenders away from his teammates in the second half, as he decided to post up down on the block as the Jayhawks opted for a smaller lineup to match up better with Duke. 

Another small aspect of Wiggins' game that will be overlooked is the defense he played on Jabari Parker in the second half that shut down the Duke freshman as Kansas made their second-half surge.


Perry Ellis: A

Everywhere you looked on the court Tuesday night, sophomore forward Perry Ellis was there.

Ellis recorded a career-high in points with 24 while contributing seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. 

Nov 12, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis (34) shoots over Duke Blue Devils forward Jabari Parker (1) during the second half at United Center. The Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Duke Blue Devils 94-83. Mandatory Credit: David Banks
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Ellis was relied on for most of the game by head coach Bill Self to be the big man in the paint who could compete with the athletic Duke guards.

With Tarik Black and Joel Embiid being unsuccessful against the quick Blue Devils side, Ellis was forced to do plenty of things in the paint, and he was able to do them to the best of his abilities. 


Wayne Selden Jr.: B

The freshman guard that not many people talked about because of Wiggins and Embiid proved his worth in the 11-point victory by scoring 15 points. 

Wayne Selden was forced to play a multitude of roles in the smaller lineup, and because of that he snagged eight rebounds, a total which made him the second-leading rebounder for Kansas on the night. 

With Ellis and Wiggins doing most of the scoring, it was Selden who was able to keep the offense calm and distribute as he had four assists.

Selden also was efficient from the field as he made five of his 10 attempted shots, which is a good sign for the future if he keeps that up. 


Naadir Tharpe: B-

Naadir Tharpe was one of the most experienced players out on the court on Tuesday night, but he failed to make his mark in the game dominated by underclassmen. 

The junior point guard did start the game for the Jayhawks, but in the 28 minutes that he was on the court, he could not hand Self a performance worthy of a starter on the No. 5 team in the nation. 

Tharpe, who is expected to be the key distributor in the backcourt all season long, attempted just three field goals, two of which were made. 


Frank Mason: B

The main reason why Tharpe's production levels were down was the play of Frank Mason, who is another one of the talented freshmen on the Kansas roster. 

The 5'11" guard was inserted into the lineup early and often as Self realized that his team was going to get blown out with two traditional big men out on the court for 40 minutes. 

Mason stepped up to the plate and handed the Jayhawks an unexpected 15 points off of the bench, which went a long way in deciding the result. 

The 15 points that Mason dropped on Tuesday were just two short of the number scored by the entire Duke bench. 


Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.