Andrew Wiggins' Pedestrian Start at Kansas Not Indicative of Freshman's Future

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVNovember 20, 2013

Nov 19, 2013; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Andrew Wiggins (22) brings the ball up court against the Iona Gaels in the first half at Allen Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Wiggins' start at Kansas has been average by Andrew Wiggins standards, but he's shown enough in his first three games to prove that the immense potential is there. It will only take time for him to get going full-throttle.

The ultra-popular freshman entered the season gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated, which claimed he could be the second coming of Wilt Chamberlain. 

No pressure, right?

However, the talented youngster hasn't put up Wilt-like numbers in his first few games. He produced 16 points, three boards, three steals and two assists in his college debut and only scored 13 along with seven rebounds on Tuesday against Iona.

But credit must be given where it's due. Between those two performances was a 22-point, eight-rebound outburst against Duke in the early showdown between Wiggins and Jabari Parker.

He scored 16 in the second half and came up with a number of huge plays on both sides of the ball. While Parker submitted the more attractive stat line—27 points, nine boards—Wiggins made the plays that decided the game despite playing just 25 minutes and having foul trouble.

After that explosion, seeing Wiggins put up 13 points against Iona was tough for Jayhawks fans and basketball fans alike who were hoping for statistical dominance from the once-in-a-generation talent.

But it's far from a reason for concern.

LAWRENCE, KS - NOVEMBER 08:  Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks shoots during the game against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at Allen Fieldhouse on November 8, 2013 in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Despite not tearing up the stat sheet, Wiggins has done little to dispel his immense preseason accolades. He's flown in for a number of emphatic alley-oops with jaw-dropping athleticism, he's showcased his elite ability on defense, and he's demonstrated an offensive arsenal that is still developing.

Sure, Parker may be earning more ESPN highlights and producing more numbers—he's surpassed 20 points in each of his five games. But he's also been the unquestionable offensive first option for Duke, which distorts that comparison.

Kentucky's Julius Randle—the third of a presumed trio of dominant freshmen—is also making a name for himself. He's surpassed double-digit rebounds and scored 22 or more in four of his five appearances. 

But Wiggins, despite not putting up the same amount of points, has showcased his elite athletic ability just as much, if not more than his fellow freshmen. If anything, he'll surpass both Parker and Randle on "wow" plays once he notches some high-scoring performances. 

Wiggins was touted as the next Wilt for a reason. He's shown that throughout this early part of the season, even though the stats don't stack up against his competition.

Like any young player, Wiggins is learning how to adjust his game to this next level. He may be NBA-ready physically—but not mentally. It takes time to mentally adjust to any extra level of competition.

If we've learned anything about Kansas in this early season, it's that Wiggins will have plenty of room to develop and tap his potential while playing with a star-studded lineup.

Whether he puts up 20 and 10 each night or not, Wiggins' chances of becoming the next big thing in basketball are as crystal clear as ever.