Coming into the NCAA tournament, all eyes were squarely on Andrew Wiggins to see if he could carry the Kansas Jayhawks to the third round without his fellow freshman teammate Joel Embiid.
The round of 64 was a success for Wiggins. The round of 32, however, was a complete failure, to put it mildly.
The freshman never quite got going throughout the contest, and the Jayhawks were sent packing without much of a contribution from him. ESPN Stats & Info took a look at Wiggins' performance at the end of the game:
Andrew Wiggins points in last 5 games-- 41, 30, 22, 19, 4 pic.twitter.com/35iWi6hZ4z— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 23, 2014
After putting up 19 points in the tournament opener for the Jayhawks, Wiggins posted just four points and was exposed throughout the game. His shots weren't crisp, and his defensive effort fell well short of what Kansas needed.
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One of the biggest points of emphasis coming into the contest for the Cardinal was finding ways to shut down Wiggins. Fellow Canadian Dwight Powell, who faced Wiggins when they were growing up in Ontario, spoke about limiting the freshman, per Jeff Faraudo of the San Jose Mercury News.
"He was very athletic," Powell said. "He's developed his game so much since then. ... Definitely be aware that he's always looking to score, always looking to attack."
The Cardinal did just that against the Jayhawks en route to an appearance in the Sweet 16 as a No. 10 seed. Here's a look at the freshman's game, which could be his last in a Kansas uniform.
Andrew Wiggins' Game Grade: D
With all the pressure firmly being placed on Wiggins' shoulders, he faltered throughout.
In the first half, Wiggins was limited on the offensive front and unable to get his shots off without a Cardinal defender pressing. March Madness and Jeff Goodman of ESPN provided a look at the freshman's first 20 minutes:
.@Stanfordbball keeping Andrew Wiggins in check as the freshman only has 2 points. Stanford up 18-13 with 7:44 left in the 1st half— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 23, 2014
Andrew Wiggins has just three shot attempts in the first 20 minutes. He has to be more assertive in second half.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 23, 2014
After finishing with just two points in the half, Wiggins was unable to do what Goodman believed he needed to in the second.
Just like his first half, he took just three shots in the last 20 minutes of the game, but he didn't make any of them. Wiggins did score two more points, but he did so from the free-throw line, where he went 2-of-2 for the game.
Wiggins came away with just as many rebounds as points (four) as Stanford successfully shut him down in nearly every facet of the game. Jason King of Bleacher Report gave somewhat of a backhanded compliment to the young player:
Never seen a college player as good at getting his own rebound as Andrew Wiggins. Good thing, b/c he misses a ton of shots near the rim.— Jason King (@JasonKingBR) March 23, 2014
With just six shots on the entire contest, Wiggins wasn't exactly given plenty of opportunities to succeed for the Jayhawks. But with a 16.7 shooting percentage, it's easy to see why his teammates didn't look for him to finish possessions.
Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports gave his take on why Wiggins wasn't finding as much success as in his first tournament game:
Stanford's zone has turned Andrew Wiggins into the world's most athletic spot-up shooter.— Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) March 23, 2014
Down the stretch, Wiggins' struggles continued to affect the Jayhawks. He finally tried to use his athleticism to create an opportunity, but he turned it over with less than a minute left and allowed Stanford to get the upper hand.
Goodman broke down the play late in the game:
Andrew Wiggins spin move results in turnover. Stanford ball, up 4 with 48 seconds left.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 23, 2014
In total, Wiggins finished with four points on 1-of-6 shooting, including 0-of-2 from downtown. He added four rebounds, a steal, an assist and two blocks, but he also committed four turnovers.
While the final game of his freshman season—and potentially his career—at Kansas wasn't successful, he still has a bright future ahead of him in the NBA. Following a season in which he helped get Kansas to a No. 2 seed in the tournament, Wiggins is still a lock for a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
Eric Koreen of the National Post spoke about just that when he made a comparison to an NBA superstar who finished his career with doubts as to whether he should be a No. 1 pick in the draft:
Not that Wiggins is Durant, of course. But the college game is a different beast.— Eric Koreen (@ekoreen) March 23, 2014
Wiggins has a lot more questions than Durant. I know. Durant was a beast in his only college year. Wiggins not that.— Eric Koreen (@ekoreen) March 23, 2014
But plenty of great players have failed to dominate in NCAA.— Eric Koreen (@ekoreen) March 23, 2014
Though Wiggins hasn't officially made his announcement as to whether he'll stick with the Jayhawks for the 2014-15 season or depart for the NBA, it is believed he will be a lock for a top-five pick when the draft rolls around.
Reese Waters of Bleacher Report went ahead and rolled out the red carpet for Wiggins:
Welcome to the NBA Andrew Wiggins #MarchMadness— Reese Waters (@reesewaters) March 23, 2014
Will Wiggins be successful in the NBA?
If Wiggins does decide to depart from Kansas, he will have several questions to answer in the NBA. Coming into the season, he was rated by several different analysts and recruiting sites as the No. 1 freshman in the country in front of players like Jabari Parker and Julius Randle.
But with Embiid somewhat overshadowing him during their freshman campaigns, Wiggins has slowly slid back in many people's eyes. While DraftExpress still has Wiggins as the No. 1 player taken in the draft, there is a lot of time left for other players to shine on the big stage in the tournament.
With several months before the draft and Wiggins still not announcing his decision, his future remains undetermined. But with his freshman season coming to an end, the final game left a lot to be desired for the young player's career.
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