Wichita Eagle: Andrew Wiggins begins career with the world watching

  • Here is a rather lengthy article in the Wichita Eagle about Wiggins and expectations. Everything we have all read before. Comparisons to Chamberlain etc…

    I like reading about that stats Self looks at and how he expects his teams to play. I thought the reference to Keith Langford and Aaron Miles was funny. Brought back memories how that team HATED to work hard for Self when he first arrived at KU.

    Wichita Eagle: Andrew Wiggins begins career with the world watching

  • Mr Miyagi, you found a good article there! Well written with a good story for an intro. Thanks for posting the link.

    I have great faith in Coach Self. Coaches at major basketball programs will have to adapt to the OAD environment where they recruit a player for three years and coach them for one. The teams will be split between the student athletes and the waiting-for-the-draft pre-professional players. Any coach that can’t successfully meld these two groups together may end up in the NIT even when they have recruited highly rated players. I think Coach Self will be able to meet this challenge as well as any coach in the nation.

  • Agree, that was a great read. Thanks for sharing the link.

  • @Mr_Miyagi It is indeed a very good read. Love the stories of Wilt. Thanks for sharing.

  • @Careful_you I agree with the melding the team together. These classes with a lot of OAD players is definitely a high risk high reward scenario. With so may of these guys coming in together I get nervous.

    We saw what happened at Kensucky. That high risk turned into a total failure. It could happen anywhere really when trying to get so many new guys to play together in a new system.

    I liked how Self was doing in the past, where he brought in one top guy and blended him in with a veteran team. I believe the risk of failure is lower. We all know Self likes consistency and it will be hard to have that year in and year out with high turnover from these OAD.

    However, on the flip side of that is the high reward. You get a group of phenoms coming in together and they perform TEAM basketball at a high level, watch out because they can be scary good! Of course this is what everyone is after but it wont happen on a consistent level in my opinion,

  • I’m not sure I agree with the premise that UK’s disastrous year last year is the risk for signing OADs. Historically, many teams bomb out the year after they win a NC, and many weren’t stocked with OADs.

    I believe it’s more about coaching. Somehow you have to rebuild motivation in the following year, and that mixes with the unhealthy expectations. Fans are suddenly screaming two-peat, three-peat… meanwhile, the team coming after can do no better than match the results of the team before.

    Makes you look long and hard at what Wooden did at UCLA.

  • So you are saying there is no risk in having a new team of OADs every year? I think it is risky as hell.

    Also the team Kensucky had last year was not the same team that won the NC. It was a new team full of new players.

    Sure a team that just won a NC that has the same players come back and play the next year might have some motivation issues of winning again since they just did it. But a NEW team of players should NOT lack motivation.

    A new team a players lack the experience and knowledge of the system, environment, and effort it takes to get to the NC. That is why it is useful to have experienced player to lead the team and mix in some of these superstars. Not just replace the whole damn team with these diaper wearing freshmen.

  • I think there is risk. There is risk no matter what you do. There is risk with seasoned veterans, too… like injury.

    I’m just saying the risk might be more about who is coaching than the players brought in. We’ve won 9 straight league titles, with all sorts of teams… and the one common factor is CS.

    Calipari is a great recruiter, but he is nowhere on the screen in X’s and O’s. I doubt if CS had UK’s team last year he would have lost in the first round of the NIT. I didn’t want to say that because it just sounds like more KU vs UK chatter… but I do believe it. Self focuses first on team defense. Once you develop team defense, it is a constant. Offense comes and goes with shooting streaks, one player out to mess up the chemistry, etc.

    We’ve won 9 in a row because of our team defense. And I’m convinced that if CS has talented freshmen who have good attitudes, we won’t be losing in the first round of the NIT.

    That’s one of the huge differences between Self and Calipari.

    New teams do run into motivation problems, too. New teams still have a few veteran players returning to help show the way. Look at us this year… we’d be f@$% without Tharpe, Ellis, AW3 and Black! And all those players go to class and hangout socially, and they pick up on the attitude of the student body. The year after a school wins a NC most of the students are immature about how to handle that and say unrealistic things to the freshmen and returning players. Egos run over the top, and it comes out in the team.

    You don’t see too many teams going back to the trough the year after they win it all. I can think of Florida, and then back to UCLA. I have quite a bit of experience with Wooden… “the philosopher”… and how he trained not only his team, but the student body at UCLA, and even the media.

  • See I think it is “risky as hell” as Miyagi said … my suggestions on Self’s risky change was moved to the featured content area. Nice to be featured.

    What Self has built here is a program of sustainable winning. A program based on high level talent, just not revolving door talent. An OAD here and there, but the foundation being 3 year guys – guys that could get to the NBA, but who had to bust their collected a**es to do it. We have had no valleys.

    I also respectfully suggest that slayr might be undervaluing how good of a coach Calipari really is a bit … I think he is a great coach. And I think he’s proven it.

    Perhaps Self is venturing into the territory that could lead to an NIT, no matter how impossible that sounds. Great risk, but perhaps great reward. When you roll the dice on the OADs being a bigger part of your program, you run the risk of, first, freshmen being freshmen (regardless of talent level), and second, on having holes that may not get filled, thus being left with subpar talent (say, a Landen Lucas or Jamari Traylor starting).

    However, if we win the title this season, I’d gladly take an NIT flameout the next season. The chances of winning a title, even if you are the best team, are still remote. Thus I’m not a buyer on the OAD stuff just yet.

  • I just don’t ever see us not having any returning players to play a key role.

    And even if we land several potential OADs… they’ll still have to win spots over experienced players, and if they start playing like typical freshmen in March, Self should allot playing time by who gives us the best chance of winning. I hope Self learned his lesson with Selby, when he gave him way too much leash in March and it cost us a potential NC.

    I think all the recent experience of Self has brought him along to where he is today, and why we are seeing changes in recruitment. And we are all just perceiving there are changes in the way he recruits. All we have to go off of is the statement by Oubre, and we’ve already experienced misunderstandings from the Oubre family.

    Self has always recruited the top players. Maybe more are coming here because of our recent track record landing more, and maybe for reasons none of us really know.

    There are many consistencies in Self’s approach all this time, including how he handled OADs. For example… Selby and X both received plenty of PT and starting nods as freshmen. Same with BMac (just consider him a one and a half done). Wiggins will step right into starting. Selden is starting.

    Maybe we should be looking at who isn’t starting yet… Embiid.

    Perhaps I’m taking a bit of a role as devil’s advocate to HEM’s feature post. I definitely don’t discount what HEM said and his skepticism about too many OADs on a team. I like the idea of a balance of experience and young talent. HEM said it best… “freshmen playing like freshmen.”

    I do respect Calipari’s ability to recruit, but from what I’ve experienced watching media, I’m not convinced of his abilities as a practice and game coach. I’m still stuck on his recruiting comments he has always made, that he is just a servant of the talent coming in on his teams, just accommodating them to reach their capabilities. That is a ridiculous philosophy and lends itself to power struggles in the coaching process.

    Calipari doesn’t sell HS recruits on his ability to coach defense. But I’m not sure Self does either (these days). That is up for scrutiny, and HEM is excellent in that role. I’d like his opinion about that.

    Self could always land in the NIT. He’s not a God. I just believe in his coaching philosophy and credit his philosophy and execution of it as the reason why we’ve won 9 conference titles in a row. And who would have guessed we would finish runner-up in 2012? There were huge holes in that line-up… we were playing walk-ons in major roles! There were no McD’s AAs on that team… few, if any, 5-star recruits. Wasn’t EJ a 5-star? Give Calipari our team that year and he’d have taken it to the NIT… I’m convinced of that! Imagine coaching TT and telling TT you are his servant?

  • Holy crap … did slayr just say what I think he said?

    “He’s not a God.”

    Oh, right … he said he’s not a God. He didn 't say that he’s not the God. I was worried he might catch a stray lightning bolt there for a moment …

    Anyway, slayr, your point is good in pointing out our non-OAD holes in 2011-12. Meaning, those weren’t caused by pursuing presumed OADs.

    I do think they are demonstrative of what happens when players leave early. I guess at least with presumed OADs you can plan for it better (remembering Self stating he got caught supposedly off guard with Kieff and Selby turning pro), thus leading to the Traylor, Lindsay, Anderson panic/necessity signings.

    And, yes, I concede that Self is a better coach than Calipari. Got me there. But in my book, Calipari is an excellent coach. Taking an extremely young group and winning a title is an amazing feat, regardless of player rank. He got them to play unselfishly, developed guys (see Bledsoe vs. us in November and then in April), and he certainly had a system that maximized their talent. Just my opinion there. But yes, Self is the best in my book, too. Izzo is a very close second.

    And on slayr’s question, I do believe that Self does sell kids on defense, because defense that’s part of getting to the NBA. I bet he sells the whole package. But I’m quite sure that’s not the glamour part of the sell job.

    Slayr’s point on Oubre’s comments is good, as well. ESPN has reported the nature of the sell well after Oubre’s comments – I kind of think if it wasn’t true, word might have crept back to ESPN on that. Jason King was some practices, Biancardi too. I too have skepticism on the premise regarding my post the other day, though. I noted that. I mean Self could have been somewhat vague. Heck, really, he could treat a Lacey (#24) much different that a top 10 guy (Oubre) when it comes to guarantees. he may offer top 10 guys guarantees. But it sure didn’t seem like Selby was guaranteed anything, and he was the #1 dude.

    It’s all a heck of lot of fun, though. Can’t wait for tomorrow night.

  • @HighEliteMajor, great thread started by and starring you.

    Just two thoughts on the other side of the ledger:

    • What else could CS do then? Everybody left and he knew it beforehand, so he recruited everybody hard because he had to. He couldn’t turn down Wiggins. Also, he did bring in some experience with Black.
    • What else can CS do now? He’s recruited so well and the recruits are looking so good that he may lose lots of players again this year. He has to recruit top talent to replace the top talent he’s going to lose.

    My point is that circumstances helped push us onto the OAD merry-go-round, and once there you can’t jump off without great short-term risk.

  • I guess I have to be counted as a fan riding on the OAD merry-go-round… I just hope I don’t get motion sickness from the ride!

    My position challenging HEM is to also see where HEM goes with it once he’s challenged. I’m trying to suck the nectar out of every issue we run through here. When it is all said and done, I think we will have covered a broad scope concerning the influx of OADs in Lawrence.

    One thing that gives me confidence through all of this… my belief that we want to run experience at the PG whenever possible. Tharpe’s quality care of the rock should help us tremendously this year. He’s also become quite the assist man in the process! It would take one heck of a OAD to unseat Tharpe! We all know that… and it helps all of us deal with Kansas and adding more OADs.

    On top of that, it appears that Mason might become every bit of Tharpe before he hangs up his Jayhawk jersey!

    That right there means 4 years of NC-threatening Jayhawk basketball! Bring on the talent to fill out the team, as long as we’ve got an experienced floor general running things (and Self on the sidelines), it is unlikely we’ll be NIT-bound.

    Those words can be etched on the side of a mountain and brought to the people by the bearded man named Moses… “so shall it be written, so shall it be done!” (something like that… anyone familiar with Cecil B. DeMille?)

    ; )

  • Paris – Ah, great questions.

    But yes, he could turn down Wiggins. He could simply decline to engage in the OAD drama. He could decline to recruit them. With Wiggins, he knew he had White, knew he had Greene. But he recruited directly over two top 50 players. Underclassmen, mind you, but talented players. And he’s recruiting right now over Tharpe, isn’t he, with the pursuit of Tyus Jones? He’s going to kick Tharpe out of the starting lineup as a senior? Yikes.

    Self could focus solely on guys that are just outside the presumed OAD line through about #60, and just build like that. Embiid and Selden don’t violate that premise as they weren’t presumed OADs when recruited.

    See, I think Self could just say no. Could just skip it. And could win national championships with that approach. Snag an OAD just to fill an obvious hole here and there – like the pursuit of Julius Randle (which led to Tarik Black after missing there).

    I will love seeing Wiggins play and help us win. But I’ll love it much more if there is no collateral damage, such as a transfer by a potential stud 3 year player, such as Brannen Greene. Like I’ve mentioned before … unless Wiggins delivers the title this season, I’d much rather have 3 or 4 years of Brannen Greene than 1 year of Wiggins. Maybe we can have both.

    I am clearly in the minority, and I understand that my opinion on this may be a touch naïve. Heck, my mind is still open to the OAD stuff. The verdict isn’t in yet.

    But Paris’ merry go round point is exactly my point to a degree … when can you jump off? Once on, you’re on. And you risk a big valley if the thing goes wrong.

  • Dragon, Huge Cecil B fan, not to mention Yule Brenner and Chuck Heston. But most likely they were Bruin fans.

  • Also, on Paris’ point … the merry go round analogy is a good part of my point. Once on, how do you get off? Do you jump? Do you hope it stops spinning? But we are forced a bit by the early departures to pursue the 3 big guys who are presumed OADs. We pretty much ignored the non-OAD guys, or got beat out for them. Ok, then, where are we for 2015-16?

    Embiid gone, Ellis likely gone, one of the 3 that we land, gone.

    Unless we land an OAD, welcome to Traylor, Lucas, and Mickelson in four man post rotation. That’s certainly possible, right? That is scary to me.

    That is exactly why I would have liked a Karviar Shepherd, or Jermaine Lawrence, or someone like that for 2013 over any presumed OAD. If we get one of those, Embiid isn’t here. Would you take that right now? To have one of those guys for three years vs. Embiid for one? I think I would. And then search out another 20 - 60 guys for the 2014 class.

    But Self isn’t clairvoyant, I don’t think. So he’s pursuing guys hard not knowing what any of these 17-18 year olds will do. It’s an inexact science. That may be the real answer. Just covering bases. This time, it has lots of OADs. Something tells me the merry go round analogy by Paris is right on.

  • I’d like to see Coach Self changes his tactic in filling up the roster when he misses all of his targets. Filling the roster with subpar talent does not help the program, but creates dilemma of how to get rid of them or making them riding the bench. I personally don’t like the signing of Mickelson, Doyle, Anderson, etc. or even Lucas. Coach Self should have hold over the scholarship to the following year and offer to someone who can contribute significantly. And I still believe Coach Self is honest and I think offering to the players who can actually contribute significantly will help him keeping his words true to his sales pitch to the recruits (but of course, I don’t know what he said to Hunter or Braeden). But in this case, I agree with HEM and many posters here that we should avoid offering to players who are outside of top 100. I think a top 10 nationally ranked player should be able to contribute significantly even as a freshman while the others probably will take a year or two before putting everything together, such as Ellis.

  • @Wishawk, with all due respect, I really don’t want Coach Self to change a thing. He’s won - what - 85% of his games here? Ten conference championships ( Nine straight !!), and a National Championship. He’s been the National Coach of the Year several times as proclaimed by several different sporting authorities. I think he should just keep doin what he’s been doin.

  • @nuleafjhawk Yes, I agree with you about Coach’s record, but I really hate seeing players who committed to the team, but got run off. Officially Coach Self never removed anyone’s scholarship, but many left, Peters, Adams, Doyle, etc. Maybe they saw the writing on the wall? But he could have avoided this situation by holding the scholarships to the next year. I’m not against offering the scholarships to any player to keep an operating roster, especially when all of the targets were missed. But once that goal is achieved, he should consider who he can add next year rather than throwing a bone to someone, then show that someone to the door when a better one shows up and needs that scholly. To me, it’s a broken promise, and he could have avoided it.

  • “Something tells me the merry go round analogy by Paris is right on.” - HEM

    HEM… I think regardless what happens the OAD ride is a merry-go-round. The spin is huge! If we win it all this year, the spin intensifies. And if we lose, or don’t replace OADs after they are gone, we’ll have more spin, but in the other direction!

    Remember being a kid on the playground? Remember spinning on the merry-go-round in one direction then quickly reversing the direction? Remember doing that right after a horrid cafeteria lunch?

    I see the potential of motion sickness.

    I just don’t see how you can expect CS not to recruit these players. He simplified his reasoning earlier by stating that he would always go after the best talent. I’m not sure what that would do for his career if he turned away from top talent and didn’t win another championship. I think part of it is a perception issue, but our reality is driven by perceptions. Self goes after the top talent and is perceived as being very competitive. His job is all about being perceived as competitive. He lands the #1 player in the country, it boosts the perception about him (and the university, and the conference).

    Until recent, Self didn’t always recruit up to everyone’s snuff and he got criticized for it. People questioned his ability to recruit… or if he was in a slump. I’m not sure how well it works to only target a specific range of recruit. Eventually, it may get harder to get those recruits, too. I think all the current players on this team are glad Wiggins joined them. It also says something for their own talent level. And it is a big plus to get to practice against the best every day in practice. Every player on this team improves by going up against Wiggins.

    What I wish for is rule changes. How about the NBA allow players right out of HS? Or make them wait 2 years? I’d even be for making them wait 3 years! Their bodies could use maturing and developing more before being pounded into submission by long, repetitive seasons!

  • @wishawk I don’t see it as these guys being run off. I think Self told them something like “with hard work, if you get substantially better in these areas, I can see the potential of playing time for you”… While this might seem harsh, the fact of the matter is that these guys, who are not NBA talent without significant improvement, get to play basketball at a blue blood program on scholarship, and practice against some of the best talent in the country. Even if these guys leave, redshirt a year and play somewhere else, they’re better off for having gotten to practice under Self. I just don’t see the downside.

  • 52 and 31 in his first college game. I wonder if anyone has had a game with that combination of numbers since then? I know Wilt probably exceeded it at some point, but goodness, what a stat line!

  • Wow. Great discussion. I always end up getting in on these discussions late since I can’t post on this site at work. I agree with Wisox about filling up the roster because you have openings. I would also favor saving scholarships for the next year. The OAD is a complicated issues that no coach wants to have to deal with but they all have no choice. Those who have said that Self (or anyone else for that matter) could choose not to recruit OADs have an argument. But realistically, if you are competitive and driven, and you know that good players win games, then you will recruit the best players you can even if they are OAD. Coaches that don’t have OADs on their roster haven’t turned any of them down. They have either not even tried because they know it is futile, or they have not been able to get any to agree to play for their school.

  • I really disagree with this whole we should not fill out the full roster with lesser talent. Scholarships are given on a yearly basis and if a lesser talented guy comes in he knows what lies ahead of him. Hard work, making the team better, improving himself and MAYBE a chance to get playing time in the future on a blue blood program. Without these guys filling out the empty spots on the roster who the hell is our team going to practice against? Walkons? Why not let the starters practice against some decent competition that will push them to their full potential. This is why Self will bring in a less talented guy and gives him a spot on the team. It makes the WHOLE team better.

  • @approxinfinity I think the downside is that it’s unfair to the players who are ranked outside of top 100, committed their future to KU, but won’t play meaningful minutes. All athletes want to compete regardless of their potential. Adams wanted to play so bad though in my opinion he has very slim chance of playing basketball professionally. I’m not sure if Hunter Mickelson and Landen Lucas signed up as practice players at KU. They will want to play meaningful minutes at some point, but with the current trend of recruiting, their chance of extended play is not very optimistic. So they will have to ask themselves, “to stay or not to stay.”

    In 2014, we may have Embiid (I see a small chance of OAD), possibly Okafor or Alexander, Ellis (junior), Mickelson (junior-RS), Traylor (junior-RS), Lucas (sophomore-RS). So Mickelson and Lucas may not play.

    Many speculated Embiid might be gone after 2 years, and Ellis may be gone after junior year. So in 2015, we will have Mickelson (senior), Lucas (junior-RS), Traylor (senior-RS). But with the current success in recruiting, it’s quite possible there will be a highly ranked sophomore and a highly ranked freshman. That means Lucas won’t play until 2016 when he is a senior. Even that is not a guarantee.

  • @wishawk good points, I certainly agree all athletes would like to play meaningful minutes. I guess I wonder if being a practice player or bit role player for one of the best coaches in the country on a team that competes for a NC is >= to playing more meaningful minutes on a team that isn’t nearly as good, for a coach who isn’t nearly as good.

    Hunter Mickelson – Razorbacks havent seen the tourney since 2007-2008. Landen Lucas – University of Washington went to NIT last two years.

    I think there is something special being part of the teams Self can field year in and year out, and just learning how to be a much better basketball player, and I like to think that both those dreams are very important to our players and are being fulfilled, regardless of abundance of PT.

  • If you are a 4 year player, and want to play for a high caliber program you have to accept the role as a development player and focus on that rather than playing time, at least in the beginning. These OAD or TAD (two and done) players WILL come in and play in front of you. No way around it, you have to accept that. If you want to play then go to a lower tier team where you can be a starter.

    We know Self values experience of the upperclassmen. So if you can bide your time, improve yourself in your weak areas and don’t make mistakes you will find playing time eventually.

  • @wissoxfan83 Wilt Chamberlain was a true OAD. There was ONE of him and then the good Lord was DONE making any more like him. I never saw him play in person, but I have read and studied him and it always bothers me when anyone compares anyone else to Wilt. There is no comparison. They man was a true freak of nature. An incredible all-around athlete.

    Here is one of my favorite KU moments of all time. I still get choked up after watching it probably 25 times…

Log in to reply