Why Wiggins Won Me Over

  • As an unabashed anti-OAD guy, I have to admit that I like Andrew Wiggins. It didn’t start out well. Word was he was trying to negotiate out of coming to KU during the summer. Then there was the deluge of preseason publicity. It was easy to assume that Wiggins was buying into the hype.

    Since then, though, it’s become easy to separate the OAD from the player. Wiggins, actually, is a breath of fresh air. He’s absolutely my kind of player. Every time he steps on the court, he exudes “old school.” He should have let the ‘fro grow. Here’s a few quick hits on why I have been won over by Andrew Wiggins:

    1. No Tattoos: I have to admit, any player that doesn’t succumb to the peer pressure of defacing his body with mindless tattoos scores a big plus in my book. As a mature adult, if you choose that route, great – enjoy a life of getting turned down in meaningful job interviews. But it takes some fortitude to resist the pressure like recent Jayhawk Kevin Young.

    2. Getting’ Dirty: Twice this season, Wiggins dove on the floor. Most recently vs. OSU in the Big 12 tourney (and I know I’m slacking, but I forgot to note the other time). I questioned whether it was in his DNA. Maybe it wasn’t, but perhaps it’s just a hint of nurture over nature. In any case, a finesse guy got dirty. I like it.

    3. Alpha Dog: Any questions? He has developed into what we hoped he would be. An aggressive, take it to the rack, kind of guy. A player unafraid to be “the man.” Perhaps, our Carmelo Anthony (and I love dropping that reference – it works until it doesn’t).

    4. Improvement: Wiggins has not played like KU is a pit stop. Although he has made it clear that this is a one year deal, he hasn’t coasted. He has truly taken every opportunity to improve his game. That shows every time out on the floor. Imagine if Wiggins were forced to play four seasons of college ball? Imagine if his game improved just 25% to his sophomore season, and then just 10% each successive season. He seriously could go down as the greatest player in KU history. Try it this way – would you rather have Wiggins next season, or Paul Pierce (from his sophomore season)? That’s your answer.

    5. Coachable: Why has Wiggins improved? Because he can be coached. That’s a choice he didn’t have to make. He is obviously willing to accept coaching. You can see how he has attempted to listen to coach Self and play the way coach Self wants him to. Early in the season, there were times we could mistaken Wiggins for Randy Moss – he’d take a few plays off here and there. We’d see him lumber up and down the court. I just don’t see that any more.

    6. Class: Have you ever seen Wiggins pound his chest after a great play? Have you ever seen him scream in an opponent’s face? Have you ever seen him attempt to show up another player? Exactly. The guy plays the game the right way.

    7. Humility: I’ve heard a lot of Wiggins’ comments and interviews. I have never gotten even a hint that Wiggins is full of himself. He conducts himself with humility and rarely makes any situation about himself. He praises teammates and coaches. Like nearly every 19 year old kid, he isn’t the most at ease in front of the camera. But he makes it clear that there is a game beyond Andrew Wiggins. That’s nice.

    8. Plays To Win: This season has not been about Andrew Wiggins’ prepping for the NBA. After assessing Wiggins for 30+ games, it seems quite clear that the guy is playing to win every game. Our first hint came against Florida when he willed us back into the game. The icing on the cake was the monumental performance against West Virginia. Winning is the priority.

    9. No Drama Queen: One concern coming in was how he’d mesh with teammates. Would there be drama? Would there be discord? The only drama was media created. By all accounts, he’s been a perfect teammate and has created zero drama. It appears that he has had no negative impact on chemistry. In fact, all I see is positive energy. I have never once felt that he has dragged this team down with negativity.

    10. Defensive Effort: As impressive as Wiggins has been on the offensive end, his defensive effort has won me over. Watching an assured OAD dig deep on the defensive end was perhaps not expected, but it has certainly been a pleasant surprise. It’s the effort that is most impressive.

    Watching Wiggins play this season has been a pleasure. It’s easy to enjoy great performances, but it’s even better when the guy brings so many other positives to the table. Wish we had him another season.

  • If I could push the favorite button 10 consecutive times I would!

    All valid points!

    I like how he talks respectfully about Coach Self and praises him for all his help.

    I like the fact that he isn’t an online drama queen. No second-by-second account of his day, full of false drama.

    He does a great job of lock down defense in a time when refs are wanting to call the slightest touch.

    And we can feel assured, Andrew will be a good rep for Kansas as he takes on his next role in the NBA. He’s not going to be one of these dudes that gets busted with cocaine, hookers and an unregistered firearm in his car. He’ll pick his posse carefully. And I seriously doubt he’ll make $500mil and then be broke a few years later!

    I see him eventually finishing his degree.

    I’m also glad to see a tattoo-free body. Maybe he has hidden one… ha… but I doubt it. I understand peoples’ desire to express themselves… but I’m with you that if you want to permanently adjust your skin, you should be an adult. That is more than being 21. You should act like an adult! I told several of my God kids that if they want a tattoo, carefully draw the design out first, and tape it to their bathroom mirror for a year first. Look at it every day. Still not sick of it after a year? Then go ahead and knock yourself out!

  • @HighEliteMajor Great points and well expressed as usual! I was thinking simply that he has been great due to his humility and buying into the team first mentality. You delved deeper. Couldn’t agree more.

  • Andrew Wiggins has been a great KU team player and role model since day 1! It wouldn’t change if he had tattoos.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Well said! He’s one cool cat under the circumstances. We’ve never had such national attention brought to one player. I’m sure Wilt was a big deal at the time but he didn’t have the scrutiny of the instantaneous news cycle not to mention twitter updates on class attendance.

    Ever notice how well he reacts to poor officiating? He doesn’t cry or scowl but simply carries on above the fray.

    I’m so proud of this kid and know he will represent our university well in the future both in the league and as a citizen of North America!!!

  • @HighEliteMajor -

    1. I’m not real sure what a “mindless” tattoo is. I’ve got a few well thought out tattoos so I’m going to ignore that one.

    2. Falling on the floor a couple of times doesn’t really constitute getting after it in my book, but hey - a couple of times in 32 games is better than none I guess.

    3. There was a fellow named Wilt once…

    I agree with all your other points - especially #10. He is a defensive beast and that has endeared me to him.

  • I think I know what HEM’s point is about the tattoos.

    When young kids get them it is one of those “instant gratification” moments. That’s why I made rules with my God kids. Looking at a design for a year made them realize the permanence… and it also took away the instant gratification buzz from having it done without much thought to it. That’s where the “mindless tattoo” comment comes in. Kids should realize their tastes and attitudes will change rapidly as they fight their way through adulthood.

    I’m glad I made those rules… 4 of my 5 God kids went ahead without waiting a year. 2 of them kept it a secret for a long time. The 5th kid was afraid of needles. So much for Godfather rules!

    I’m considering tattoos now… to cover up some of my scars and wrinkles! 😉

  • @drgnslayr so if Wiggins decides at some pt to get them, do we admire him less? Do we have less respect for Releford?

  • @HighEliteMajor I’m with slayr, in that I couldn’t like this post enough. It is especially nice seeing it from you, considering I know that you were against the Wiggins experiment (not against Wiggins, but against bringing in any OAD at that position unless it bore the fruit of a national championship). Maybe that hasn’t changed, but it’s nice to see how you can separate that and appreciate the player.

  • @HEM Wiggins has won me over as well and your list matches mine. Perhaps a different order (I tend to agree with the Tattoos point, but it’s probably not #1 on my list.)

    I would put #6 Class, #7 Humility, #10 Defensive Effort at or near the top.

    Also would submit a couple of others:

    Eleven – Articulate: For an 18/19-year-old who is getting questions of all sorts and motivations, he’s amazingly poised and thoughtful about his answers and responses. A great ambassador for our team and our university.

    Twelve – Sheer Athleticism: See SportsScience: Andrew Wiggins

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    It doesn’t drive my respect for anyone. I am doubtful that young kids can make good decisions for their skin at that age… but I won’t hold that against them. But I will take notice of the kids that decided to wait until they are older for something like that. I think it just shows a sign of maturity… that they weren’t swayed by the moment of instant gratification.

    Hey… I’m the last guy on earth that is going to pass judgment on anyone for something like that. I may not have gone the way of inking… but I made plenty of instant gratification decisions in my days! And I’m not against quality ink… but hope people make wise decisions. On this… I think kids should wait. Are they at their most cerebral moment in their entire lives at 18? You should be at a pretty high state to make such a permanent commitment. Kind of like marriage… or pregnancy.

    In the very least… kids that get tats everywhere have now spent their space on ideas they had as kids. But they will spend most of their lives as adults (unless tragedy occurs). So it seems wise to wait until you are an adult before you paint your canvas complete. Leave blank canvas for later… and then fulfill your desires at the right moment!

    Fortunately… I’m done making decisions about it for myself! 😉

  • @drgnslayr I’m not a fan of them, but I don’t think it should be a factor of how we judge someone’s character. Look at Tarik, could there be a more Godly man, who also graduated in 3 years? Does anyone really think he’ll have trouble finding a job?

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I totally agree with you. Hair, piercings, tattoos… shouldn’t be a factor in judging someone. But in reality it does impact judgments. The judgments aren’t going to be always bad or good. The person with full body tattoos may have a hard time getting a good job. But that same person might find a mate easier, especially with similar tastes because they are broadcasting their expression. Tattoos also benefit people financially… what if you are trying to make it in a heavy metal band… what? no tattoos? Explain yourself! Or contemporary fine artist…

    What I do like is everyone finding their own identity. People are more open to express themselves and who they are. That is a positive… and it puts lots of different looks and feels out there. The diversity will surely help our society in the future because people grow more tolerant.

    What bugs me is the permanence. I can only view it within myself. I change my mind constantly… I could never be satisfied with seeing the same design on my body. I’d want to change it constantly. Guess I’m more in line for a henna tattoo!

    I don’t think Tar will have a problem finding a job. I’d hire him in a minute!

  • @drgnslayr maybe a Mohawk. The kid across from me has one. We won state in fb and he was all state. He’s one bad ass looking dude, he’s soooo not like that!!! It’s a work in progress for me to be more tolerant. I could see Tarik teaching kindergarten, like kindergarten cop.

  • My greatest concern, at the outset, was that the signing of Andrew Wiggins might eventually, in some shape or form, tilt or upset the balance of our man at the helm of Jayhawk Basketball. At this stage, I feel comfortable in dismissing any vestige of such concerns. If anything, Bill Self has grown and probably broadened his future scope and impact on Division 1 Hoops as it is best administered and played. If my son or grandson were an ubertalented recruit, I would pay heed to the attention of a coach who was selective enough to evaluate and bring the likes of Andrew Wiggins into his esteemed program; a coach who could tutor and develop such talent to steady ascension regardless of unreal pressures from external media hype and fan expectations. It is, indeed, to be respectfully acknowledged that the two human beings involved have handled the situation so comfortably. Two very talented, very special people.

  • @REHawk perfectly said!

  • @HighEliteMajor -If I had three friggin thumbs they’d all be up! Great thread HEM !! As you raise the bar for those who post their opinions & observations on buckets, Andrew is the OAD that literally sets the bar for each & every kid that plays, not just the OAD’s. The thing I enjoy about him the most is #6. I’m old school in that I don’t believe there is any room for showboating on the court. Butkus once said if you make a play & act as if it’s something special, think again dumbass-that’s what you’re supposed to do. Also many employers will refuse to hire people with any tattoos that cannot be covered by clothing, however I don’t think it’s a problem in the profession he has chosen. In some Asian countries, criminals are still tattooed as a formal permanent public show of disgrace. Shows how unrefined people of this country are IMO. Coachable, likable, humble, subtle, you swished em all HEM. And since he truly is what he is, we may never be satisfied with another OAD again. But this kid is a real jewel, and a damn good athlete & player to boot. Again HEM, damn great post-sorry but I only have 2 thumbs !

  • Also for those who read this chatter & are not knowledgeable in some of the cultures & ways of the world, do not offer your left hand in friendship to those of mid eastern nations. LOL. They use their left hand right before they scoot like a dog & they may take it personal !! Just sayin…

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Excellent points HEM. I am not a fan of tattoos; to me they are cry for attention.

    Also, Wiggins has dove to the floor a lot more that two times this season.

  • @HighEliteMajor I love all these things about Wiggins, and as others have mentioned ANY player OAD or otherwise could learn something about the points you made. More than anything I like the way he carries himself on and off the court. Great young man with some great parenting.

  • I will simplify my reasoning for liking Andrew Wiggins over a lot of OADs.

    He’s a player. He’s not arrogant or selfish. He just plays the game like he’s been there before.

    That’s why he didn’t go to Kentucky

  • Definitely agree with all of these points. I am very satisfied with Andrews improvement over the 8 months he’s been here. At times I question his want to, but I also understand that some of us are reserved in our behavior until we become comfortable in a new environment. He has been showing us the last few weeks what many of us knew he could do.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    This one is for you! I love the Birdman’s energy!


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  • @HighEliteMajor-There’s little doubt that Wigs could be thought of as an equal to our most prized All American Jayhawks ever, if he were to play 3 or 4 years. They may have broken the mold for Andrew, but what a breath of fresh air he has given our program & the CBB OAD’s everywhere.

  • @JRyman you know, you nailed it exactly, he chose Kansas! He knew what that meant as opposed to the razzle dazzle of other schools. Wiggins coming here has a tremendous effect for recruiting, along w/others programs showing their true colors! We have always been about team. Kansas players understand that! I’m hoping to see Wiggins do a little fist pumping in the coming weeks, I love it!

  • @drgnslayr ewwww! Thanks so much!

  • Word was he was trying to negotiate out of coming to KU during the summer.

    Never heard of that one before. Can anyone else confirm that? Thanks.

  • @Wishawk

    There has been tons of gossip since Andrew chose Kansas… most of it, no doubt, from our competitors, both schools and certain biased media.

    That claim makes no sense at all. First… Andrew carefully made his selection, so he wasn’t going to just jump out of it. That may be the case with lots of these recruits that don’t tackle their college experience with respect and dedication. I seriously doubt Andrew tried to get out of his commitment. Second… what other option offered him more? Remember, part of his decision was to be close to his brother at WSU.

    Oops… I guess you meant not coming to Lawrence for the summer instead of leaving the Jayhawk team all together. Well… my bad… and now I’ll just start another rumor.

    Probably a rumor started by Cal. He must have been in tears over losing Andrew.

    Andrew is a perfect candidate for false rumors because he always stays quiet… so unless a false rumor builds into something huge and destructive, he won’t be out denying anything. He’s too low key to get involved with daily gossip.

  • @Wishawk I thought he was going to play some summer ball w/his Canadian team.

  • And don’t believe anything about Wiggins not coming to UK because he didn’t want to attend summer school. He’s planning to spend a month in the Czech Republic playing with the Canadian national team this summer and that’s why he won’t be in summer school with his future Kansas teammates. “I just know he’s relieved to have this all behind him and had a hard time making this decision,” Price said. “But he really is a great kid and I hope everyone respects the decision he made.”

  • The real underground gossip was that Andrew worked for the CIA (Canadian Intelligence Agency) and was heading off to teach Latin at Fort McMurray in Alberta.

  • Here is an excellent read from Jesse. Sure glad he is still around…


    This is some key information to know, especially potentially later on in the tourney, if we get our game with Syracuse.

    As many of you know, there are ways to attack the Syracuse zone. And like any other zone, you attack at the seams and edges.

    If we are able to draw the Syracuse guards out high, that leaves a sweet spot around the FT line for a quick player, like Andrew, to dart in and get his shot.

    After reading Jesse’s piece, it is apparent we would want to put in some practice perfecting Andrew in this role. The practice would have to involve making sure Andrew has flowing catch-and-shoots in this seam. Another thing to work on… use Wayne in the same role. Actually, what works best is to have both our wings attack from 3 and in this seam.

    I hope we get our shot at Syracuse!

  • @drgnslayr and @Crimsonorblue22 I remember a lot of chatter of about Wiggins not coming during summer school, but I’d never heard he ever questioned his commitment to KU. So it’s a surprise to learn he was trying to “negotiate out of coming to KU”. Actually I commend his commitment to his country. It’s always the highest honor to play/fight for one’s country. So I’d have supported his desire to play for this national team, even if it was for U19 in the summer.

  • @Wishawk

    He was never trying to get out of his commitment… and I’m doubtful he tried to negotiate out of summer attendance either. He spoke many times about the importance of creating cohesion quickly with the Jayhawks and that being here with the other teammates was vital.

  • @HEM. Good points all around. Thanks for doing. Did you copy and paste it to the other forum for all the Debbie Downers over there?

  • @drgnslayr trying to remember, Self ok’d his summer commitment and then Wiggins changed his mind and came anyway? Something like that. It was all public knowledge, nothing secretive!

  • @RockChalkinTexas - Nah, I didn’t. Didn’t see the point. Some days I do see the point. Most days I don’t.

    @wishawk - I perhaps phrased that wrong. Should have said “It had been rumored …” as opposed to “Word was …” I think it was all baloney. And that’s kind of what I meant. There was the discussion that he wanted to play on the Canada team; there was discussion that he wanted to show up late and not take summer classes.

    @drgnslayr pretty much summed up my feelings on the tattoo thing. Appreciate that explanation.

    @bskeet – my list wasn’t in any particular order, but maybe listing the tattoo thing first was a subconscious “first test” for me. But maybe not. I have nothing but good things to say about Tarik Black, as well (except for the early foul stuff).

  • @drgnslayr I waited until I was 53 to get my first one, so I feel like I didn’t just jump right into it! lol

    I also talked to (ok, asked) my wife, my pastor and my kids before I did it. I spent a lot of time researching who I wanted to do it and could not be happier with my tattoo artist. I’ve got two very nice, quality tattoos right now and have an appointment for another one in the next few months.

    They are located where nobody will see them unless I have my shirt off ( Oh LORD! ) so it’s not like I’m jumping up and down saying " look at me, look at me ! ".

    Anyway, I know it’s not for everyone, but I’m very happy with mine. Maybe we should talk about gardening or something??

  • Someone earlier mentioned that tattoos are a “cry for attention”, from here forward referred to as CFA.

    I didn’t want to call that individual out or reply directly as that might constitute a CFA and besides, after much consideration, I believe this individual is correct.

    SO - I spent my day:

    Painting my house white with light gray trim.

    Traded my maroon Jeep for a less gaudy tan one.

    Got my haircut and shaved my mustache. I blend in much more nicely now.

    Had my wife get rid of her earrings, jewelry and high heels - VERY ostentatious!

    We got rid of all brightly colored clothes - now we only have white, gray and flat black. Shiny black is kind of " looky here!!" ya know.

    I told a guy with a red 'vette that he should be ashamed of himself. He apologized and said he would trade it in for a beige 1987 Chysler Cordoba. He seemed like a man of his word.

    I had to apologize to a whole restaurant full of people when I pumped my fist in the air and said " whooo hoooooo " at the end of the Ohio State game. One of my worst CFA displays ever…

    OK - refer to jaybate 1.0 disclaimer. - no malice, all in fun. If I was serious, that would be a CFA and I simply will not have that.

  • @nuleafjhawk If you do all those things, you’d fit in in Johnson County wonderfully. 🙂

  • @nuleafjhawk

    I have a tattoo no one can find on my body. Yes… it is REALLY, REALLY small. But I was in a jam one night with a group of biker friends and we were all wasted and out on the town. They all got huge tattoos at the end of the night (to go with their other tattoos), and I think they were going to hold me down and have it done if I didn’t accept one. I have nothing against tattoos, but I have a respect for my body and only will get one if it fits me right. That went down 20+ years ago.

    I used to be a merchant marine, and guys would put their ships on their arms, like old sailors did. I always relate tattoos in that way, and so they have very deep meanings to me. I have a hard time understanding most tattoos, but I respect everyone’s decision for themselves. For me, if I was to get one it would be the ship I was most fond of working on in the North Sea… Astrid!

  • @nuleafjhawk I like the old nuleafjhawk better! Anyone can be beige! I’m so glad you are not! Are you going to share what tats you have? After what you said about your shirt off, I’ll pass on pics! Jk

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    “trying to remember, Self ok’d his summer commitment and then Wiggins changed his mind and came anyway? Something like that. It was all public knowledge, nothing secretive!”

    Might be the case. I just recall Andrew himself making comments about the importance of him being here with his new teammates.

  • @drgnslayr really? What and where is it?

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Ha… that’s a secret. But it isn’t inside an orifice or under hair. It is impossible to find, and I’ve made bets if anyone can find it and so far no one has. Then I show them, and they realize. The color of the tattoo is that standard blue/green. My wife looked twice, an hour each time, and couldn’t find it. Obviously, she knows now!

    Funny thing… it actually fits me right. I’m lucky the tattoo artist was cool and helped me with the decision. One of those late nights in Amsterdam…

  • @drgnslayr hhmmmm, really? Have me wondering? Maybe on your deathbed you will tell us???

  • @nuleafjhawk

    After I hung up my high tops (after knee surgery), my personality changed.

    I went for long hair, all the way down my back, and for a while I went with a Dali mustache! I miss that thing… but it was a heck of a lot of work! I made my own mustache wax. On really hot days it went wild!

    The mustache is long gone… many moons ago. But I still have a tail!

    Still have one ear pierced from my days at sea.

    I may be stuck on land… but I’m still a dry pirate! Still have a nice motorbike, too! I’ve had a motorbike continuously for the last 41 years! It used to be my only transport in Northern Europe. I loved riding in snow! Big boots and kicked my legs out… I could haul a$s in a straight line! People couldn’t believe their eyes… a motorbike flying through snow! Naturally, I had enduro tires.

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