Wiggins to KU big for Self

Posted on: May 15th, 2013 by jayhawktalk 1 Comment

Quick, name the best NBA player that played for the University of Kansas under Bill Self.

Did you land on Mario Chalmers? I think I did too.

Self doesn’t lack many accomplishments over the last ten years. Top 10 recruiting classes, Final 4s, National Championship, average of 30 win seasons, tons of guys drafted into the league. But for all these accomplishments, he lacks one big one.

No real stars in the NBA.

Perhaps you’ll say this doesn’t matter that much. He is a college coach, after all. His job isn’t to develop NBA All-Stars. His job is to win college basketball games.

He may be the best in the business at the latter, but has unfortunately gained the reputation as a failure in the former.

It was this reputation that some insiders cited as the reason Self had been missing on many top blue chip recruits the last couple years. It wasn’t that the recruits themselves were worried about not getting drafted. Most kids think they’re good enough to get drafted either way.

It was other coaches, insiders, runners, and inner circles that were using it against Self in recruiting.

And their message had some legitimacy based in recent history.

Consider for a moment that you are a top 10 recruit. Your dream since you were a kid was to be an NBA star. All the big named coaches are courting you to spend your one and only year of college at their school. Calipari points out the many all-stars he has sent to the league. Coach K does the same. Roy Williams and Rick Barnes and Billy Donovan and Jim Boeheim show you more examples. They start comparing you to those guys and give you anecdotes about when they were in school.

“You remind me of Rajon Rondo.” “Your game looks just like “Kyrie Irving.”

Then you come to Kansas for a visit. And while you recognize and love the coach, the fans, the history, the Fieldhouse, the exposure, the town, and the team, you keep hearing voices of those other coaches in your head: “Look at Josh Selby. Look at Xavier Henry. Look at all the NBA players that came from KU. Self may get you to the league, but you will not be a star.”

“I’ll make you a star.”

As a fan, you might be thinking something like “who cares, we don’t want that kind of kid anyway.”

I beg to differ.

It’s easy to say you don’t want those kids when you don’t get them. Then you see the impact, albeit briefly, they have on a program for one year. Does Syracuse beat KU without one-and-done Carmelo Anthony? Does Memphis nearly beat KU without one-and-done Derrick Rose? What about Anthony Davis?

Let’s face it. Recruiting top guys takes your team from good to great. And the 2013-14 Jayhawks are a prime example. The addition of Andrew Wiggins changed everything for Bill Self. It changed the expectations from Sweet 16 to National Championship. It changed the starting lineup from Andrew White to Andrew Wiggins. In one afternoon, Kansas and Bill Self were the talk of college basketball.

But it’s even more than that for Self.

Unless every NBA scout, analyst, and front office person is wrong about Wiggins’ future, his commitment to Kansas will officially wipe away the narrative that Self can’t turn top 10 recruits into NBA All-Stars.

Because Andrew will be an All-Star. And he will have gone to Kansas.

It all changed in one afternoon.


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One Response

  1. Hawk says:

    Love the article and I think that you’re right, Wiggins will be our second (Mclemore is our first chance at star production) chance to get an NBA game changer onto Self’s resume. This article cracked me up about Wiggins. http://www.rsvlts.com/2013/05/16/10-reasons-why-andrew-wiggins-is-a-once-in-a-decade-talent/

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