We’ve been extolling the virtuoso talent of Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins since he burst onto the scene over the last two years. But the soft-spoken Canadian isn’t too comfortable with the comparisons to the two best players in the NBA right now, Kevin Durant and LeBron James.
During the Big 12’s media day yesterday, Wiggins told ESPN’s Myron Medcalf, that the comparisons are unfair:
“I’ve got a long way to go before I can be compared to LeBron and Durant,” Wiggins said. “Those are the best players in the world right now and I’m still in college. So I think it’s really unfair to compare me to someone of that caliber. Hopefully one day I can be compared to them, but I think I still have a long way to go before I can be.”
The 6-8 Kansas freshman is considered as much of a lock to be selected No. 1 in next summer’s draft, as any player since James came out of high school in 2003. But as Kansas coach Bill Self said on media day, the hype surrounding his freshman is incongruous with his humble personality:
“Well, he hasn’t asked for any of it,” Self said. “If you talk to him, he’s humble and a lowkey guy that deflects attention as much as anybody I’ve been around. But when you hear those things, it’s not fair. … He’s just Andrew.”
The self-effacing Wiggins is considered one of the best high school players of the last decade, and with that come the inevitable comparisons to ‘Bron, and to a lesser extent Durant. Both were heavily recruited out of high school with James making the jump before the NBA’s age limit and Durant playing one year at Texas before being drafted by the Supersonics (RIP) with the second pick in the 2007 Draft. Wiggins has already been featured on the cover of SI, and he’s appearing in next month’s GQ Magazine as well, so the hype will continue to be ratcheted up as the college basketball season tips off.
Jonathan Givony of Draft Express said of Wiggins â€” even after he looked tired at this year’s Nike Hoop Summit â€” that, “All in all, nothing Wiggins has shown on the court leads us to believe there is a better NBA prospect anywhere in high school basketball.”
We’ll see if Wiggins has the mental fortitude to block out all the hyperbolic prognosticators envisioning a franchise-changing future to focus on his freshman season. His draft stock can’t go anywhere but down, as Dime‘s co-founder noted in a hypothetical earlier this month, but his “aw shucks” demeanor seems like the perfect antidote for not letting it go to his head.
What do you think?
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