Much has been made about the reaction to Kansas freshman wing Andrew Wiggins’ first workouts for his new coaching staff, with an unnamed source stating to Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com that watching Wiggins was “like watching a video game.”
On Wednesday some lucky campers at the Kansas Basketball Camp got to watch Wiggins play some 5-on-5 with both new teammates and former Jayhawks. A full video recap of the proceedings isn’t available, but there is a clip of Wiggins taking flight with former Kansas center Cole Aldrich playing the role of spectator.
It’s likely safe to say that anyone who had the opportunity to watch Wiggins with either Huntington (W. Va.) Prep or the CIA Bounce grassroots program knew that he’s an elite athlete. But that dunk isn’t the most important thing to take out of the scrimmage.
Hearing positive things about Ellis and Black is certainly a positive, even though we’re still months away from teams playing games that have actual value.
With the graduation of Jeff Withey and Kevin Young, Kansas head coach Bill Self needs both Ellis and Black to be factors inside if the Jayhawks are to win a Big 12 regular season title for the tenth consecutive season (outright or shared).
As a freshman Ellis averaged 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, with three of his best outings coming in March. The Wichita native scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed six rebounds in the Jayhawks’ Big 12 semifinal victory over Iowa State. And for an encore Ellis tallied another 12 points and six rebounds in the Big 12 title game victory over Kansas State the following day.
In regards to Black, he certainly gives Kansas a boost in the experience department but a key for him (and one that can’t be measured in a scrimmage, obviously) is the ability to remain on the floor. As a junior at Memphis, Black (8.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg) averaged 3.3 fouls per game and fouled out of seven contests.
While Kansas won’t lack depth with redshirt sophomore Jamari Traylor and freshmen Joel Embiid and Landen Lucas (redshirt) also available, Black’s experience will be of value to Self’s young front court provided he avoids ending up in foul trouble on a consistent basis.
So while we can certainly enjoy the brief aerial display put on by Wiggins, the positive words regarding the play of Black and Ellis could prove to be even more important once game action begins.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.