Anyone who loves college basketball is looking forward to seeing what Andrew Wiggins can do in a Kansas uniform. The Canadian import is going to be the sizzle in Allen Fieldhouse for a season at most.
But Bill Self’s teams are more often winners because there’s plenty of steak behind the sizzle. Wiggins has been extremely impressive when showcasing his athleticism, but Self’s teams rely on staunch defense and precision as well as elite hops.
Wiggins is spending most of his summer working out at home in Ontario, so his wasn’t the first name out of Self’s mouth when the Lawrence Journal-World asked him about the summer practice standouts.
Self said that sophomore forward Perry Ellis and freshman guard Wayne Selden were the team’s most consistent performers during full-squad workouts this summer.
“These guys have been absolutely great,” Self said. “They work and they’re not scared to work, and for a bunch of freshmen, they probably impressed me as much with their work ethic as anything else. So it’s gonna be a fun group to coach.”
Before Wiggins committed, Self had already assembled an outstanding group of young, talented players. For him to call out Selden using a word coaches salivate over – consistency – is a pretty good sign that the Jayhawks will be one of the most dangerous teams in the Big 12 yet again. Their hopes for a tenth straight Big 12 title will go through Marcus Smart and Oklahoma State this season, but we’ve learned never to count a Bill Self team out at this point.
When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.
LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.
Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).
All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.
The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.
Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.