Andrew Wiggins

Kansas lost, but Jayhawk fans should be happy after the Colorado game

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Dear Kansas fans: Do not start freaking out just yet.

I know what happened on Saturday. I saw Colorado’s Askia Booker hit that buzzer-beating, euro-stepping three to beat the No. 6 Jayhawks, 75-72. I saw the bench mob him at half court and Jimmy Dykes ask him questions on ESPN in the postgame that made little-to-no sense. I watched it all happen.

And I’m still telling you that Saturday was a good thing for your team.

Because Andrew Wiggins finally started to look like the Andrew Wiggins that we’ve been telling you all about.

The bottom-line for this Kansas team is that they won’t be any better than normal without Wiggins playing like a go-to guy. He needs to command defensive attention and demand the ball on the offensive end of the floor. He needs to be a freight train with busted brakes running downhill in transition. He needs to attack the glass and be a night mare on the defensive end of the floor.

Remember, as good as the likes of Joel Embiid, Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis are, before Wiggins made the decision to play his collegiate ball in Lawrence, this group was a borderline top 25 team. They were thought to be right there with Baylor as a distant second in the Big 12 race, trailing Oklahoma State. They were a talented group that had just a little bit too much youth and not quite enough point guard play.

The reason they jumped into everyone’s top five or top ten was Wiggins.

And the reason that they haven’t played like a top five or a top ten team to date is … well, Wiggins.

It’s not that he has played poorly. In fact, he’s been pretty good, averaging 14.3 points, 5.6 boards and shooting 49.3% from the floor entering Saturday. But pretty good isn’t enough for Kansas, especially when Wiggins defers far too often in critical moments. Thus far this season, the guys that Kansas has gone to in those big moments have been Frank Mason and Naadir Tharpe, with a sprinkling of Perry Ellis in there as well. And with all due respect to those three, that’s not a group that will strike fear in the hearts of national title contenders.

On Saturday, it was Wiggins taking over in the second half. He finished with 17 of his 22 points after the break, attacking the rim in transition, remaining active on the offensive glass and helping to slow down Colorado’s offense in the second half at the top of the Jayhawk’s 1-2-2 zone. It was his best game at the collegiate level, and the first time that he looked like he was starting to figure out just how unstoppable he can be.

Colorado noticed as well. Down 72-70 with 11 seconds left, Bill Self even designed a sidelines out-of-bounds play built entirely around using Wiggins as a decoy to get Ellis a driving look at the rim.

Here’s the scarier part: Wiggins didn’t even play his best basketball. He made some dumb passes and he committed some silly fouls. He’s still got room to improve.

He’ll get there, but it’s a learning process.

So while this loss will hurt for a while — it should, losing like that stinks — at the end of the day, Kansas just lost to a top four team in the Pac-12 on the road at the buzzer. Colorado’s a good team.

Kansas is, too.

And they’re only going to get better if Saturday was truly Wiggins getting ready to take that next step.

Because if Wiggins doesn’t, Kansas will not live up to expectations.

VIDEO: Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson throws down under-the-legs dunk after making 3-pointer

"CHARLOTTE, NC - JULY 9: Terrance Ferguson during the 2015 Under Armour All-America Basketball Camp on July 9, 2015 at Queens College in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Under Armour)"
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Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson has been known as one of the best dunkers in the country for the last few years. So you knew the 6-foot-6 wing was going to attempt the latest internet dunk craze that’s been going around.

Some call it the, “5-point play” in which the dunker makes a 3-pointer and immediately sprints following the shot release to catch the make for an under-the-legs dunk.

It’s as tough as it sounds and Ferguson makes it look easy.

VIDEO: Manute Bol’s 6’11” son Bol Bol throws down in-game under-the-legs dunk

McPherson's Jacob Loecker attempts to steal the ball form Shawnee Mission-Bishop Miege's Bol Bol during the first quarter of the boys' Class 4A Division I state championship basketball game Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Salina, Kan. (Travis Morrise/The Hutchinson News via AP)
(Travis Morrise/The Hutchinson News via AP)
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Bol Bol is the son of former NBA center Manute Bol, and the younger Bol is earning quite a bit of attention himself as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2018.

The 6-foot-11 Bol showed off some of his freakish coordination and athleticism on Friday night, by ripping a steal and taking it coast-to-coast for an under-the-legs dunk in the middle of a game at the Jayhawk Invitational.

Bol will be one of the players to watch this spring as he plays with KC Run GMC.

Iowa State guard Naz Mitrou-Long gets hardship waiver to play additional year

Iowa State guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long defends Buffalo guard Jarryn Skeete during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 84-63. (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
(AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
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Iowa State got a boost to its roster for next season as senior guard Naz Mitrou-Long has been granted a hardship waiver by the Big 12 conference.

“Everything happens for a reason and although it hurt to not be able to play for a group of guys I loved last year, my body needed time to recover and that time off allowed me to feel the best I’ve felt since my freshman year,” Mitrou-Long said in the release. “I’m glad I’ll be able to play for the best fans in the country and represent the name on the front of my jersey, Iowa State, one more year. Words can’t describe this feeling. Cyclone Nation, be ready for a special year.”

The 6-foot-4 Long played in eight games last season for Iowa State as he averaged 12 points per game. He missed the rest of the season to deal with pain in his surgically repaired hips. Mitrou-Long has been a very effective three-point shooter during his career at Iowa State and he should be a nice option to have for next season if he’s healthy.

CIAA will stay in North Carolina despite state’s LGBT law

Protesters rally against House Bill 2 in Raleigh, N.C.,  Monday, April 25, 2016. While demonstrations circled North Carolina's statehouse on Monday, for and against a Republican-backed law curtailing protections for LGBT people and limiting public bathroom access for transgender people, House Democrats filed a repeal bill that stands little chance of passing. (Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP)
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association says it won’t move its headquarters, its basketball tournament or other conference championships from North Carolina, despite the state’s controversial new LGBT law.

The CIAA said in a statement Thursday that it will instead partner with the NCAA to educate its members on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues as it does on other issues, like graduation rates and concussion management.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the CIAA, the oldest African-American sports conference in the U.S., has hosted its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte since 2006 and announced it was moving its headquarters to Charlotte from Virginia in 2015.

The CIAA said Thursday that it will continue to “monitor the issues,” as it has since House Bill 2 passed.

 

VIDEOS: Stephen Curry personally invites athletes to his select camp

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, left, holds the championship trophy and Andre Iguodala holds the series MVP trophy as they celebrate winning the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 105-97 to win the best-of-seven game series 4-2. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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As he did last year, the NBA’s MVP is sending out personal invites to Under Armour’s SC30 Select Camp for some of the best high school and college point guards in the country.

It’s a pretty cool thing for the kids. Can you imagine how you would feel as a high school junior getting a personalized invitation to a camp from Stephen Curry himself?