No pressure, no diamonds

Originally posted on Rock Chalk Blog: October 9th, 2013.

With the GQ cover and the recently leaked Sports Illustrated cover, it’s clear that the Andrew Wiggins hype is astronomical. What’s even crazier, he hasn’t seen a second of game time in the crimson and blue for KU.

The first and only time he’s suited up for the Jayhawks was for the “glorified scrimmage” during Late Night in the Phog on October 4th.

During the video for Late Night, two phrases came across the screen that stuck with fans. Those phrases being: “nine straight” and “no pressure, no diamonds.” If Wiggins isn’t feeling the pressure yet, he soon will.

During Late Night, head coach Bill Self instilled excitement into the crowd by pointing up into the rafters where the five national championship banners are located and announced “it’s time to hang one more banner up there.”

The KU fan base wants nothing less than a National Championship this season and who better to put the pressure on than Wiggins.

What is he capable of? During his senior season in high school, he scored 750 points.  750 points in a single season: that’s ridiculous. He shot 283-of-487 with a field goal percentage of 58%. From behind the arch, he shot 38-of-106 for 36 percent.  From behind the line, Wiggins shot 146-of-239, shooting 61%.

Wiggins had two games in his senior season that he made 100 percent of his free throws. He also had a single game where he made every shot he took.

He also had 161 recorded offensive rebounds, 194 recorded defensive rebounds, 79 assists, 76 steals, 32 forced turnovers and 82 blocked shots. As amazing as the Canadian superstar’s statistics sound, it’s easy to see why Wiggins was the No. 1 recruit for the class of 2013.

However, Wiggins wasn’t the first of his recruiting class to get a Sports Illustrated cover. Duke freshman Jabari Parker beat him to it back in May of 2012. Parker and Wiggins will be share the spotlight November 12th when Kansas and Duke play each other at the United Center in Chicago, IL. Both highly ranked in the pre-season, it is very possible we’ll see the two back at it in March or April.

As for pressure, Wiggins isn’t handling the load by himself. Freshman Wayne Selden, Jr. received praise recently in the media: “Wayne Selden is the hardest practicing freshman I’ve encountered in more than a quarter century on the college basketball beat,” raved Mike DeCourcy.

Even still, Wiggins and Selden aren’t alone.  There are four other freshman on the KU squad. Frank Mason, Brannen Greene, Joel Embiid, and Conner Frankamp all signed with the University to play this season. Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden, Jr. were ranked in the top 15 recruit wise (Embiid-No.6, Selden, Jr.-No. 14) Conner Frankamp and Brannen Greene were listed at 46th and 47th as well. According to Sports Illustrated, the Kansas class was the best recruiting class of the year. The classes behind Kansas were Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, and Michigan State.

With all the publicity can Wiggins and the Kansas crew live up to the hype? Will they crack under pressure? Fans and critics aside can find out when the Jayhawks’ season begins in Allen Fieldhouse on October 29th.

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