ST. LOUIS — If you wondered when the No. 1 recruit in the nation, the next Michael Jordan, the next LeBron James, might start living up to all the ridiculous hype, for Andrew Wiggins, the time is right about now.
College basketball’s most famous Canadian has scored 93 points in his last three games, making 28 of 56 shots, as his Kansas Jayhawks prepare to play Eastern Kentucky here on Friday.
“We’ve been trying to pull him for awhile,” Kansas coach Bill Self said Thursday. “But looking back now, it’s gone at exactly the perfect pace.”
If you look at the stats, said Self, Wiggins has scored most of his points in games in which Kansas has lost, meaning he’s tried harder to help his team in difficult circumstances. Wiggins has scored his fewest in games in which KU won, meaning that he wants his teammates to get the glory.
“He’s kept a very even keel approach, not too high, not too low the whole year,” said the coach. “But I do think he has a flair for the moment.”
Self was asked about the Sports Illustrated pre-season story that hyped Wiggins even more, comparing him to another famous Kansas freshman, Wilt Chamberlain, including re-creating a picture in which Chamberlain was tying his shoes.
“I thought it was very cool,” Self said. “It was totally unfair, but not unfair in anyone trying to hurt him. . . . But I think it was good for him. If he didn’t get hit in the eyes early on he wouldn’t be prepared for what was going to happen to him. I do think it was good for him overall.”
Does Wiggins now have a chance to prove some of his critics wrong in this NCAA Tournament?
“He does based on his team winning,” Self said. “That’s the most important thing. But for us to advance, he has to play a huge, huge role.”