Brew: Wiggins meets, handles hype well

Before Andrew Wiggins’ feet even touched Naismith Drive when he made his decision to commit to Kansas and Bill Self on May 14, he was pegged as “Maple Jordan,” and the “best recruit since” discussion began.

After weeks of conversing among message boards, recruiting analysts and other experts on where the highly coveted Canadian recruit was going to attend college, Wiggins finally chose to commit to Kansas. The hype, the juicy stories and videos have only been magnified since then.

Wiggins will likely share preseason awards for Big 12 player of the year with returning Big 12 POY Marcus Smart. It’s going to be a battle that will be closely watched all season, and he will surely be a contender for National POY.  Wiggins will have the chance to break many of Kansas’ freshman and single-season records including Ben McLemore’s, which will be only a year-old record for most points scored by a Jayhawk freshman.

NBA teams are already talking about where he’ll be going and if he can live up to the hype, similar to what Harrison Barnes experienced and failed to live up to. But for now, it’s all about his time in Lawrence for about a year and how big of an effect he will have on the Kansas team.

Wiggins has been on campus for about one month now, and the hype hasn’t curtailed in any sense. Sure, it’s a little quieter on the college basketball front, but the talk has been constantly stupendous.

From the YouTube video of Wiggins dunking over Cole Aldrich to other rumblings about his supreme athletic abilities in practice, the hoopla hasn’t dwindled, and the build-up continues all over Lawrence.

The splash has been exposed off the court, too. Stores have begun selling No. 22, Wiggin’s jersey number this year. One of the popular sports gear stores in Lawrence that has begun selling the jersey is Jock’s Nitch, 916 Massachusetts St.

Scott Ozier, manager of the store, said the excitement has definitely commenced and Wigggins gear been a staple merchandise of the store.

“We’ve been selling for about three weeks now, and there’s certainly been a lot of buzz around it,” Ozier said.

The whole irony in all this is, of course, that Andrew Wiggins is one of the humblest guys you’ll encounter, as reinforced by his high school coach Rob Fulford in an interview with USA TODAY Sports.

When asked about how Wiggins handles all this pressure of being the best and a potential No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, Fulford said, “He doesn’t really like to talk about himself like that. He’s not the kid that loves the spotlight. I do believe that he knows how good he is and, at the end of the year, he started to understand how much of an impact his name has. But he takes it all in stride.”

Wiggins is just a few months removed from being in high school, and the landscape has certainly changed being in Lawrence, but by no means has it been a hard transition, something many coveted young collegiate stars struggle with. Wiggins has already seemed to adjust well to the spotlight and it has so far shown what personality the young man from Canada possesses.

  • Updated Jul. 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm
  • Edited by Megan Hinman