PROSPECT PROFILE: ANDREW WIGGINS

by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Beat Writer

PLAYER SUMMARY – Andrew Wiggins went into his freshman season at Kansas with huge expectations that he’d come out of it as the top-ranked prospect in the Draft. Now that the day has arrived, he’s still right near the apex.

Wiggins did not disappoint in his single season at Kansas, showing off all the tools that had scouts salivating before he ever stepped foot on campus. Wiggins went into the campaign neck-and-neck with Duke’s Jabari Parker, and that’s just where the duo are finishing down the stretch.

The first thing scouts mention with Wiggins is his extraordinary athleticism. He’s long and rangy, with a thin frame that could easily add bulk and muscle. He’s an explosive leaper with incredible conditioning, logging a ton of minutes as a freshman in Lawrence. He’s already a gifted defender who has the makings of a top-line scorer at the next level – and he improved throughout the season.

On the offensive end, Wiggins already has a good array of weapons – including a deadly step-back jumper and a developing floater. Opponents have to respect his outside shot, but Wiggins in also lethal getting to the cup. He gets to the stripe at a good rate and hit on almost 78 percent when he got there. He’s a very good rebounder, especially on the offensive glass where he uses his explosive and sudden leaping ability. For all his offensive weaponry, Wiggins is an unselfish player who looks to make plays for his teammates.

Defensively, Wiggins uses not only his off-the-charts athleticism, but also his high hoops IQ. He’s rarely in the wrong spot. As a freshman, he was often asked to guard the opponents’ toughest perimeter player and consistently rose to the challenge. He’s got the length and quickness to disrupt passing lanes and the vertical talent to block or alter shots.

Quite simply, the young Canadian swingman can do it all on both ends.

But with any prospect, scouts will find some warts. The concerns with Wiggins have mostly surrounded his lack of assertiveness and aggressiveness. He’s not strong establishing position in the post and lacks some consistency on his long-range shot. He plays “upright” on the offensive end and still needs work on his ball-handling.

By most accounts, Wiggins is the most complete player in the Draft. When pundits rattle off the buzzwords – “length,” “upside,” “athleticism” – Wiggins checks all the boxes. He won’t have to wait long to hear his name called on Thursday night in Brooklyn.

PLAYER SNAPSHOT

  • Height: 6-8
  • Weight: 200
  • Position: SF
  • College: Kansas

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PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS – Wiggins needed only one year to rewrite Kansas’ freshman record books and racked up about every piece of pre- and post-season hardware imaginable. In his lone season in Lawrence, he set multiple Kansas freshman records, including scoring average (17.1 ppg), points (597), field goals attempted (422), free throws made (176) and free throws attempted (227). He led Kansas in steals with 41 and was second in blocked shots.

Wiggins scored a KU freshman record 41 points against West Virginia – the first Jayhawk to break the 40-point barrier since 1991 – and canned the game-winner on Feb. 18 at Texas Tech.

Wiggins – whose father, Mitchell, spent six seasons in the NBA and whose mother, Marita, was a track star in two Olympics – was named to the John Wooden All-American Team and was a Second Team All-America selection by the AP, NABC, USBWA, SI.com and Sporting News. He was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, All-Big 12 First Team, All-Newcomer Team and Championship All-Tournament Team

PLAYER COMPARISON – These comparisons seem awfully lofty with Draftees not playing a minute in the NBA, but scouts have already compared Wiggins’ game to guys like Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and even Kobe Bryant. He can do it all on both ends of the court. The only question is – can he do it in the big leagues?

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