Kansas basketball fans can take a deep breath and relax now that the nation's number-one recruit has chosen the Jayhawks for his brief college basketball career. Andrew Wiggins (6-8, 215) is the most-touted high school senior since NBA star LeBron James came on the scene.
Instead of insisting on a TV gala to announce his signing, Wiggins kept it a small ceremony attended by just friends and family. That pleased Coach Bill Self who said, "You have schools that invest so much time, energy, and money sitting there watching it go down and not have a clue because they [network executives] tell them [recruits], ‘If you tell anybody, we won't have you on TV.' This was just the high school beat writer, family, friends, teammates—perfect. I thought it was very refreshing."
Besides Wiggins (#1 recruit nationally and 5-star rating by Rivals.com), KU has signed guards Conner Frankamp (6-0, 160) (#34 4-star), Wayne Selden (6-5, 225) (#12 5-star), and Frank Mason (5-11, 160) (#76 4-star); small forward Brannen Greene (6-7, 200) (#29 4-star); and center Joel Embiid (7-0, 220) (#25 5-star).
The Jayhawks return five players who will play important roles on the 2013-14 team: power forwards Perry Ellis (6-8, 225) and Jamari Traylor (6-8, 220); small forward Andrew White (6-6, 210); redshirt center Landen Lucas (6-10, 250); and point guard Naadir Tharpe (5-11, 170).
Wiggin's signing and the accompanying celebration is over; it's an appropriate time to try and analyze how Self will use his abundance of young talent.
First up: How will Wiggins be used? Self said, "We'll plug him in and do a lot of things we did with Ben [McLemore], plus adding a whole bunch of other things. He's a slasher who can shoot . . . you can post him…you can play really small with him at the four, which we probably will never do, and of course he can be your two-guard which is his natural position." The guess here is that Wiggins will start at small forward.
In addition to Wiggins, White and Green will compete for playing time at small forward, which makes that a crowded position. If Self could convince either Green or White to redshirt, it would benefit all concerned.
Point guard will be handled by Tharpe and Frankamp, with Mason in the mix. Frankamp will play some at shooting guard. Self will have Selden and Wiggins and Frankamp to choose from at shooting guard.
Embiid and Lucas will share time at center, with Embiid having extraordinary potential. And Ellis and Traylor will compete for minutes at power forward.
Coach Self has 11 talented players and that can create problems. Wiggins and Ellis are going to play major minutes and that leaves nine players to split the remaining playing time. But Self is a master at doing just that and he'll keep most of his young players happy. By the first of February, this will be some basketball team.
Kansas State's athletic program completed an astounding school-year when the Wildcats' baseball team won an undisputed Big 12 title to go with co-championships in football and basketball. That type feat is supposed to be reserved for Texas or Oklahoma.
John Currie can be justifiably proud of his performance as athletic director at K-State; he has the Wildcats' program on a solid financial footing and the W-L records on the court and fields speak for themselves.
It's not difficult to understand why the Kansas City Royals are wasting so many outstanding pitching performances. Last Saturday (May 18), the Royals lost their second-straight game by a 2-1 margin.
Four out of five of KC's starting infielders and their right fielder are hitting so poorly that they've become almost sure outs. First baseman Eric Hosmer (.244), second basemen Chris Getz (.192) and Elliot Johnson (.262), shortstop Alcides Escobar (.252), third baseman Mike Moustakas (.185), and right fielder Jeff Francoeur (.216) have been a study in futility. The above-mentioned players take pitches right down the middle and swing at too many out of the strike zone.
The decision of who to play hasn't helped. In Friday night's game, right fielder David Lough—in his first game of the season with KC—had two hits in four at bats and drove in the Royals' only run. Lough also made an outstanding throw from right for a putout at second. Manager Ned Yost rewarded Lough for his stellar game with a seat on the bench and played the inept Francoeur.
That's why Royals' players have such a hard time finding a groove. Lough must have wondered what he had to do in order to stay in the lineup; what should have been a boost to his confidence turned to a state of confusion. Many of Yost's decisions confuse fans and players alike.