Watch Out for Kansas if Wiggins & Embiid Take 'Next Step' | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / April 22.
  • Watch Out for Kansas if Wiggins & Embiid Take ‘Next Step’

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    Here’s a scary thought for opponents of Kansas going forward.

    Bill Self believes that Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins — the projected No. 1 and 2 picks in the NBA Draft — aren’t anywhere close to reaching their ceilings.

    “I think [Embiid] can be an NBA All-Star eventually, and certainly we got another kid [Wiggins] that I think can do the same thing eventually,” Self, whose team visits Baylor tonight (7 p.m., ESPN2), told Seth Davis of CBS Sports.

    “We’re just so young and they’re a ways away. But that’s what I think the most important thing about our team is, those two taking the next step because when they do, I think it will change our team in a very positive way.”

    Joe Lunardi of currently has Kansas as the No. 1 seed in the Midwest in his mock bracket.

    Assuming Embiid and Wiggins continue to get better — along with point guard Naadir Tharpe, freshman Wayne Selden and the rest of the Jayhawks — they have as much talent as any team in the nation, and certainly a chance to cut down the nets in Arlington, Texas.

    Self recruited the 7-foot Embiid out of The Rock School in Gainesville, Fla., while he was also recruiting his AAU teammates Brannen Greene, Chris Walker and Kasey Hill. Walker and Hill ended up at Florida, while Greene chose Kansas.

    “I watched [Embiid] for 30 minutes and I thought he’ll be the best big man we’ve ever coached if we can get him,” Self told Davis. “And certainly it’s played out to be that way.

    “I think that his ceiling is is as high as anybody I’ve been around. Really the only ceiling close to being as high as his is the other kid [Wiggins] in our program right now.

    “He’s a sponge and he’s extremely bright. He has some things from a physical standpoint you can’t teach as far as his nimbleness so to speak, his feet, and his hands and so I think he’s got a chance to be special. He’s already on his way to being that.”

    As for the 6-8 Wiggins, Self praised his play thusfar, calling him a “superstar,” but said he’d like to see him be more aggressive and develop his killer instinct.

    “Do I want him to be more aggressive? Yes, absolutely.” Self said. “But he’s taken steps to be that….

    “He still can take another step and I think that’s just part of his natural maturation process. And I really think he’ll be outstanding even more so from this point forward because he’s becoming more and more comfortable and he’s understanding more and more about how he’s everyone’s best shot night in and night out. I’m realy excited for him.

    “He’s a guy that can give us 20 and 10 or 20 and 8 on a nightly basis if he was just a little bit more aggressive and I  think you’ll see that.”

    And that could be scary news for Kansas’ Big 12 and NCAA Tournament opponents.

    **For more stories on Andrew Wiggins, click here.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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