Throughout the preseason, RTC national columnists will answer the 20 most compelling questions heading into the 2013-14 season.
The spotlight Andrew Wiggins will face over the next six months will be unlike anything any college basketball player has ever experienced. Not only is Wiggins being hyped as the best college player since Kevin Durant, he is doing so in an age where a powerful combination of social and online media has – before Wiggins ever plays a single minute of college basketball – catapulted the already insane expectations about his first season to stratospheric heights. Wiggins is, by all accounts, an exceptional talent. Scouts rave about his athleticism, versatility and defensive potential. They see the most physically gifted high school basketball player since LeBron James. And over the next six months, maybe Wiggins will prove to be everything smart basketball people think he can be: a generational, franchise-altering, cant-miss superstar.
Or maybe he won’t. The expectations are already so high, it’s almost impossible to think he can be what everyone expects. Early reports out of Kansas are that Wiggins may not even be the best player on his own team right now. Drawing conclusions from preseason practice is silly; Wiggins should, and probably will, be Kansas’ best player in 2013-14. That title carries its own set of expectations: Can Wiggins extend the Jayhawks’ nine-year conference championship streak? Will coach Bill Self be able to use Wiggins to help elevate a team replacing five starters deep into March? More challenging is how other teams and players will view Wiggins. Every time Wiggins takes the floor, the guys lining up on the other side of the court will have one goal in mind: stop Andrew Wiggins. It’s inevitable; everyone will want a piece of the “next LeBron,” will want to guard him, to shut him down, to dunk on him, to jeer him every time he touches the ball. It will become something like its own game-within-the-game: Everyone will be coming after Andrew Wiggins.