Freshman Impact: Kansas

Wiggins leads an impressive incoming class for Jayhawks

Updated: May 29, 2013, 2:22 PM ET
By Seth Greenberg and Dave Telep | ESPN Insider

Andrew WigginsArmando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty ImagesAndrew Wiggins brings a ton of talent to Kansas. And a challenge.

For the Freshman Impact series, Insider's college basketball and recruiting experts will be teaming up to examine how 15 of the nation's best recruiting classes will fit in with their teams in the 2013-14 season.

On Friday, Seth Greenberg and Dave Telep look at the Kansas Jayhawks. For links to the rest of the articles, click here.


Seth: Kansas coach Bill Self won a big recruiting prize in No. 1 overall prospect Andrew Wiggins, and the combination of him and Wayne Selden can be special. Obviously, Wiggins has the potential to be great, but I really like Selden. He's physically strong, a terrific passer, an improved shooter and versatile and talented enough to play the 1, 2 or 3. He's just a good, tough, winning basketball player. He and Wiggins might be the best one-two freshman combination in the country.

This is also a big season for a couple of returnees, starting with Perry Ellis. He cut his teeth last season but was beat out early by Kevin Young. Ellis was more aggressive by the end of the season, and I think he'll be more empowered in his expanded role. I think he'll finish his opportunities around the basket this season; he posts hard, moves his man and does a nice job of catching, ripping, facing and getting to the basket. He's one returning guy Self is really counting on.

Another key guy is Naadir Tharpe. By the end of last season, he was a pivotal contributor in terms of decision-making, defending with purpose and making shots. He needs to build off those accomplishments this season.

Dave: I can see where you're coming from saying Wiggins and Selden are the best one-two freshman duo. Talent-wise, they aren't the best, not with Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson among those playing for Kentucky, but you know what you're going to get out of both players. Those two are not going to walk on the floor and look like freshmen physically, and Selden's competitive drive is huge. The fact that he's so team-oriented and is going to have the self-confidence and self-awareness to know that Wiggins is the guy the Jayhawks are going to have to go through this season is really undervalued.

But you could also make the case that by the end of the season Wiggins and Joel Embiid will be the best freshman duo in the nation. That's how talented this group of incoming freshmen is.

It's one of those unique situations where, in May, the talent on paper looks overwhelming. But this is also a team that needs to be cultivated and create its identity. This could be the most fun season in Self's coaching career. His best player is a freshman who has a ceiling like no player he's ever had. There's so much moldable talent on this roster, and he can really leave his imprint on his team.

Self's experience with Ben McLemore will help with Wiggins from a coaching standpoint. Neither guy has a commanding personality, so I think Self trying to push and encourage Wiggins to play a takeover role from day one, as the guy the team can really depend on, is going to be interesting.