Of course, that’s not really the point of the article, which lists Lebron James as the most-search/popular, but it’s just an interesting nugget about college basketball and fans of one of the biggest programs.
Other interesting nuggets include Kobe Bryant being #2 on the list despite barely seeing the court this year, and tennis star Serena Williams being the only woman in the current top 10.
One thing that surprises no one: football still reigns supreme as America’s sport.
James Blackburn is an international scout and today he shares his breakdown of Jabari Parker vs. Andrew Wiggins from an NBA scout’s perspective.
Andrew Wiggins (Kansas)
6’8”, 200 lb, G/F
Wiggins came out passive this game, but got better as the game went on. Wiggins was clearly the best athlete on the court, and is as explosive and athletic as any player in the country. Very quick jumper who also gets up and down the floor quickly- excellent in transition. He moved well with out the ball, which was nice to see. Did a good job of being assertive in the post, demanding the ball, and getting solid position. Solid rebounder on both ends- has a nose for the ball, and uses length and athleticism to grab rebounds at its highest point before anyone else can get to it.
Where Wiggins needs to improve is on the perimeter offensively. His jump shot is not good to say the least. It looks rushed and his mechanics are not very good. He is a good FT shooter however, and I would expect him to shoot around 70% from the charity stripe this season. He needs to improve his ball handling and perimeter movement overall as well. Handle is too loose and he stays too vertical on some of his drives. He seemed bothered by perimeter pressure on more then one occasion tonight. He could stand to add some weight to his frame. His movement is not fluid, and the game just doesn’t seem to come natural to him- seemed a bit uncoordinated. He has a ton of potential, but is still raw in more then one area at this point. His defense was better then average and although he got in foul trouble tonight, several of those fouls were poor calls. Overall solid performance from the young freshman who will only continue to get better and better as the year goes on. His best basketball is still ahead.
Was clearly the best player on the floor tonight as he came out hot and never really slowed down. Started off 2-2 from the 3-point line and finished the game with 4 threes. Has a high release on his shot, but he dips the ball on the catch, which takes away the advantage of his high release. Although he made 4 threes last night- I would not classify him as a pure shooter. Skill wise, Parker is remarkable. A player of his size and strength who can pass, dribble, and shoot like he can does not come along every year. He showed he was capable of putting the ball on the floor and scoring at the rim going either direction. He is more athletic then given credit for and had several above the rim finishes this game. His body is ready for the physical play of the next level, but I would like to see him turn some of his baby fat into muscle. Was all over the court early getting steals, and was being active going for shot blocks and leading the break after rebounds. Good quickness and speed in the open court for size. Loves the step back 3- impressive that he has that in his arsenal at his size and age. Fluid movement and has a quick 1st step. Looked to make plays for others. His versatility and skill set are his best attributes.
Although Parker is a well rounded player, he still needs to work on a few things, mostly on the defensive end. He needs to improve as a screener, set most of them half-heartedly and did so knowing he would get the ball off the pop, not to free up the ball handler. Is a solid rebounder because of big frame, but doesn’t box out on the defensive end. Tends to gamble a little bit too much on the defensive end and was slow rotating over on the weak side. Looked passive on the defensive on the defensive end in general and was out of stance. Needs to be more disciplined throughout shot clock. I did like the fact that he was aggressive in attempting to block shots, but he ended the game with only 1 blocked shot and fouled out- needs to know when to try to block and a shot, and when not too. Took poor angles and was often late when trying to make a play. Poor lateral quickness- Can he defend the P/R at the next level?
Based soley on the game last night and their matchup, I would say Parker is clearly more NBA ready at this point, but has a lower ceiling. If Wiggins can fill out a bit and improve his perimeter game, he will be the better pro in about 3-5 years. I do not think Wiggins will be an All-Star or an All-Pro player however right when he enters the NBA, its going to take him a while. It’s been brought up before about Wiggins work ethic, and some question how good it is. Hopefully, it will improve, and if it does he will eventually become an All-Pro player, but I do not believe he will is the next LeBron James or anything like that, as some people are saying. There have been plenty of super-athletic kids who have come out before and that haven’t developed. Parker will have a long career if he can stay injury free and keep his body in check. Its going to be an interesting year watching these two and the other talented freshman out there compete and play.
It’s an interesting phenomenon that has emerged ever since players starting entering the NBA draft right out of high school, which has now become the parade of ‘one-and-done’ players into the pros, that players who are projected as NBA superstars start playing games at the college level, their draft status often drops. Last season in AAU it was quite common to hear that Shabazz Muhammad was one of the best players on the planet even though he was still in high school, but now halfway through his freshman season, he’s considered to be ‘flawed and inexperienced’.
James Michael McAdoo of UNC has seen similar changes to his draft status, after a season where he’s struggled to establish himself as a consistent first option for his team. Nerlens Noel was incredibly hyped during the recruiting process before he committed to Kentucky, now still considered a lottery pick but not the lock that many had claimed.
As I open this month’s ESPN ‘Next’ magazine, in which they attempt to project who the next big stars will be in several sports, they have decided against selecting another high school phenom and went with Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, who was a one-and-done college player for Duke, but is now in his second season in the pros. However, in the comments of the article, people pile in to tell ESPN that they have it wrong, and that the ‘next’ phenom is Andrew Wiggins, the star player for Huntington Prep in the class of 2013. One reader says ‘just watch a mixtape of Andrew Wiggins and he’ll blow your mind’.
I’m not saying Wiggins won’t be a pro and he’s a very talented high school player. But let’s wait on the accolades until he’s proven he can at least compete against collegiate talent.
This is part of the problem. I’m not sure if it’s the SportsCenter Top 10 influence, but people get fooled by highlights. They see a sixth grader scoring like crazy in a video and they immediately project the kid into the next Michael Jordan.
Is the 2013 NBA draft weak on talent? Not really, but what scouts are really saying is that it’s weak on potential superstars. Players like Cody Zeller and Otto Porter are considered NBA talent, but not “franchise” players. One issue I have with that is that those players hardly ever come along, no matter how much talent is supposedly in the draft. Another issue is that it seems like projecting superstardom is something scouts and fans love to do, but rarely get correct. As I write this, the 2014 mock NBA draft from NBADraft.net has the top 6 projected picks currently in high school. That’s become commonplace, but it’s also become commonplace that by the time those players are eligible for the draft, most of them will not be ranked that high.
We’re proud to introduce The Hoops Show, a collaboration between Augusta Basketball and Basketball Elite, which covers high school and grassroots basketball. The Hoops Show will feature highlights and news from around the world of youth hoops. In today’s episode, we talk Peach Jam, Andrew Wiggins, Aaron Gordon and more.
No one was surprised when CIA Bounce advanced to the championship game; all week long the talk had been about how loaded the Canadian team was, led by Andrew Wiggins (SF, 6’7″, 2014), considered by most to be the best high school player on the continent. Wiggins is a player who we’ve been watching long before he was labeled as such; however, as I’ve said in the past, he has a pro first step that is deadly. A fluid superstar who has great length and agility, Wiggins already has tools that some professional basketball players lack. He still needs to work on his consistency with his shot, and he will need to add strength, but his quickness is incredible and he loves to use the spin move, in either direction, to free up a shot. He’s explosive and dynamic on the court and tracking as a NBA lottery pick, if not #1 overall.
The powerhouse player for the Oakland Soldiers was the versatile Aaron Gordon (PF, 6’9″, 2013) who was playing injured but continued to show that he might still lay claim to the top player in the 2013 class. Gordon has a balanced approach to the game, and is the kind of player that teams like to run the offense through, with the ball getting in his hands at least once during a possession; even if he’s not scoring, he can often find another player who might.
Kendall Smith (PG, 6’2″, 2013) ran the show for the Soldiers once again; Smith is a true point guard with a good first step and he has the ability to get to the bucket and score in traffic. CIA Bounce once again employed the talents of combo guard Tyler Ennis (PG/SG, 6’3″, 2013) a player who can run the team effectively but also plays very well off of the ball.
Other notable players included Jaylen Canty (PF, 6’8″, 2013) a post player for Oakland who has a light touch and showed a really good drop step. Jabari Bird (SG/SF, 6’6″, 2013) was active at all times and had some nice passes and deep shots to help build the Oakland early lead.
For much of the game it was a contest of wills between Wiggins and Gordon, who each wanted the ball in their hands to try and score or facilitate. At times they were directly matched up against each other. Oakland quickly ran out to decent lead, 27-15 with 1:33 remaining in the first half. After a three by Bird put the Soldiers up 32-26 in the second half, it was obvious that Wiggins became very focused on getting his team back in the game. Suddenly he became even more active, scoring multiple times down the floor or finding teammates, include one deft pass to Ennis for a dunk. Ennis’s transition slam tied the game 34-34.
With the game in contention, several players were instrumental in the battle for the title Xavier Rathan-Mayes (SG, 6’4″, 2013) of CIA Bounce was a stable player on the wing, handling the ball against pressure and hitting several big shots down the stretch. Stanley Johnson (SF, 6’7″, 2014) continued to be the emerging star who supported Gordon effectively, and working hard on the defense, often matched up with Wiggins.
As with most of the games of the EYBL Final Four, the game came down to the wire. Both teams traded the lead and CIA Bounce led 50-49 with 8 seconds remaining on the clock. After back-to-back timeouts, Oakland took possession of the ball, ran a screen for Bird, who launched a long two-pointer with 1.3 on the clock, and a foul was called. The fans and media erupted in the building, depending on which allegience they might have, as the contact seemed minimal.
Bird headed to the line and calmly hit his first free throw, tying the game, 50-50, then after a time out, sank the second shot to put Oakland up 51-50. Forced to heave a last second shot, Rathan-Mayes raced almost to half court and launched a good looking, but unfortunately errant, shot. Oakland players celebrated on the court while CIA quickly left the floor in obvious dejection, but both teams showed that they belonged in the title game.
We spotted Andrew Wiggins at this year’s Jordan Brand Classic, where he was participating in the international game. Wiggins was definitely one of the best players on the court, and we said so at the time. Now, Andrew is considered the number one player in his class, or close to it. Here’s some video of our chat with Andrew after the game.
The following players were some of the top performers in the JBC International game, in my opinion. Remember these names and keep an eye on their development, for they are the international stars of tomorrow. Some of these players could very well be playing college ball and may be in the NBA in a few years, as they are still very young, most being only 16.
Solid player who does many things well. Versatile- showed the ability to play the PG and run the offense. Good size- is listed as a SF/PF- but will be a 2G as he gets to higher levels. Very good shooter with NBA 3 pt range. Many of shots never hit the rim. Good rebounder and passer. Played practically the entire game and his team relied on him to do it all. Guarded the home team’s best player in PG David Taylor and did a solid job on him. Showed some surprising athleticism with a big 2 handed baseline dunk with the foul overtop of a defender with 3 minutes left in the last period. Needs to continue to work on aggressiveness and ball handling.
White (Home Team)
Andrew Wiggins (SF, 6’7”, Vaughan Secondary, Canada)
Solid and smart passer who keeps his head up and sees the floor. David does a great job as a PG of turning the corner off the pick and is able to get to the middle, where he can shoot the pull up or kick to the open player on the perimeter. Good floor general. Handles the ball well- equally effective with either hand. Good defensive player who moves well laterally and has quick hands- stays low. Did not shoot any shots outside of about 18 feet in 33 minutes- needs to continue to improve his shooting range.