Andrew Wiggins to Kansas Props Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/16/2013
It seems like there's an uber-recruit in every college basketball class, one who will change the game immediately. Let's take a look at Rivals.com's top-rated recruit each of the past 10 years:
--LeBron James, 2003: Yeah, that worked out. Jumped right to the NBA and is on pace to go down as perhaps the second-best player ever.
--Dwight Howard, 2004: Worked out pretty well too. Also jumped straight to the NBA and is the league's best center when healthy.
--Gerald Green, 2005: In 2005, the NBA mandated that players had to be one year removed from high school and at least 19 to be drafted. Essentially created the one-and-done rule. Green went to Oklahoma State and never amounted to much in the NBA (he's still playing) other than as a dunker.
--Greg Oden, 2006: Ranked one spot ahead of Kevin Durant, which is also where Oden was chosen ahead of Durant atop the 2007 NBA Draft. Oden's injuries made it one of the worst choices in NBA history for Portland (which knows a little something about really bad choices on injury-prone centers ahead of future Hall of Famers), although no one argued it much at the time.
--Michael Beasley, 2007: Ranked two spots ahead of Derrick Rose. Beasley was a stud for one year at Kansas State but mostly a bust as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft behind Rose.
--B.J. Mullens, 2008: Wasn't all that great in his one year at Ohio State but has turned into a decent pro with the Bobcats.
--John Wall, 2009: Excellent in his one year at Kentucky and showed this year he's a franchise player for the Wizards. If he can stay healthy.
--Josh Selby, 2010: Massively underachieved in his one year at Kansas and never should have left school early.
--Austin Rivers, 2011: One spot ahead of Anthony Davis. Rivers was a great college player for a year at Duke but literally was one of the worst players in the NBA this season if you go by Player Efficiency Rating. The only player worse than Rivers was Doron Lamb.
--Shabazz Muhammad, 2012: A pretty good season at UCLA and will be a Top-10 pick in June's NBA Draft.
I mentioned all these guys because it brings me to the 2013 No. 1 overall recruit: Canadian Andrew Wiggins. The 6-foot-7, 205-pound small forward (actually he can play just about anywhere but center) is being called the best prep player since LeBron. One NBA scout said that Wiggins would have not only gone No. 1 in this year's draft if he were able to come out but also in every draft since Oden went No. 1. Again, that's evaluating those players back then, not who they are now.
I will give college basketball rankings services credit in that they are usually pretty accurate on which players are going to be stars, while it's way more hit-and-miss in college football for obvious reasons. But the fawning over Wiggins it's almost ridiculous. The ironic thing is that he's been the top-rated recruit in the Class of 2013 only since October. That's when Wiggins reclassified from the Class of 2014 back into his original 2013 class. I'm not going to go into the lingo of how that happens. If you remember, it was Jabari Parker who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated not too long ago (May 21, 2012) being hailed as the best high school player since LeBron, but Parker was dropped behind Wiggins once that reclassification was made.
Wiggins finally made his much-anticipated college choice this week, surprising many -- including Jayhawks coach Bill Self -- by picking Kansas over Florida State (where his parents went; his dad is former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins), Kentucky and North Carolina. Wiggins, the best Canadian prospect since Steve Nash, averaged 23.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists for Huntington Prep in West Virginia last season after growing up in Toronto.
Bovada released its NCAA basketball futures following the decision. Kentucky is the 4/1 title favorite. The Wildcats have what is being considered the best recruiting class in history arriving in Lexington -- can you imagine if Wiggins had joined that group? I can tell you that Kansas was well down the list on some other sites that released NCAA odds after the NBA's early-entry deadline passed in late April. The Jayhawks weren't a favorite because they lost all five starters off last year's team, led by freshman star Ben McLemore, the potential No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft. Wiggins' decision has moved KU to the 13/2 second-favorite. That seems awfully generous because of one player. Still, Self does now have what is considered the second-best recruiting class in the country. I'm not even sure that Kansas is the best team in the Big 12 with Marcus Smart shockingly deciding to return to Oklahoma State. I don't recommend the KU futures.
The site also has two Wiggins props: “Over/under” 18.0 points per game next season (both -120) and will he be chosen first in the 2014 NBA Draft (“yes” -300, “no” +200). Because Wiggins won't have to defer much if at all to any returning veteran starters, you'd think he'd get plenty of touches. However, opposing players are well aware of the hype surrounding Wiggins and will go all out to stop him and make a name for themselves. Some coaches too. It's not all that easy to average 18.0 points per game in the low-scoring college game. McLemore was terrific and was only at 15.9 last year. National Player of the Year Trey Burke was at 18.6. Muhammad finished at 17.9 for UCLA. I lean under.
Considering what that NBA scout said, it seems a lock that Wiggins will go No. 1 next year, as everyone is just presuming he'll be a one-and-done player. Think the Toronto Raptors would like to stink it up in 2013-14 and land the top overall pick? Getting Wiggins might change that franchise forever in terms of fan interest. I'd still take no on this prop, however. Wiggins could struggle, get hurt, there are plenty of things that could happen.
By the way, circle Nov. 12 on your schedule. Kansas vs. Duke in Chicago in the Champions Classic. The Blue Devils have a freshman star of their own. It’s a guy by the name of Jabari Parker.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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