All jayhawks should be proud. What a great moment.
Despite what some in the media would have led you to believe, Andrew Wiggins to Cleveland was a pretty easy choice for the Cavs all along.
Wiggins on if he can carry Pierce-esque torch for #KUbball: "I think I'm ready."
The consensus second-team All-America pick drew a nod of approval from Cavs coach David Blatt while talking about his goals of being NBA Rookie of the Year and eventually making the All-Star team.
Blatt’s most visible reaction, though, came when Andrew Wiggins spoke of wanting to make the league’s All-Defensive team.
“I was smiling about that one,” the coach said. “That all works for me.
“One of Andrew’s great qualities is he can play both ends of the court,” Blatt added. “There’s always minutes for a guy like that.”
That’s one of many lessons Andrew Wiggins learned from his father, and the teachings have stuck.
“I don’t like when my man scores,” said Andrew Wiggins, who held the players he defended last season to 38 percent shooting from the field. “Even when I’m on the bench and he scores, that makes me mad. That’s always been a big priority.”
It will continue to be so with the Cavs, who view their third No. 1 overall pick in four years as a guy who can play shooting guard and small forward.
“He’s a two-way player who has the potential to achieve greatness on both ends of the floor,” general manager David Griffin said. “He’s going to be as good as he works himself to be, and he understands that.”
How could he not, given the environment in which he grew up?
“I’ve got a lot of expectations for myself,” Andrew Wiggins said. “I just want to come in and create an impact right off the bat offensively and defensively.
“What I learned is you can’t really live up to everybody else’s expectations,” he added. “You have to live up to your own.”
His son is the No. 1 overall pick, and Mitchell Wiggins is now unburdened by guilt, embarrassment and disappointment. He’s whole again.
“It just gives me closure,” said Mitchell Wiggins, who was suspended for two full seasons with Houston in the 1980s for drugs. “I’m able to let go of maybe some of the things I was feeling when I left the league and I can sleep better now. This is a big moment.”
The Cavaliers introduced Andrew Wiggins on Friday, one day after the team ended weeks of public debate and internal discussion by selecting the slender small forward from Kansas first in the NBA draft. Wiggins, who probably would have also been chosen before anyone else a year ago, began his news conference by saying his personal expectations are as high as what the Cavaliers believe he can attain
“I just want to come in, create an impact right off the bat, offensively and defensively, bring the team to the next level and just be a good teammate, be a good part of the organization,” he said. “I want to be on the All-Defensive team, be Rookie of the Year, make the All-Star team, all that type of stuff.”
Those comments made new Cavaliers coach David Blatt smile.
“We didn’t bring Andrew in here for a year,” Blatt said. “This isn’t a one-and-done. This is a career player.”
…“He walks his walk and he’s always been a kid who listens and tries to do the right thing,” Mitchell Wiggins said. “I hope he stays true to who he is and stays grounded. He wants to be a Hall of Famer. Hall of Famers work harder than anyone else and make the most sacrifice. I think he’s willing to do that.
“Everybody knows he’s got talent, but you’ve got to put the work ethic with the talent and you’ve got to make some internal sacrifices. I think he’s going to do that.”
The suit was the real star of the show on Thursday night at Barclays Center — a black-and-white floral-patterned tuxedo top, with a gold medallion clipped on the left lapel that matched the gold and wine colors of the Cleveland Cavaliers hat he placed upon his head. That Andrew Wiggins was the kid in the audacious outfit was fitting. The first No. 1 overall pick to shake hands with new Commissioner Adam Silver needed to have a legendary look.
“Just wanted to do something really different to stand out and try to win on both points, stylish points and become No. 1,” a smiling Wiggins said after weeks of suspense, a full college basketball season of debate and an entire NBA season of teams intentionally being bad to possibly get him finally came to an end.
The eclectic garb required a certain amount of confidence and flare, something that the electric Wiggins was dripping in, right along with an undeniable talent that made him impossible for the Cavaliers to pass on.
“It’s a dream come true,” Wiggins said. “I’ve been dreaming of this moment since I was a little kid. My dream was to just make the NBA. Now going to high school and college, the opportunity and possibility of going No. 1 came into talk and now I accomplished that. So it’s just a crazy feeling right now. I don’t really know to feel. It doesn’t feel real right now.”
The walk from the green room to the interview room took close to 60 seconds. Andrew Wiggins pushed through a crowd of ushers and reporters and turned left into a hallway inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
This was the walk of a No. 1 pick, slow and confident and a little dazed — a walk that Wiggins had dreamed about since his days on the hardwood of the Dufferin Clark Community Centre in his hometown of Vaughan, a suburb of Toronto. Now it was real. Now the Cleveland Cavaliers had selected Wiggins with the No. 1 pick of the NBA Draft on Thursday night. And now it was time to take a strut.
…He had hugged his mother, embraced his college coach and shaken the hand of NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Then came a television interview, a radio interview and a few minutes of spare time.
And then another announcement. As Wiggins waited on the floor of the Barclays Center, Silver came to the microphone again:
“With the third pick in the NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers selected Joel Embiid from the University of Kansas.”
The noised filtered through the crowd. Wiggins got word. And he smiled again. Embiid was back in the Los Angeles area after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot last week. But the Sixers had taken a chance. Just moments after Wiggins became the first Kansas player to be selected No. 1 overall since Danny Manning in 1988, now another Jayhawk was off the board.
“I was just proud,” Wiggins said. “It was a proud day … we became so close this year at Kansas.”
One year ago, Wiggins and Embiid had arrived together in Lawrence. Wiggins was the presumptive No. 1 pick in 2014, and Embiid was the long-term project with an immense ceiling. Now they were just the fourth set of college teammates to go in the top three of the same draft.
“This is a boost for us,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
…But in the days before Wiggins took his draft walk, he thought about his days at Kansas. He thought about his coach. He thought about what he learned. He thought about his teammates.
He hoped, he said, that Kansas gained as much from him as he did from Kansas.
“College teaches you a lot,” Wiggins said, “about just sacrifice, hard work, eliminating all the distractions. Especially at a school like Kansas.”
…After Thursday, Self has produced 12 first-round picks in 11 seasons at Kansas. But he also knows the perception that none of those players have become stars.
“We’ve put a lot of guys in the league, but we haven’t put NBA All-Stars in the league,” Self said. “But you know what? I’m not sure their ceilings were All-Stars.”
This is where Wiggins and Embiid come in. Wiggins will go to Cleveland, where he’ll play alongside point guard Kyrie Irving and fellow Canadian No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett. Embiid will go to Philly and should have time to get healthy. Self believes both players can become franchise players and play in multiple All-Star Games — and maybe that can bolster their Kansas legacies. They were one-and-done players, yes, but that doesn’t mean they won’t help Self’s cause in the future.
“You want kids to time it right to come out, and obviously these two have timed it right,” Self said. “And it kind of cracks me up. We had some people say with Andrew, ‘We want more, we want more.’ Well, people that are paid a lot of money to evaluate guys know what he can eventually do. He’s just scratching the surface.”
He was the trophy wife, the bling. Andrew Wiggins did more for Kansas basketball in five minutes on Thursday night than he did in the previous five months combined.
National championship? Been there.
Final Fours? Twice over, son.
Big 12 titles? Ten in a row, baby.
But there was one thing missing in the Bill Self pamphlet, one notable unsaid in the media guide, one bauble left unpainted on the murals at Allen Fieldhouse.
No. 1 draft pick.
Since 1974, Kentucky's had two. Duke? Two. North Carolina? Two. Purdue? Two.
"(There's) something about that label, being No. 1, that will certainly bode well for our program," Self said Thursday night after Wiggins, his freshman wing guard, was selected first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers. "To me, as many great players as Kansas has had, it's been 26 years, I guess, since we've had a No. 1 pick. I certainly don't want to wait another 26 years, but it's certainly very exciting."
This time, Dan Gilbert made sure he got his man. Time will tell whether or not he’s correct.
A billionaire who owns more than 70 companies and has made his fortune swinging for the fences and believing in upside now believes in Andrew Wiggins.
The Cavaliers selected Wiggins first overall in Thursday’s NBA Draft because, by all accounts, he has a higher upside than Jabari Parker. And Gilbert loves upside.
The Cavs’ scouting department felt differently. They had Parker ranked ahead of Wiggins throughout the season, multiple sources have confirmed, but Wiggins is headed to Cleveland as another terrific young piece that now gives the Cavs five players who have been selected in the top four of the past four drafts.
The selection certainly isn’t a reach. Wiggins was projected to go No. 1 overall in this draft for at least the past year, but Cavs executives were intrigued with Parker’s scoring, had little concern he could handle the small forward position and didn’t seem scared off by Parker’s lack of interest in coming to Cleveland.
One source with knowledge of the Cavs’ draft plans said late Tuesday night that Gilbert preferred Wiggins. History perhaps indicates why.
Gilbert wanted Victor Oladipo last year, according to multiple sources, but deferred to a front office that instead drafted Anthony Bennett.
The Cavs’ front office viewed Oladipo as an athletic, high-motor guy who lacked a discernible skill. Bennett, meanwhile, was viewed as a tweener who arrived overweight and struggled through a miserable rookie season.
Wiggins and Parker certainly have brighter futures than both Oladipo and Bennett. But when Parker showed up for his Cavs workout overweight, and with questions around the league regarding what position he plays, the comparisons to the Bennett situation last year were inevitable. And Gilbert apparently didn’t want another replay of the Oladipo/Bennett situation.
Now the focus shifts to Wiggins and whether his presence, along with Kyrie Irving, can lure Miami Heat star LeBron James back to Cleveland. Within hours of becoming a member of the Cavs, Wiggins was asked repeatedly about the possibility of playing alongside James.
“I want to win,” Wiggins said. “If he wants to win, we’d be good together.”
Akron Beacon Journal
VIDEO: CavsTV 1-on-1 with Andrew Wiggins
VIDEO: Behind-the-scenes Wiggins pre-draft workout with the Cleveland Cavs
Wiggins: NBA draft interview quotes
6/26/14, 7:35 PM
You gotta have the hat.
Wiggs got the best draft day fit ! That suit jacket tough boa
Top pick Andrew Wiggins didn't wear just any old thing to the NBA draft on Thursday. No, the 19-year-old called on fashion stylist Brandon Williams and tailor Waraire Boswell to get him ready for the big day in a shawl-collar, rose print jacket and satin pants. Accessories included smoking slippers, bowtie, a brooch in his lapel and an Audemars Piguet diamond watch on his wrist. "Always dress like you're going somewhere better," the soon-to-be Cleveland Cavalier told WWD as he dressed.
“@CoachBLoos: @rfulford is fired up for his guy @AndrewWiggins . #1” was shocked the people in Shakespeare's didn't boo.. Lol
So excited for this Draft! Pay the guys maan! They've earned it. So proud of Andrew, Tyler, and Stauskas!!! Canadian Basketball on the rise!
Wiggins fist pumping the air furiously after Embiid is selected third overall.
The real moment my name was called.... let's goooooo @Sixers!!!
"He has a big heart & he's going to do big things. Potential is there for him to be great." Andrew Wiggins on Joel Embiid right before draft
Self said Embiid thought he might fall to 6-8 but Self heard today from Sam Hinkie that they would take him at 3
Proud moment. So proud of Joel and Andrew. Only wish joe could be here. Tarik is next
Congrats to them KU boys!!
"Disappointed not to be there, but I'm excited. I still can't believe it. It just means anything is possible." Joel Embiid on being #3 pick
Just got statement from Embiid saying in part, "I'm more determined than ever and looking forward to getting back to work with my new team."
"Kansas has the best fans in the world. They support me through a good game and a bad game. This is a proud moment for me and JoJo"
Andrew Wiggins via @Ben_Felderstein
For the first time in #Big12MBB history, three of the top six overall picks in the @NBADraft are from the Big 12. #Big12Strong
VIDEO: Draft night exclusive: Kansas coach Bill Self talks to Campus Insiders' Shae Peppler about former Jayhawks Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid joining the NBA
I’d like to tell you about the court nearby where Embiid first dunked a basketball, about the men who had to plead with Embiid’s parents to let him play. About the way he used to cry when conditioning drills reached their sadistic apex, and how, when the workouts ended, he’d ask the coach to make him do them again. Embiid was just selected third overall in the NBA draft; he’ll be heading to Philadelphia even after foot surgery threatened to tank his stock. But before he made his way to Florida for high school or to Lawrence, Kansas, for college, or, now, to the 76ers, Embiid first picked up a ball here in Yaoundé.
…There’s a reason why Melvin fills every silence with his observations on the NBA. It’s the same reason why the coaches we will soon meet under a tree introduce themselves by asking me to predict who will reach the NBA Finals. Cameroon is inhospitable to hoops obsessives. If you want to be technical, you’d call it the second most popular sport in the country, but technicalities are often lies. “It’s football, football, football,” Melvin says. “No one cares about basketball — not really. There is only one sport in Cameroon.”
Embiid might be the next great African big man, but if you ask randomly around his home country, you’ll be lucky to find anyone who even knows he exists. So out in the fields where boys in Samuel Eto’o jerseys kick soccer balls, and down in the streets where traffic convulses its way through rush hour, Joel Embiid doesn’t really mean anything. But Melvin is here to show me the sliver of Cameroonian society where basketball does matter, where Carlos Boozer causes justifiable outrage, and where Embiid is not just another member of the Cameroonian diaspora, but rather the culmination of several lives’ worth of work.
…We start in Yaoundé. It’s the capital and Embiid’s hometown, a French- and English-speaking city that sits in the center of the country and veins outward over and around seven hills. In the neighborhood of Nlongkak, on a patch of land tucked behind a row of apartments, we find the basketball court.
“Oui, oui, let’s go!” shouts a man in a polo shirt and a baseball cap, wandering up and down the sideline. He organizes a group of teenagers, mostly boys but one girl, into formation for a three-man weave. Up and down the court they run.
This is the court where Embiid learned to play basketball. It’s beat to shit. It slopes. It cracks. In places it juts. Wayward dribbles bounce off course. Bounce passes travel according to the ravaged blacktop’s whims. It’s home to a few divots and more than a few empty beer bottles.
…All this is to say that Cameroon’s coaches have gotten used to working with teenage athletic marvels who have absolutely no idea how to play basketball. Embiid was no exception. “He thought he was Kevin Durant,” says Moudio. Embiid had never been taught to shoot, but that didn’t stop him from launching (and missing) 3s. He had never learned to dribble, but from the moment he picked up a ball he was trying to cross up defenders at every opportunity. And when those crossovers led to Embiid chasing the ball into the street, as they often did, he would just get back on the court and try the same move — with the same disastrous results — all over again.
In his first organized basketball game, Embiid faced a team running a full-court press. Unsure of his assignment, he floated to half court, where a teammate passed him the ball. Defenders swarmed. Embiid held the ball to the sky, maintained his pivot foot, and turned — to his coach. “What do I do?” he yelled at the sideline. “What do I do?”
“Pass!” yelled Moudio, so he did. Crisis averted. It could only get better from there. Two games later, Embiid bragged to his teammates that he was going to hit a 3. On his very first touch, busted shooting form and all, he did just that. Within weeks he was wrestling away most every rebound and lording over the paint, and now, if you look at the basket on the near side of this court, you can still see players shooting on a bent, nearly unhinged rim. That was Embiid’s doing. He dunked too hard.
More at Grantland
Jason King spent Draft Day with Embiid
General manager Sam Hinkie hinted Friday that Joel Embiid, who was drafted third overall, probably won't play in the 2014-15 season. That's because the 7-foot center out of Kansas will miss more time than reported while recovering from a stress fracture in his right foot.
"I've seen reported some four to six months," Hinkie said. "That's not the number I heard. The number I heard from the surgeon himself was five to eight months.
"Guess what our approach will be? We will focus on the long-term health of the player. We had that discussion before. I don't want that to sound glib, because it's not. It is all that matters, honestly."
…Hinkie was an assistant general manager at Houston when Yao went through his ailments.
He consulted with Richard Ferkel, the doctor who performed Embiid's surgery. The Sixers also did extensive research on the injury in the days leading up to the draft.
"We were sort of averaging it out over time," Hinkie said of drafting Embiid. "In the end, we felt good that this is a calculated risk, and he's a remarkable talent in our mind. Only in this scenario does he fall to three."
Embiid's selection ensures that the franchise will have the 2015-16 version of the twin towers.
Sixers coach Brett Brown said Embiid might be the power forward in that scenario. He's the better shooter. Yet at 250 pounds, Embiid is more equipped to take a pounding at center than the 228-pound Noel. Both players are stellar shot blockers.
"I think that once you see these guys get older and playing together, you will figure it out," Brown said. "Center, power forward, I feel like in my head, without getting too coachspeak, I can see how you can make it work.
"And the bottom line is: I do think that Nerlens and Joel can coexist."
That's because the former San Antonio Spurs assistant has memories of winning NBA titles with twin towers David Robinson (7-foot) and Tim Duncan (6-11) in 1999 and 2003.
"I think I can find a way to play those two guys together and develop a program," Brown said. "It's a really good problem to have."
Former Kansas University center Joel Embiid had no inside information regarding his draft stock entering Thursday’s 2014 NBA Draft.
“I actually knew when they called my name,” the 7-footer from Cameroon said on Friday’s Dan Patrick/ESPN radio show.
Sitting in front of a TV in the house of agent Arn Tellem in Los Angeles, Embiid and his parents applauded wildly when commissioner Adam Silver announced that he’d been selected No. 3 overall by Philadelphia.
“I thought with the latest injury I was going to drop to maybe top 15, maybe second round,” added Embiid, who had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot the week before the draft.
“People were talking everywhere, on social media. I bought into that.
“I was also listening to my agent. He told me good things. I mean I thought I was going to drop to second round. I was kind of surprised they took me at 3,” Embiid noted.
Speaking with a pack of reporters from Philadelphia following Embiid’s selection on Thursday night in Brooklyn, Self did not hold back his thoughts about Embiid and what he believes awaits the 7-foot Cameroon native in the NBA.
“I’ll be disappointed if he’s not a six- or eight-time all-star,” Self said. “I think that’s fair. For one thing, there’s not as many (dominant) big guys in the league as there has been in the past. But, when he gets healthy, he’ll be one of the better bigs in the league. That may be Year 2, but Joel’s gonna be an all-star. And if he’s an all-star once, he’ll be an all-star many times.”
Speaking from experience, Self also said he thought Embiid would become one of the more well-liked players on his new team’s roster.
“I believe Philadelphia will fall in love with Jo,” Self said. “He’ll be a fan favorite because he’s got more personality than just about anybody. He knows how to make fun of himself and he’s got a smile that would make you melt. I would be very surprised if people don’t really, really take to this guy.”
Of course, the biggest obstacle to that happening in Philadelphia is the expectation of a fan base famous for once having booed Santa Claus at an Eagles game. Still, Self preached patience to the die-hard 76ers fans.
“From what I (understand), they’re building for the future,” Self said. “You’ve got the rookie of the year (point guard Michael Carter-Williams), Nerlens, who will obviously be a good player, and then you’ve got Jo, who is a franchise-type player. The pieces are in place. I’d be excited if I’m a Sixers fan, even though they’re gonna have to exercise a little bit more patience, which I’ve heard the fans are known for there in Philly.”
Former KU All-American Danny Manning spoke to Philly.com about Joel Embiid, who was taken third in the draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.
“Every time I watched Joel play, he impressed me, because he got better every time I saw him,” said first-year Wake Forest coach Manning, who coached at Tulsa the past two seasons. “He really has a presence defensively, has soft hands and is always continuing to improve his offense. Joel is obviously a very talented young man with a huge upside. Every time I watched him play, he added something different. He has great timing and can instinctively block shots. He has great hands and will continue to improve on the offensive side of the ball. He’s comfortable at stepping out and playing the pick-and-pop game, which is so big in the NBA.”
The Celtics would have selected Joel Embiid with the No. 6 pick in the NBA Draft had the Kansas center slipped to them, Ainge told the Toucher & Rich show Friday morning.
"He was not red-flagged, meaning, “Stay away at all costs.” said Ainge. "He was rated a little bit less than that with risk, but he was guy that we were looking at had he fallen."
Asked directly if he would have selected Embiid, Ainge said, "Yes, we would’ve."
Cleveland Cavaliers — A
There was ample temptation out there for Cleveland to do something stupid, and if the past year has taught us anything, it is that the Cavaliers rarely pass on the opportunity to do something stupid. New GM David Griffin, though, wears fancy glasses, and as the old saying goes, “People in fancy glasses don’t do stupid things.” Taking Andrew Wiggins first was the right move, and picking up outstanding shooter Joe Harris in the second round was a bonus.
Philadelphia Sixers — B
There is eventually going to be a draft in which Sam Hinkie owns 59 of the 60 picks (with one left over for the Spurs at No. 30) and uses them all on players with significant injuries or international contracts. Seriously, if you’re a prospect looking to work out for the Sixers, here’s some advice: Bring crutches. They love that stuff. Still, huge upside in this bunch for the Sixers, with Joel Embiid and Dario Saric coming in the first round and first-round talents K.J. McDaniels, Jerami Grant and Vasilije “The Wonder Jelly” Micic in the second round.
The Sporting News
Before Wiggins and Embiid could even bend the bills on their new team caps, the focus was shifting toward incoming freshmen Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre Jr. - two top recruits who, conveniently, can help fill the gaps left by Wiggins and Embiid. But as Self listened to a question about his next crop of potential one-and-dones, he quickly sidestepped any comparison.
"They're good players," said Self, who also mentioned fellow freshmen guards Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Devonte Graham. "(But) they're not exceptional prospects by NBA standards. They can all - if they work hard and things fall right - get to a point where they can play at the next level, but we can't anticipate them stepping in and doing what Jo did or what Andrew did as freshmen."
And so the cycle goes. Every summer, Self takes stock of his roster and thinks towards the fall, crafting a mental template for the season ahead. But for all the bland, mechanical routine, there is a delicate touch that is needed.
This latest Kansas reloading project, just like all the others, will be unique.
In the days after No. 2 seed Kansas lost to Stanford in the NCAA Tournament, Bill Self and his staff sketched together something of a recruiting wish list for the spring. They had been working on it, naturally, but now they could focus on it full time.
…The glut of options leaves Self in an unusual position. On Thursday, Self sat in Brooklyn as two of his players were drafted in the top three for the first time. And yet, he thinks this upcoming reloading project can leave a longer-lasting legacy on the court.
"If you have two of the top three picks, I don't see how you could be more talented," Self said. "But I do think we could have a better team. Last year, I think that because we were so young, I think we didn't play as well consistently as what we had hoped for."
…"If we would have had Jo healthy - ifs and buts, candy and nuts - we wouldn't have ended the season the way we did," Self said. "At least, I totally believe that."
Self will never know, of course. But Thursday's night at the draft provided some closure. Wiggins and Embiid moved onto the next level, and back home in Lawrence, the players from another reloading project waited for the fall.
"If things fall right," Self said, "this could be a better basketball team."
Excited to share that @TarikBlack25 of @KUHoops will play for the @HoustonRockets in both the Orlando & Vegas @NBASummerLeague! #SIGFam