By Jon Rothstein
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Andrew Wiggins is going to Kansas.
It’s huge for Bill Self.
It’s huge for the Big 12.
And it’s even bigger for fans of college basketball.
Wiggins, the top-ranked prospect in the Class of 2013 will be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He’s a once-in-a-generation type talent that has been compared to LeBron James, but may actually wind up being more like Tracy McGrady. He would have been a must-watch wherever he went to college, but by opting for the Jayhawks he gives himself more opportunities to showcase his talents.
It’s real simple.
Kansas has put together one of the more loaded non-conference schedules in recent memory. Call it “murderer’s row” in memory of the 1927 Yankees. Call it a gauntlet.
Whatever it is, it’s going to give all of us a good look at this can’t miss prospect on a plethora of occasions early in the season. And that’s all before this team will enter the Big 12 to trade blows with Top 25 teams like Baylor and Oklahoma State.
How good is the Jayhawks’ non-conference slate?
Off the charts.
Kansas opens the season in the Champions Classic against Duke in Chicago on November 12.
After that, the Jayhawks will play in the prestigious Battle For Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas during Thanksgiving week with teams like Villanova, Xavier, Iowa, and Tennessee. There are also home games with San Diego State and Georgetown, as well as a trip to Colorado on December 7.
Bill Self’s team will also play Mountain West favorite New Mexico in Kansas City, and travel to Florida on December 10 as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
That’s nine games for the Jayhawks against teams that will enter next season with the expectation of playing in the NCAA Tournament.
Oh, there’s another thing.
Kansas will also host two mid-majors next season — Iona and Towson, that have a chance to win their respective leagues.
What does it all mean?
There will be no nights off for Andrew Wiggins.
And that’s a good thing for people who love the sport.
But it’s also a good thing for Wiggins in the long run.
This type of nightly challenge will show NBA scouts that this can’t-miss wing will have the experience of playing against top flight competition on a nightly basis.
It will also enhance the possibility of Wiggins doing for next year’s team what Danny Manning did for Kansas in 1988.
Rock Chalk, Jayhawk?
You better believe it.
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