A Duke vs. Kansas college basketball match-up is always a big deal. But with the presence of uber-prospects Jabari Parker of Duke and Andrew Wiggins of Kansas, the Duke/Kansas matchup on November 12th transcended the college floor and became the go to basketball event of the night.
Nao previously covered Wiggins’ status as the #1 recruit in the country, and the most hyped sneaker prospect since Lebron James. Basketball fans and casual observers alike were only familiar with Wiggins through YouTube dunk compilations. Though Kansas played over the weekend, this match-up at the United Center in Chicago, on ESPN prime time Tuesday night, was the first introduction for many to Wiggins’ game. After a slow first start, he did not disappoint, putting up 22 points (on 9-15 shooting) and 8 rebounds, including a game clinching, emphatic dunk for the highlight reel.
Yet Duke’s Jabari Parker had THE defining dunk of the game, off an alley oop from the three point line, that left scouts and NBA GMs cleaning up drool from the floor. The knock on Parker was his athleticism, but on that one play, along with multiple drives to the hoop, he put all doubt to rest. Now surely, all there is for Parker is to pass the four months into March Madness and wait for a top 3 pick. He finished the night with 27 points (9-18 shooting), 4 3’s, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block, all while drawing comparisons to Grant Hill, Paul Pierce, and Carmelo Anthony. Safe to say, it was his night.
The “role players” for both teams – lottery prospects themselves – also shined. While Kansas’ Joel Embiid’s statline of 2 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists doesn’t particularly stand out, he is an athletic 7 footer who showed an ability to pass. His teammate, and sponsorship readily named Perry Ellis, added 24 points and 9 rebounds. And outside of the theater surrounding Wiggins and Parker, the final score remained – Kansas is a serious threat to win the NCAA title come March.