KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Andrew Wiggins isn't much for the comparisons.
He's been likened to Wilt Chamberlain and Danny Manning on the cover of a recent Sports Illustrated.
Wiggins has been compared to LeBron James and Kevin Durant in the months since the 6-foot-8 son of a former NBA player and an Olympic track star from Ontario chose the Jayhawks over North Carolina, Kentucky and Florida State in May, long after most players had signed.
“I've got a long way to go before I can be compared to LeBron and Durant,” Wiggins said at Tuesday's Big 12 Media Day. “Those are the best players in the world right now, and I'm still in college. So I think it's really unfair to compare me to someone of that caliber. Hopefully one day I can be compared to them, but I think I still have a long way to go before I can be.”
But the comparisons are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
Wiggins enters his freshman season with the Jayhawks with at least as much hype as anybody since Durant and Greg Oden began their freshman years in 2007. The hype for Wiggins is probably even more intense than it was then.
“(The hype is) probably something that happens more today than maybe would've 10 years ago,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “Ten years ago, the mindset would've been, 'They've got to earn their stripes and we're not going to put them on the preseason team as a freshman,' but I think that mold's been broken.
“As much as anything, people are more aware of them coming in as freshmen than they were a few years ago, given the YouTube stuff and the highlight tapes and the exposure that they get.”
Wiggins was the clear star of Tuesday's event, drawing a crowd of reporters around him that dwarfed those gathered around the tables of the other nine teams' players — combined.
He also appeared uncomfortable with the level of attention, though he said it was something he'd gotten used to in the past few months.
“He hasn't asked for any of it,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “If you talk to him, he's about as humble and low-key a guy that deflects attention as anybody I've been around. But when you hear those things, it's not fair.
“He's just Andrew. That's all he needs to be is just try to be himself and not live up to what other people think he should be. When you're on the cover of SI and they're comparing you to Chamberlain and Manning, and in Chamberlain's first game he went for 52 and 31, that's not going to happen. He could go for 20 and 10 and disappoint everybody.”
Kruger and OU sophomore guard Buddy Hield have both seen quite a bit of Wiggins, Kruger on the recruiting trail and Hield when the two played against each other in high school.
“It's similar to what Marcus (Smart) did a year ago at Oklahoma State, and Marcus certainly proved all of them right,” Kruger said. “I'd be surprised if Andrew doesn't also. He's a terrific player.”
Hield is looking forward to playing against Wiggins again. He'll get his first chance Jan. 8 in Norman when the Sooners host Kansas.
“That's just hype,” Hield said of the buildup Wiggins has received. “He's worked for the hype. I can't stop his glory. When he runs into the Oklahoma Sooners, though, it's going to be different.”