Kansas freshmen left to decide on NBA futures

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 24, 2014 at 5:31 pm •  Published: March 24, 2014
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Andrew Wiggins slumped in his seat. Wayne Selden stared into space. Joel Embiid was sure he would have been able to play if Kansas had only made it another week.

The Jayhawks didn't, and now all three talented freshmen are left to ponder whether the NBA awaits, or whether they'll return to school and attempt to wipe away the disheartening memory of a loss to Stanford in the third round of the NCAA tournament.

"I'm not thinking about that right now," Wiggins said Sunday, barely above a whisper.

Soon, though. Very soon.

Wiggins is expected to be a lottery pick, perhaps even first overall, if he declares for the draft after his memorable freshman season. He's indicated all year long that he wouldn't be long for Lawrence. But only he knows whether the dud he played in the season finale — four points on 1-for-6 shooting — is the way he wants to punctuate his college career.

"Everything is a learning advice with young kids. And you know, this isn't the worst thing that's going to happen to him in his life," Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. "If it is, he's had a charmed life, there's no question about that.

"So you've got to grow from it," Self said. "When you get in these positions again, maybe do something a little differently, maybe to put yourself in the game or prepare or something. But hey, the kid's had a remarkable season."

Self appears resigned to the fact that Wiggins will soon be a millionaire.

"You know, a lot of kids leave because the opportunity or the timing appears right," he said. "It doesn't mean it's always the greatest choice for their development. But in this particular case he will develop wherever he goes or whatever he does."

That may not necessarily be the case for Embiid and Selden.

Embiid may also be a lottery pick, and just may shove aside Wiggins for the first choice overall, if the 7-footer declares for the draft. But the Cameroon native has only been playing basketball for a few years, and while his natural athleticism and Fred Astaire-like footwork have made scouts salivate all season, it is clear that he still has plenty of room to improve.