LAWRENCE, Kan. —
“Obviously this announcement needed to happen,” said Self, who believes one of the biggest challenges Wiggins will face is realizing that basketball will suddenly become his job.
“It’s not like this year. He came in with so much hype, and whether he knew it or not, everybody was salivating for a chance to go against a guy with that much hype,” Self said. “And he’s going to the next level with a lot of hype, but men are going to be saying, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, rook. I’ve been doing this a long time and you’re going to have to earn your way.”’
Wiggins simply flashed a smile when asked if he was ready for it.
“Just listening to him now,” his father said, “I’m thinking about when he was that little bitty kid that was dirty, and not listening, and now? He’s a young man that I think gets it. I think he’s going to do very well.”
He’s also made it through his freshman season healthy. Unlike Embiid, Wiggins never had to deal with any nagging injuries, and his mother said that factored into his decision.
“The best thing is he’s not injured. He’s able to go ahead and complete part of his goals,” she said. “Every day is a new day. He has no injuries and he’s ready to go.”
Self said Embiid is still wrestling with his stay-or-go decision.
The 7-footer from Cameroon was waylaid late in the season by a stress fracture in his back, and that could factor into Embiid’s draft status, along with the fact that he’s only been playing basketball for a few years.
Embiid slipped out of the room immediately after Wiggins had finished speaking Monday, but Self told a few reporters that he had not made his decision, despite a report last week that said Embiid would enter the draft.