The Norman Transcript

National Sports

January 22, 2014

Kansas’ Wiggins still trying to find his place

(Continued)

LAWRENCE, Kan. —

But he’s also left many of those scouts, his coaches and just about every fan who has filed into the Phog hungry for more.

“I think he’s done well,” Self said. “I also think there’s another step he can take. He leaves me wanting more, so when people say certain things, I can’t be upset. I want more, too.”

Self has tried to treat Wiggins like anybody else, in part to temper some of the other-worldly expectations. The prized forward has only done two one-on-one interviews with the media — one of them with The Associated Press in December — since the start of the season, and unless he has a big performance, Wiggins generally isn’t made available to reporters following games.

“It’s a no-win, everything lose situation,” Self said. “There’s no way to live up to the hype.”

When he does have a chance to speak, Wiggins has acknowledged that he didn’t expect college basketball to be so hard. Players are bigger and stronger, faster and more athletic.

There are no nights off, especially with Kansas playing the nation’s toughest schedule.

“Yeah, I think so,” Wiggins said, when asked whether he’s starting to figure things out. “I’m trying to be more aggressive right now, driving to the basket, getting good shots.”

Self said that some of the criticism leveled at Wiggins is unfair. After all, his stats — 15.2 points, 6.1 rebounds per game — are similar to those of Ben McLemore, who was the seventh overall pick in the draft after his only season playing in Lawrence.

Then there’s this difference: Wiggins will turn 19 next month, while McLemore had to redshirt a season and was two years older than Wiggins during his own freshman season.

“It’s just a different world,” Self said. “These kids are entering school with the hype and in a lot of ways he’s handled it beautifully in how he’s deflected it, but in some ways he hasn’t understood or we haven’t done a good job of explaining to him, because of the society and the media hype, if you don’t produce, you’re going to be the most talked-about person.”

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