LAWRENCE — The moment came and left in less than the time it took you to read this sentence. Here, then gone. All in one second, maybe two, captured and posted on YouTube within minutes Wednesday.
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
The first Andrew Wiggins Moment at Kansas almost certainly wont be the last or the best. But one of the best things about sports is the way they can stretch the boundaries of what is possible. This is Wiggins gift. This is what our local sports scene has coming.
Did you see the dunk? The way Cole Aldrich one of college basketballs best defenders in his day looked like he would challenge but then thought better of it? The quickness of the jump? Did Wiggins elbow reach rim level? His head? His eyes?
How many more and better flashes like this will we see once the season starts?
Nobody knows how this will play out, and for now thats precisely the point. Wiggins is a 6-foot-8 bundle of athleticism and possibility that challenges the imagination. Google Andrew Wiggins highlights.
How many times have you seen a human do a behind-the-back, 360-degree dunk?
Wiggins will be the biggest story in college basketball because of moments like Wednesdays, and before we go any further, lets all recognize how silly it is to be talking about a scrimmage in June. Aldrich may have been saving himself the risk of being dunked on or he may have just not wanted to bother interrupting what everyone present understood to be a glorified workout.
There are no consequences here, in other words. Just a gathering of KU basketball players past and present in a scrimmage for summer campers and curious locals. If Wiggins gets an uncontested breakaway, all the better to talk about at dinner later.
Still, there was enough interest in Wiggins first public basketball game in Lawrence that its probably a good thing the fire marshal didnt come to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Wednesday afternoon for what amounted to an unofficial celebration of possibilities.
Possibilities. Thats what this is about, you know. Thats why a few hundred more fans than usual packed the gym, why a few dozen reporters showed up, and why youre reading this. Possibilities.
Wiggins time at KU is still pure, still full of dreams, still mostly void of attention-seekers rushing to label him basketballs next transcendent star (Maple Jordan, a nod to Wiggins Canadian roots) or an overrated product of our sports worlds hype machine. (Harold Minor was once known as Baby Jordan, remember?)
Wiggins may or may not live up to the Best-Since-LeBron talk. You can hear different opinions of him. He will get stronger. Could be more consistent with his jumper. Some have questioned his motor, which is sports-speak for effort.
All of that will play out in time, of course. His game will be judged by a standard he didnt ask for but isnt shying away from. Time to grow up. This is his reality. He is the presumed No. 1 pick in next summers NBA Draft, and hell have a full season with a loaded schedule and plenty of national television exposure to live up to it.
But there will be something just a little bit different about Wiggins time at Kansas, something that college basketball hasnt seen since at least Blake Griffin, and maybe longer: Anything will seem possible when he is on the court.
That sort of potential is why he is already casting a shadow, even in a powerhouse program. Wiggins brings a sense of wonder with him to the court, or at least instills it to the people watching.
Thats why coach Bill Self joked about all the reporters who had shown up, and talked about Wiggins dealing with professional autograph seekers outside his apartment door, and asked if any player had dealt with this kind of instant attention at Kansas other than Danny Manning and Wilt Chamberlain.
This is all premature, of course. Wiggins just turned 18 in February. He was going to be a high school senior this year before reclassifying. He hasnt scored a point in college basketball yet, hasnt played a minute in a real game against guys as good as the ones hes now expected to dominate.
That part comes soon. Nobody knows what will happen. Anything is possible. And right now, thats the point.