LAWRENCE — Another week, some more history for Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
Wiggins, a 6-foot-8 small forward, became just the second freshman ever selected to the Associated Press preseason All-America team. Wiggins, who was previously voted as the preseason freshman of the year in the Big 12, joined Oklahoma State sophomore guard Marcus Smart on the five-man team, released on Monday.
Creighton senior forward Doug McDermott, Louisville senior guard Russ Smith and Michigan sophomore Mitch McGary rounded out the team.
Smart, expected to be among the first players chosen if he had declared for the NBA Draft, was on every ballot from the 65-member national media panel. The last unanimous preseason All-American was Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger in 2011-12.
McDermott, a prolific scorer in his three seasons at Creighton, said no to the NBA to return to Creighton after averaging 23.2 points and 7.7 rebounds during his junior campaign, while Smith returned to Louisville after leading the Cardinals to the NCAA championship last season.
McGary is another familiar face for Kansas fans; he helped the Wolverines take down KU in overtime in a Sweet 16 matchup in Arlington, Texas, last March.
Wiggins averaged 23.4 points and 11.2 rebounds as a senior at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep School. Harrison Barnes of North Carolina in 2010-11 is the only other freshman to earn preseason first-team All-America honors.
“He’s been preseason national player of the year on several (publications) so I guess being preseason All-American doesn’t surprise me at all,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Now the key is making sure he plays to that level."
As the consensus top recruit in the country — and one of the best high school prospects of the last decade — Wiggins’ presence in Lawrence has turned this upcoming Kansas season into one of the more anticipated in recent memory. Wiggins has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated, featured in GQ and watched as more than 20,000 fans tried to cram into Allen Fieldhouse for Late Night in the Phog on Oct. 4.
“It kind of grew on me over the years to where I’m used to it,” Wiggins said of the attention. “I just think of it as a blessing. A lot of people don’t get an opportunity to be showcased like that.”
Wiggins will make his Kansas debut on Friday against Louisiana-Monroe at Allen Fieldhouse. He finished with 16 points in the Jayhawks’ first exhibition game, a 97-57 victory over Pittsburg State last Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks will play their second and final exhibition game at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night against Fort Hays State.
“Hopefully this is just gonna be something else that he takes in stride like everything else,” Self said, “And does not put any extra pressure on him.”
AP preseason All-America team
|G||Marcus Smart||Oklahoma State||6-4||So.||65|
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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