Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1-ranked high school prospect in the recruiting Class of 2013 by Rivals.com, and Brandon Rush, No. 13 overall in the Class of 2005, were asked Saturday if they had any advice for highly-regarded Kansas freshman Josh Jackson.
Jackson, a 6-foot-8, 207-pound Detroit native, enters college as the top prospect in the Class of 2016.
“Try to listen to coach (Bill) Self. He’s going to get you right. Keep going at it with (KU strength coach Andrea) Hudy. She’s going to get you right, too,” former KU guard Wiggins said after scoring 19 points in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 109-100 NBA exhibition victory over the Miami Heat on Saturday at the Sprint Center.
“You’ve got to ask him (Jackson) for that. I was never the No. 1 recruit or anything like that,” noted former KU guard Rush, who scored 11 points for the Timberwolves on Saturday.
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“Just keep (your) head on straight, focus on basketball and don’t worry about anything else,” Rush added.
Rush said he’s never seen Jackson in action.
“My brother (JaRon Rush) does radio for a lot of sports around here. He told me the guy is amazing,” Rush said.
Wiggins and Rush were asked what they “expected out of KU” in the 2016-17 season.
“Every year they are good. Every year they are the top team. I expect them to win like I do every year,” Wiggins said with a smile.
“I think they are going to be good. What are they ranked now, No. 3?” Rush said. “I think they can do that. I think they are going to go to the Final Four.”
How will Wolves fare?
How will Wolves fare?
The Timberwolves, who went 29-53, last season, are regarded by some as a playoff team under first-year coach Tom Thibodeau.
“I think we’ve got a really high ceiling,” said former KU center Cole Aldrich, who had four points and six rebounds in Saturday’s victory. “Tonight we showed we’ve got a lot of will (to win). We were down 15 (at halftime). We could have given up in an exhibition game. We kept fighting and fighting. That’s a good thing for us.”
Wiggins noted: “If we play hard, harder than we did last year and the previous year, I think we can make the playoffs.”
Ex-Wildcat scores six for Heat
Former Kansas State guard Rodney McGruder scored six points and grabbed three rebounds in 14 minutes for Miami on Saturday.
He signed a three-year, partially guaranteed contract with the Heat in the offseason.
“It’s nice coming back to the area, my second home,” McGruder said before Saturday’s game.
Of the K-State fans who were to attend the game, he said: “I would say I call them ‘family.’ I don’t call ‘em ‘fans.’ They are my extended family.
McGruder added, “Kansas doesn’t have a professional team. It’s nice for us to come back and play here. That’s how great the league is. You go to places that don’t normally have teams.”
McGruder, 25, averaged 15.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists for Sioux Falls of the NBA Development League last season.
“There have been a lot of ups and downs (in his career). I can’t think about that. I have to keep striving,” said McGruder, who has played in Hungary and the D-League since not being selected in the 2013 NBA Draft. “If you have faith, you will overcome. I had faith and kept working. Thankfully, I have a team that trusted in me and is giving me a chance.”
Reed scores seven points
Former Bishop Miege and Saint Louis University forward Willie Reed, 26, scored seven points and had five boards while playing 21 minutes for the Heat. He had a huge cheering section at the Sprint Center. In fact, he provided some tickets for local fans.
“I’m thankful for that opportunity to be able to play in front of my family and friends. I want everybody to know I’m Kansas City to the core,” he told the South Florida Sun Sentinel before the game. “I mean, obviously, Kansas City is what made me. It made me the person I am today. So I’m just trying to make sure I do my part to help the city. I think the best way for me to do that is to use this platform, to use this stage. So the more I can be involved in Kansas City, while also living my dream, I think that just helps the city.”
The 6-foot-10 Reed signed a two-year contract with Miami in the offseason after playing with Brooklyn a year ago.
“He has a great motor. I really like the pace of play that he brings. He brings a great energy out on the court. He’s vocal. He’s physical,” Miami coach Eric Spoelstra told the Sun-Sentinel.
Coleman postpones KU visit
Matt Coleman, a 6-2 senior point guard from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., who is ranked No. 32 in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, told Scout.com he’s postponed a visit to KU that was scheduled for next weekend. He says he’s focusing on Duke, Texas and Stanford, but has not eliminated KU.