In November, Kansas Jayhawks freshman forward Andrew Wiggins pretty much gave away that he will declare for the 2014 NBA Draft once the 2013-2014 college basketball season is over:
Kansas better win now because freshman Andrew Wiggins has acknowledged that he’ll most likely be heading to the NBA next season.
“I would say just being able to enjoy my last year of school,” Wiggins said.
The 6-foot-8 wing is widely considered a lock to be the top pick in the 2014 draft if he declares.
As you see in the last sentence of that excerpt, Wiggins was considered a virtual lock to be the top pick of the 2014 draft before the college basketball season began. However, the player currently being projected to go first overall by most draftniks/websites — ESPN, Draft Express, NBA Draft.Net — is not Wiggins, but rather his Jayhawks teammate, freshman center Joel Embiid.
And before Kansas beat Baylor 69-52 on Tuesday night in Waco, TX, the 7’0″ Embiid revealed that he is “strongly considering” returning to Kansas for his sophomore season, instead of entering the 2014 draft:
Kansas 7-footer Joel Embiid told ESPN that he is far from a lock to leave college after this season, and is “strongly considering” returning for his sophomore campaign.
The Cameroon native said prior to Tuesday’s win at Baylor that he didn’t feel as though he was ready to make the jump to the NBA, but added after the game that it will depend largely on his development over the remainder of the season
He told ESPN.com that he has been shocked by his impact thus far this season, even saying that even thought about redshirting prior to the year.
“I’m not even thinking about it right now,” Embiid said. “I’ll make a decision after the season, but I’m definitely considering coming back to school.”
“He’s a bright young man and he’s going to weigh his options,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “He’s considering coming back and he’s obviously also considering leaving. He can’t make a bad decision.”
It would be quite questionable to pass up an opportunity to be the top overall pick (and likely a top-three pick at worst) in the NBA Draft, and while Embiid could absolutely refine his skills in a sophomore campaign, his stock is unlikely to be all that much higher than it is right now. Embiid is already generating some Hakeem Olajuwon comparisons, and being the current frontrunner for the No. 1 pick in a loaded 2014 draft says a lot about how NBA front offices view him.
But, it’s still refreshing to see a star freshman college basketball player talking like Embiid is in this one-and-done generation.