Tuesday morning on Twitter, I threw out this question: Who would you rather have for the 2013-14 college basketball season — senior Doug McDermott or freshman Andrew Wiggins, who announced he’s going to Kansas.
In June 2014, Wiggins is likely to go No. 1 in the NBA Draft. The same night, McDermott is likely to go in the 20s or 30s. Their careers will veer in very different directions. But that’s the NBA. Who will be better in this college season?
Here’s a sampling of responses:
Aaron Boni: “I love dougie fresh, but wiggins all day”
Zach Isherwood: “McDermott no question”
Mike Thielen: “easily Wiggins.”
David Berliner: “Dougie. U know what u have.”
Greg Hill: “Wiggins by a mile.”
Jake Immink: “McDermott. Mclemore may be the number one pick this year. And he failed to show up in half the games. Can’t trust freshman.”
David Vifquain: “Wiggins. Obviously.”
Josh Sims: “McDermott. Even guys like Kyrie Irving struggle as freshmen. Coming from someone who thinks McDermott washes out of NBA in 2y”
Erik Cartwright: “a future #1 pick, one of a kind player vs. a 2nd round draft pick?? I’ll take the afternoon off to ponder this…..”
Justin Van Dyke: “I’m a Nebrasketball fan but I’d go with McDermott. He’s a 2 time All-American and a top 5 player in the country.”
To me, it’s a fascinating debate. Would you rather have a proven college superstar with limited pro potential who’s entering a major conference for the first time? Or a sure-fire NBA stud who will surely be one-and-done?
My first inkling is to favor Wiggins — here’s one of his highlight films. But take a closer look at the No. 1 high school players in the last eight recruiting classes (since the NBA demanded these guys go to college for a year).
2012: Shabazz Muhammad
2011: Austin Rivers
2010: Josh Selby
2009: John Wall
2008: B.J. Mullens
2007: Michael Beasley
2006: Greg Oden
Only Wall and Beasley were first-team All-Americans. Oden was second-team.
* For the record, Kevin Durant was the No. 2 high school player in ’06, behind Oden, and did earn first-team All-America. The other one-and-dones to be first-team selections: Kevin Love in ’08 and Anthony Davis in ’12. Jared Sullinger was first-team in ’11, but returned for his sophomore year.
By all accounts, Andrew Wiggins is prepared to shine. But that doesn’t mean he won’t experience growing pains. Remember Harrison Barnes, a preseason first-team All-American before he ever played a game? Barnes wasn’t even first-team All-ACC as a freshman.
I suspect Wiggins will be the Big 12’s best player. And I suspect he’ll end up on a few All-American teams. But if Doug McDermott averages another 23 points and eight rebounds, it’s hard to argue against him.
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>> The Big Ten intends to shuffle its bowl lineup for the sake of variety and flexibility. It doesn’t serve the league to keep sending the same teams to the same cities to face the same foes year after year.
There’s a lot of talk from ADs about going to different spots around the country, which is great. But by far the most important change is shuffling time slots.
The Big Ten, apparently obsessed with playing on New Year’s Day, foolishly had four bowls (Cap One, Outback, Gator and Heart of Dallas) playing at the same time! Not only did that format rob the Big Ten of exposure, it made it impossible for Big Ten fans to watch each other play.
The lesson: You’re far better off being the only game on ESPN on Wednesday night, Dec. 27, for example, than you are on New Year’s Day morning fighting three other games.
>> The Big Ten is serious about beefing up non-conference schedules. I like it.
>> Nebraska basketball’s quirky schedule for 2013-14 won’t draw much attention outside our state, but it’s still mystifying. The Huskers play Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin once. Those happen to be the three schools closest to Lincoln.
I recognize the Big Ten doesn’t want basketball divisions. But let’s use some common sense here. When you’re playing half your games on weeknights and skipping classes even for Saturday games, shouldn’t travel be a priority? Nebraska should at least play Iowa twice every season.
>> Julie Hermann, who played volleyball at Nebraska in the mid-80s, will be Rutgers’ next athletic director. She’s just the third female Division I AD in the country. On the heels of the Mike Rice scandal and in preparation for the Big Ten jump, she steps into an incredibly high-profile position.
>> Carl Nicks was the 21st-highest paid athlete in America last year, earning more than CC Sabathia, Calvin Johnson and Dwight Howard, among others. See, Bill Callahan did his job at Nebraska.
>> Ndamukong Suh, who opposed Nicks in practice in 2007, is the No. 3 Big 12 player of all-time, according to ESPN blogger David Ubben. Sounds about right.
>> ESPN’s Wallace Matthews blasts Joba Chamberlain after Joba disrespected Mariano Rivera in the Kansas City dugout. It’s pretty clear, in my opinion, that Joba needs a fresh start somewhere other than New York.
>> This is a very cool idea: Let Mariano Rivera start the all-star game.
>> More than a year after Joe Paterno’s death, his son fights obsessively for his version of the truth.
>> A Florida assistant, who once worked for Nick Saban, calls his old boss “the devil.”
>> Oklahoma State’s defensive coordinator fell in love with ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards.
>> According to former World-Herald contributor Max Olson, who now works for ESPN.com’s HornsNation, Mack Brown uses the Texas high school state track meet as a recruiting tool.
>> As the season’s end nears in Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel re-examines the James Harden trade and re-declares the Thunder did the right thing because the difference between Harden and Kevin Martin “wasn’t that vast.” I disagree.
I don’t think Harden would’ve helped beat the Heat, but Martin hasn’t been the player I expected. And Harden, though he struggled in last year’s Finals, could take over games for five-minute stretches. That’s what Kevin Durant needed during these playoffs, with or without Russell Westbrook.
>> If you’re really bored, you can watch all 272 of Steph Curry’s 3-pointers this season. It takes 10 minutes and 16 seconds. I think Curry himself should watch this video before Game 6 to get his swagger back.
>> Tiger Woods won his biggest golf tournament in five years. But he can’t avoid controversy.
>> A Lincoln arena football coach crosses the field and drops an Omaha Beef running back after a touchdown run.
>> Twenty-five years ago this spring, Nebraska sanctioned high school soccer. Monday night, the sport achieved its biggest night yet. I wasn’t there to watch Omaha South-Creighton Prep — I regret it. But from my conversations with fans, the Class A final had all the characteristics of a watershed moment.
Soccer has been slowly gaining steam for years in Nebraska. Who knows where the sport is going, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if 25 years from now — when I’m fishing golf balls out of the pond at Benson Park and selling ‘em for quarters — a World-Herald reporter writes a story looking back on the 2013 state championship night. What made it special. What happened to those players. I’d read it.