Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker have been getting the superstar hype treatment for over a year now. But as any real college basketball fan knows, hype is just that. It’s all talk until you put the players on the court and see what they can deliver under the bright lights.
The Champions Classic, featuring three of the most highly touted NBA prospects in years, kicked off the college basketball season with four potential Final Four teams. In the first game, the University of Kentucky and their superstar freshman Julius Randle took on coach Tom Izzo and Michigan State Though it was a hard fought game (and Randle showed why he belongs in the best freshman conversation with Wiggins and Parker) Michigan State prevailed the winner in a 78-74 nail biter.
Even with game one featuring the top two ranked teams in the country, the real buzz surrounded #4 Duke and #5 Kansas battling it out. The highlight of the match-up was to see who would come out as the better prospect, Andrew Wiggins of Kansas or Jabari Parker of Duke. They did not disappoint.
The first half belonged to Parker. With his signature smooth style, Parker carried Duke on his back with 19 points and three steals. Wiggins found himself in early foul trouble, playing only 9 minutes total in the first half. By half-time, it looked as if Parker might outshine Wiggins.
The second half started off much like the first ended. The crowd went crazy over this Jabari Parker alley-oop from Quinn Cook.
Parker, a former prep star at nearby Simeon High School, would finish the game with 27 points, nine rebounds and three steals in a spectacular return to his hometown. But he would also finish the game on the bench. In a fantastic game almost overshadowed by the new rule changes for hand checking, Parker was one of two Duke players to foul out.
Wiggins dominated the second half, scoring 16 of his 22 points and outplaying Parker down the stretch. The nail in the coffin was his emphatic dunk that led to an “and one,” as well as Parker fouling out.
Even Lebron James, no stranger to the hype machine, was impressed with the two young stars. He tweeted during the game on Tuesday night:
GM’s wish the draft was tomorrow
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 13, 2013
In the end, Wiggins led the Jayhawks to victory, winning 94-83. But one thing is for sure after all the exciting hoops action Tuesday night. Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are just getting the hype machine warmed up.