Joel Embiid: 'I'm not sure I'm ready' for NBA lifestyle

Jamie Squire

Jayhawks freshman sensation Joel Embiid isn't sure he'll be making the jump everyone expects.

If you look at mock drafts on DraftExpress, ESPN.com or NBADraft.net today, you will see Kansas center Joel Embiid's name at the top, above teammate Andrew Wiggins and Duke phenom Jabari Parker. Despite the hype, though, the 7-foot freshman isn't sure if he'll be ready to make the jump to the next level next season, via ESPN's Dana O'Neil:

Asked what he intends to do about it all, Embiid at first says he doesn't want to think about next season. He wants to help his team win games, win a Big 12 championship and win a national championship. For someone still learning the English language, he has mastered the fine art of sports clichés.

But gently pressed to imagine himself in that place and lifestyle, Embiid shakes his head.

"I don't know," he said. "I think it would be too overwhelming for me right now. I'm not sure I'm ready."

Elsewhere in the profile, O'Neil reports that Embiid is aware of the fact that Shaquille O'Neal stayed in college for two years, Hakeem Olajuwon for three and Tim Duncan for four:

"I was curious because I want to be great, I want to be the best at my position one day," he said. "I'm trying to learn everything and what other people did. All of the great big men went to college at least two or three years. I think it's a big factor. I don't know if it will always work, but I think it's the best choice."

Embiid is coming off a 13-point, 11-rebound, 8-block performance in a win over Oklahoma State and is shooting a ridiculous 69 percent from the field this season, but he will turn 20 years old during March Madness and only started playing basketball three years ago. As stated in the piece, everything has moved faster than expected for him and he's still unable to drive a car.

Jonathan Tjarks: Embiid's unlimited upside

It's rare these days for a highly touted prospect to turn down guaranteed money to go back to school -- Marcus Smart's decision last year was an absolute shocker -- and it's almost unheard of for a potential No. 1 pick. Embiid, though, is clearly not a typical potential No. 1 pick. It's worth keeping an eye on comments he makes about the pros from now on.

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