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Joel Embiid shines in Kansas' victory over Iowa State

The 7'0 freshman had some ridiculous moments Monday.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

After Iowa State's 77-70 home loss to the Kansas Jayhawks on Monday night, Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg made a statement of growing sentiment; at the very least, it wasn't controversial.

Joel Embiid, the 7-foot Kansas freshman, was indomitable at times Monday. He finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and two steals in 28 minutes (he also had seven turnovers and fouled out). It was one second-half sequence, a stretch of 23 seconds, that showed a full vocabulary of skills that has sprung him to being discussed among the favorites to go No. 1 in the 2014 NBA Draft.

With 9:40 to play, Embiid scored at the basket to give Kansas a 58-51 lead. Iowa State pushed the ball up, and 11 seconds later, 6'6 wing Dustin Hogue went up. This is what happened.


Embiid had five fouls Monday—one of which was a flagrant—but that was not one of them. Hogue went up strong with both hands, and Embiid ripped it down from his right hand and cradled it into his left, at once stopping an important Cyclones possession dead in its tracks and sending Kansas back in transition.

The resulting Kansas possession ended 12 seconds later with an Embiid reverse layup. The freshman showed perfect body control in 23 seconds of basketball chaos. In that time he scored four points, ran the floor twice and blocked a shot in the most perfect way possible, retaining possession cleanly and sending the ball back the other way.

About a minute later, Kansas held a precarious 62-53 lead after Iowa State turned an Andrew Wiggins turnover into two points. It felt like the Cyclones had a chance to make a stand, and it was Kansas' turn to respond.


Embiid missed the free throw -- he's 47-of-71 (66.2 percent) from the line this season, not terrible but not great -- but that's almost beside the point. Notice Kansas coach Bill Self hardly reacts when Embiid bullies his way laterally across the paint, grabs the rebound in traffic and feeds it off the glass through contact. Basketball coaches oddly alternate between complete buffoonery and confident stoicism, and Self here likely isn't surprised as much as he is simply contemplating a string of thoughts Hoiberg would later offer out loud to reporters.

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