With the Kansas Jayhawks' regular season winding down, freshman forward Andrew Wiggins saved his best for last. The likely one-and-done star delivered 41 points on 12-of-18 shooting in the Jayhawks' 92-86 loss to West Virginia on Saturday, establishing a new season-high by a wide margin.
Losing the regular-season finale might be disappointing to Kansas fans, but rest assured, what Wiggins did to the Mountaineers has the rest of the hoops world drooling. Showing off some mid-range game while getting endless trips to the basket, he looked as strong offensively as he has all year.
You can tell from the shot chart, which doesn't include his 15-of-19 effort from the free throw line, Wiggins was pretty much unstoppable:
Here's a visual look at how Andrew Wiggins did his damage against West Virginia. pic.twitter.com/iSUbXiqtf7— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 8, 2014
The Mountaineers aren't without some solid athletes, including 6'9 freshman Devin Williams, but Wiggins single-handedly kept the Jayhawks in this game. With big man Joel Embiid sidelined and Wayne Selden unable to find his shot, Kansas needed its heralded freshman to rise to the occasion more than ever.
He did, even if the game resulted in a loss. 24 of his 41 points came in the second half as Kansas took a 22-point deficit and whittled it down to five with over a minute to go. The Jayhawks actually had a small chance to steal this win at the end, almost entirely because of the work that Wiggins put in on both sides of the ball.
With eight rebounds, five steals, four blocks and two assists, this wasn't simply Wiggins carrying the scoring load for Kansas. He was the motor that powered everything the team tried to do.
It's been a long season full of ups and downs, but Wiggins showed against West Virginia the complete package that he brings to the table. Defense was hardly a question mark at this point, but now we've seen him step up and show it on both sides of the court. The hype said he'd be a two-way star, and for once he looked the part.
Most likely, this won't mean Wiggins leapfrogs teammate Embiid in the NBA mock drafts, but it does give him something he had lacked most of the season: a marquee performance. We've actually seen Wiggins at his best, and we have something tangible to point to and say, "In the NBA, he could be THIS."
And from what we all saw Saturday, it could be really exciting. If it's any indication of what's to come, he'll likely deserve the hype he's received.