Wiggins outduels fellow freshman phenom Parker as Kansas tops Duke

Parker starts hot, but Wiggins has last laugh as Kansas tops Duke

11/13/13 in NCAABB   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Everyone has heard the old mantra, "It's not how you start, it's how you finish." I'm sure that Duke small forward Jabari Parker - who was ESPN's No. 2 ranked high school recruit in 2013 - has heard the saying plenty of times, but he was unable to execute it on Tuesday night against Kansas. Parker came out on fire, lighting up the Jayhawks for 19 points in the first half. He probably had a lot of folks wondering if he wasn't the best freshman in the country, with the potential to be the first overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Parker cooled off, however, scoring a decent eight points in the second half as Duke fell to Kansas by a score of 94-83.

In almost any other circumstance, Parker would have been lauded for his efforts. After all, he is just an 18-year-old kid playing his second ever NCAA basketball game. Despite being an inexperienced teenager who can't even buy a pack of cigarettes in the state of New Jersey, Parker erupted all over the fifth ranked team in the nation and was clearly his team's best performer.

Blog Photo - Wiggins outduels fellow freshman phenom Parker as Kansas tops DukeIn this circumstance, however, the spotlight is turned away from Parker and focused on another electrifying freshman - Kansas small forward Andrew Wiggins. While Parker started hot and finished lukewarm, Wiggins did just the opposite, scoring six points in the first half, but pouring in 16 in second to help his team pull away and secure the victory. Wiggins drilled a step-back jumper - impressive from a high-flyer like himself - with 1:33 remaining to give his team a four point lead, then put the icing on the cake with an and-one dunk that resulted in Parker fouling out.

While Parker may have put together the more entertaining highlight reel (which included a four point play, a crafty hop step and finish in the paint, and a one-handed slam on an alley-oop), it was Wiggins who pulled through in crunch time and got his team the win. Parker made a jump shot with 5:11 remaining to give Duke the lead, but he did not score for the rest of the game. Wiggins, on the other hand, scored six points after Parker's final bucket.

This is going to be a sort of media-driven rivalry for the rest of the season - who will reign supreme as the top freshman phenom, Wiggins or Parker? After Tuesday night's game, it looks like Wiggins - the only recruit ranked above Parker this year - has the upper hand, but each player is sure to have his ups and downs as the season goes on. Regardless of who you thought looked more impressive on Tuesday night, you have to admit that these two freshman appear to be just as good as the hype had suggested, and it should be a thrill to watch them dominate the college level for a year before making their likely jump to the NBA after one collegiate season.
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview

11/13/13   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

Rock Chalk.