Andrew Wiggins and the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks got the best of Jabari Parker and the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils Tuesday night in a matchup for the ages. The performances of both elite prospects were so impressive that NBA superstar LeBron James had to chime in on Twitter.
According to his feed, LBJ commented that general managers around the league were wishing that the NBA draft were held Wednesday.
Both freshman studs are locks to be selected in the early lottery and would likely go No. 1 and No. 2 overall—in some order—if the draft took place right now.
Parker had the better statistical showing in the 94-83 loss, coming away with 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting. He added nine rebounds, two steals, one block and one assist in 33 minutes of play.
Wiggins was a tad more efficient and helped his team pick up a critical victory, compiling 22 points—16 of which came in the second half—on 9-of-15 shooting, eight rebounds and one block in 25 minutes of action.
When asked about his team’s performance, Wiggins had this to say to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com: "Big players make big plays. I think our whole team, whoever was on the court, every possession we made a big play. That's why we came out on top."
Parker admitted that his game needs some improvement, as he fouled out with 1:33 left to play trying to contest a fast-break dunk from Wiggins: "They just wanted it more. They outplayed us in the second half. Me, I need to get just a little bit more experience. I've got a long way to go."
This contest—part of the Champions Classic, a doubleheader in Chicago featuring four of the nation’s best teams (No. 2 Michigan State knocked off No. 1 Kentucky prior to Duke vs. KU)—was one of the best early-season matchups you will ever. As James suggested, this should have not only GMs excited, but also fans of the NBA.
Parker and Wiggins are capable of completely altering the landscape of the league. The swingmen may end up having a Magic Johnson and Larry Bird-like rivalry that will better not only themselves but also the entire Association.
James may be safe in his perch atop the league right now, but these young men will be challenging him over the next few years and should eventually overtake him as the face of the NBA in time.
From his tweet on Tuesday night, it appears that King James is aware of that and understands just how great these emerging stars will be.
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