Bauman: Randle, Parker and Wiggins can improve upon spectacular performances

Julius RandleCHICAGO — Three headlining freshmen. Three spectacular performances.

Julius Randle?

All he did was take his youthful Kentucky Wildcats and rally them with a dominant second half performance of 23 points and eight rebounds against Michigan State, one of the more consistently well coached and talented teams in college basketball.

Jabari Parker?

“There was one stretch,” stated Kansas coach Bill Self following his team’s impressive win over Parker and Duke, “What was he, 4-for-5 from 3 and he was 4-for-4 in his first game? He’s 8-for-9 to start the season, leading the country in 3-point field goal percentage. He was terrific. … He was the best player in the game for a big stretch.”

Andrew Wiggins?

Well, he was the sole reason Self referred to Parker as ‘The best player in the game for a big stretch.”

After a foul-plagued first half, Wiggins exerted his competitive nature in the second half by maturely picking his spots to score and guarding Parker with energy and athleticism that contributed to slowing Parker down offensively in the second half.

Wiggins’ quick and advanced catch, jab-step, one-dribble pull-back jumper (excellent video quality, 35 second mark) to extend the lead to 87-81 with 1:33 left will be unforgettable for years to come.

“I seen a lot of people packing the lane, waiting for me to drive, so I knew that was off limits,” Wiggins explained following his team’s 94-83 victory. “I had confidence in my jumper. That’s what I’ve been practicing.

“Times like this are fun, you know? Times are remembered.”

Indeed, the Champions Classic will be remembered  for some time. And as amazing of a display as these preternatural freshmen and their teammates put on, they can still improve.

Here’s how:


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