PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, both freshman at Kansas last year under head coach Bill Self, are projected to be two of the top three selections. The Sixers have the third and 10th overall picks in the upcoming NBA draft and both Wiggins and Embiid are possible selections for the Sixers at number three. Self, joined Michael Barkann and Ike Reese on 94WIP on Thursday, and praised both of his former players, predicting each of them to be eight to 10 time all-stars.
Wiggins averaged 17.1 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game, and 1.5 assists per game last season. His freshman year included back-to-back 41 and 30 point games late in the season, and Wiggins is highly regarded as the most talented player in the upcoming NBA draft.
“Well first, this is not an exaggeration—unbelievable to coach,” Self told Michael Barkann and Ike Reese on 94WIP on Thursday. “Never had a better kid here. Never had a more polite kid, never had a better teammate. A really sweet kid, sometimes too nice. We would have liked to have seen maybe some of that alpha dog in him more often. We did see it at times, but not consistently like he could have. Here’s a guy you’re talking about that could have been the number one pick in the draft last year that was a high school junior. This kid is a high school senior next year. I mean this past year, he should be a senior. He reclassified to graduate early, so he’s young. Unbelievable athlete and a terrific talent and the NBA game, I feel, really translates well for him. He’s a guy that can easily be an eight to 10 time all-star without question moving forward.”
Self acknowledged that Wiggins needs to develop a killer instinct and improve on some other areas of his game.
LISTEN: Bill Self On The Mike & Ike Show
“I think it’s good to have it in, but I do think it can be improved on,” Self explained. “I mean, we’re talking about a kid that gets 41 [points] in a game and gets 18 rebounds in another game, and six blocked shots in a game. He’s a guy that can do a little bit of everything, but he needs to attack the basket a little bit better, he’s got to improve his in between game a little bit, needs to get stronger.”
Wiggins at 6-foot, 8-inches and 200-pounds, is only 19-years-old and Self thinks his game will improve a ton as he transitions to the NBA.
“He’s gonna make his biggest jump now,” Self said. “He’s been around what real competition is like, he’s hungry, thirsty. I’m real excited, I’m real excited for him. His ceiling is ridiculously high, as you guys know.”
Self also talked about his former player in Embiid, who dealt with back injuries toward the end of his freshman year. Embiid averaged 11.2 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game, and 2.6 blocks per game last season at Kansas. Self says Embiid’s back is perfectly fine.
“I don’t see any problem, zero, with him moving forward,” Self said. “It’s not a surgical procedure, it’s nothing that should be lingering at all and I think there’s plenty of evidence to back that up. I’d be very surprised if the physicals that he takes moving forward—I’m sure he’ll take one for the teams picking in the top three spots and I would bet that all would have the same conclusion, that he looks strong as an ox.”
Self compared Embiid to 12-time NBA all-star, Hakeem Olajuwon.
“People think I’m nuts, I’m nuts, but there’s so much Olajuwon comparisons that have been made and I think they’re real,” Self admitted. “This kid—that’s his favorite player. Studies every move he [Olajuwon] makes. He’s got feet like Hakeem and he’s got touch like Hakeem.”
The NBA draft is on Thursday, June 26th.