If you paid any attention at all to the 2014-15 NBA season — even as someone who accidentally stumbled upon highlights a few times a week — you likely noticed one-and-done Kansas product Andrew Wiggins wowing crowds as he soared through the air on his way to the rim.
The Minnesota rookie became a SportsCenter regular with his array of gravity-defying jams, making the spectacular look routine.
Now, thanks to the miracle of YouTube, if you have 15 minutes and a love for levitation, you can watch each and every dunk from Wiggins’ Rookie-of-the-Year-winning season.
According to stats.nba.com, the Canadian phenom completed 79 of his 88 dunk attempts as a rookie and threw down 8 of his 10 alley-oops.
You can watch all 87 of Wiggins’ throw-downs (plus his gems from the Rising Stars Challenge at the NBA’s All-Star Weekend) on a two-part highlight reel compiled by the FreeDawkins channel.
It’s quite the compilation, serving up reminder after reminder of the ridiculous lift Wiggins gets every time he leaves the floor.
As those who saw Wiggins play for the Jayhawks can attest, watching him in person can leave one awestruck. Broadcasters included. Here are a few of the lines you’ll hear in the clips:
“Strong take by the Rock Chalk rookie!”
“How bout this 20-year-old?!”
“You know it’s a big one when you’re on the road and the opposing fans go, ‘Ooooh.’”
“Don’t try this at home. This is not safe.”
Which rim-rattler stands out as the best? Few of the slams match Wiggins’ attack on Utah shot-blocker Rudy Gobert. The rookie GIF’d “The Stifel Tower.”
As the play-by-play man says: “That is not human right there.”
— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.
Forget “'Hawks in the NBA,” we’re renaming the blog “Dunks by 'Hawks over 'Hawks in the NBA.”
First, it was Xavier Henry welcoming Jeff Withey to the NBA. Now, it’s “little brother” Thomas Robinson taking it to big bros Marcus and Markieff Morris. I think we’ve found an exception to “Family Over Everything.”
Let’s face it, we’re living in an era of unprecedented Jayhawk-on-Jayhawk crime, and KU coach Bill Self isn’t doing anything to stop it. Might as well just turn on the tube, sit back and enjoy the show.
The rest of the T-Rob Show
Robinson’s Wednesday night was punctuated by the putback, but he did quite a bit more to help the Trail Blazers beat the Suns.
Robinson scored nine points and collected six rebounds with a block and a steal in 10 fourth-quarter minutes, and Portland outscored Phoenix 24-19 when T-Rob was on the floor. Not too shabby in a one-point victory.
Maybe more importantly, the first-year Blazer provided some of his trademark energy. From blazersedge.com:
"I don't know if there was one play (for Robinson)," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "It was just the whole energy at both ends of the floor, getting rebounds, getting out, obviously the dunk was a big play. The general feel for that stretch, I thought there was a stretch of (positive) momentum, the dunk was certainly part of it."
A couple other fun notes, with another hat-tip to Blazersedge:
- Robinson hoisted a desperation, end-of-the-shot-clock, fadeaway three during the first quarter … and was fouled by Marcus Morris. A beautiful moment.
- T-Rob missed two of those three free throws, though (and six of nine on the night, bringing his career average down to 52.3 percent through 120+ tries).
- After Robinson missed five of his first seven foul shots, Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek went “Hack-a-T-Rob” in the fourth quarter and had the Suns intentionally put Robinson back on the line, where he made one and missed one.
- And about that dunk...
Thomas Robinson on his dunk: "I went after the board.., I stretched out and had it. It was cool. My eyes were probably closed to be honest."— Ben Golliver (@blazersedge) November 14, 2013
Not just a dunk prop
Markieff Morris earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors with a fantastic four-game stretch good for 22.8 points (69.8 percent shooting), 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals. And even after playing under the weather and dropping an eight-point dud against the Blazers, Keef is fourth in the NBA in field-goal percentage (60.0 percent) and ninth in basketball’s all-encompassing P.E.R. stat (26.1).
Twin it to win it
Markieff and Marcus Morris have been a big part of the Phoenix Suns’ surprising 5-3 start. The twins have come off the bench together in all but one game this season (Markieff was suspended for the opener). In those seven games, Markieff’s played 199 total minutes and Marcus 155. They’ve shared the majority of that time (125 minutes or about 18 minutes a game). And over the last five games, the Suns’ bench has been the No. 2 scoring bench in the entire league and the best per minute.
Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek on Marcus and Markieff, from azcentral.com:
“They have been great together and great with the guys on the court,” Hornacek said. “It hasn’t been what we call ‘brother ball,’ where they just pass to each other. They just happen to be out there together now, playing the game.”
The twins are loving their success as reserves, too. From azcentral.com, again:
“This definitely works,” Marcus said. “We still play together. We’re both successful at what we’re doing. If I get a couple more buckets to fall, I’ll be right there where ‘Kieff’ is at. I don’t want to switch it up. We’re going so well. Why change something that’s going good? Just keep riding with it and hopefully ‘Kieff’ can fight for Sixth Man of the Year. I don’t see him going down from here because his confidence is real high.”
Cole Aldrich, cheerleader
Despite a desperate need for big bodies, the New York Knicks have played backup center Cole Aldrich just 10 total minutes and only three of their eight games this season. Cole’s not letting it affect his, um, enthusiasm for the game.
(And let’s never forget “Kung Fu Cole” from his time in OKC)
On Nick Collison, from DailyThunder.com’s Tyler Parker:
“I’d also mention he’s the Thunder’s best on ball defender in the post and his hedges are so pristine they should be featured in Southern Living.”
Markieff Morris, via the Arizona Republic:
“I heard the other day that I’m the skinniest power forward in the league,” Markieff said, referring to strength and conditioning coach Mike Elliott’s ribbing. “I might be the skinniest, but I’m damn sure not the weakest.”
On Ben McLemore, who started his first game Wednesday, via the Sacramento Bee:
“Sometimes you have to let a guy – kind of throw him out there a little bit – and let him learn from those mistakes and get those experiences under their belt,” (Kings coach Mike) Malone said. “The bottom line is experience is the best teacher, and for him being out there against All-Star-type players, that’s the only way he’s going to learn and get better.”
On Kirk Hinrich, via the Chicago Tribune:
As for the bragging rights after Kansas knocked off Duke, (Taj) Gibson said former Jayhawk Kirk Hinrich took it easy on former Blue Devils Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy and Luol Deng.
"He didn't really go too hard on them," Gibson said. "He's just so cocky when it comes to his school. He's in the corner all nonchalant like, 'Yeah.' He always thinks he doesn't have to say much because he just knows Kansas is always going to win."
Can’t get enough of your favorite Jayhawks in the NBA? Be on the lookout for our nightly “How former Jayhawks fared…” stat recaps. Look for them on the KUsports.com homepage or this nifty, bookmarkable landing page.
In case you’ve missed any, here are the past few days:
And be sure to come back to the blog as we turn stodgy stats — Ben McLemore’s 1-for-8 Wednesday, for example — into something a little more exciting:
[Hmmm. What to write about for our 'Hawks in the NBA blog? What to write? Oh, a couple former Kansas basketball teammates played against each other Tuesday night. I guess it wouldn't hurt to check that out and lead with … HOLY MOTHER OF MONSTER JAMS!]
What on earth did Jeff Withey do to Xavier Henry when they both lived in Lawrence and played for KU to ignite his wrath?
Poor Withey. Let's read a transcript of the fake dialogue that happened on the play:
Withey: "Oh, there's my old buddy, Xavier. Better slide over to cut him off. Hey, X. What the … ?"
[Lakers bench explodes, L.A. fans lose it.]
Withey: "Man, I thought we were friends. Doesn't he remember the good old days?"
Henry: "Nah. But I remember that time I did this."
Actually, ESPN Los Angeles writer Dave McMenamin asked Henry about the play against his former KU cohort after the game:
Xavier Henry on The Dunk: "I knew it was Jeff (Withey) ... He decided to take a charge and that wasn't the right thing for him"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) November 13, 2013
Oh, man. Henry even tweeted about the dunk that earned him the No. 1 spot on SportsCenter's Top 10:
G/N world new game new day pic.twitter.com/62eQ7EENFM— Xavier Henry (@XavierHenry) November 13, 2013
That dialogue might have been pretty accurate.
Anyway, the dunk of the night and Henry's 15 points busted him out of a four-game slump and helped the Lakers whoop the Pelicans, 116-95.
Meanwhile, this was actually the best game of rookie Withey's young career: nine points, five rebounds, one block in 18 minutes. And he learned an important lesson: challenge the shot or hustle yourself out of the way before you get posterized.
Getting away from Jayhawk-on-Jayhawk crime, the Miami Heat's Mario Chalmers (15 points, seven assists in a 118-95 beatdown of the Bucks) spent most of the night confusing Milwaukee's Khris Middleton, a former Texas A&M standout, with highlight-worthy passes. Helps to have that LeBron guy finishing the plays, too.
After helping the two-time defending champion Heat win again, Chalmers, like many former Jayhawks in the NBA, watched KU knock off Duke at the Champions Classic.
Here's what some of the guys were tweeting about the 94-83 win.
Chalmers enjoyed the show.
I said it once and imma say it twice. It's a great day to b a Jayhawk. Enjoy ur night everyone. I'm out— Mario Chalmers (@mchalmers15) November 13, 2013
Cole Aldrich took to Twitter to hit up KU recruit Tyus Jones, who will announce his college choice Friday.
Brandon Rush provided succinct analysis.
Selden nice— Brandon Rush (@BRush_25) November 13, 2013
Markieff Morris liked what he saw.
But perhaps the best tweet came well before tipoff, when Chalmers trash-talked Heat teammate and Duke alum Shane Battier — and didn't even have the common decency to use the man's twitter handle. #smh
Today is a great day to b a Jayhawk. Them dukies goin down in chi town. Rock chalk jayhawk. Sorry @Shan eBattier it ain't happening— Mario Chalmers (@mchalmers15) November 12, 2013