Having discussed All-

Star center Joel Embiid

and rising star point

guard Devonte’ Graham

in Part 1 of the series and

the Morris twins in Part

2, the third part of the

Jayhawks in the NBA run

features a pair of oneand-

done former Kansas

University talents who

are performing at a high

level for their respective

teams in a very competitive

Western Conference.

Former No. 1 overall

pick Andrew Wiggins is

in his sixth season in the

league — all with Minnesota

— and Kelly Oubre,

Jr. started his fifth year

in the pros and first full

season with Phoenix this

winter. Both players offered

KU fans glimpses

of their potential in their

single season in Lawrence

after entering college as

McDonald’s All-Americans

and highly-sought

recruits.

Andrew Wiggins

— Minnesota

Timberwolves

Speaking of recruiting,

Wiggins came to Kansas

as the top-rated player in

all of the 2013 recruiting

class. Andrew has been

arguably the highest profile

freshman and possibly

the most talented

player in the Bill Self era.

He was named Gatorade

National Player of the

Year and Mr. Basketball

USA in his senior season

of high school and entered

his lone season at

Kansas with a lot of expectations

on his narrow

shoulders.

Early on, it seemed as if

Wiggins would be unable

to live up to those lofty

preseason standards,

but he soon grew into the

role of the primary scorer

on a very talented squad

which included sophomore

Perry Ellis and fellow

freshmen Joel Embiid,

Wayne Selden and

Frank Mason.

Wiggins finished as the

top scorer on the team

at 17.1 ppg, was a semifinalist

for the Naismith

College Player of the Year

and was the consensus

No. 1 pick in the 2014

NBA Draft. He was selected

by the Cleveland Cavaliers

a few weeks before

Lebron James announced

he was returning to the

Cavs. However, less than

two months later, he was

dealt to Minnesota in a

deal that brought Kevin

Love to Cleveland and

helped James to secure

the city’s first professional

sports title in over 50

years.

The sinewy Canadianborn

Wiggins has added

a decent amount of

muscle to his frame since

turning pro, and adjusted

quickly to the rigors

of the league as he has

missed just ten games

in his first five years. He

earned the 2014-2015

NBA Rookie of the Year

and has averaged over

19 ppg in his career. Wiggins

is currently averaging

nearly 25 per contest

so far this season, while

his best season prior to

this year was in 2016-

2017, when he averaged

a career-high 23.6 ppg

and was rewarded with

a five-year, $148 million

contract extension at the

outset of the next season.

Rumors have begun

swirling about Wiggins’

two-time All-Star teammate,

Karl-Anthony

Towns, being unhappy

with the franchise and

the possibility of a trade.

Towns would likely fetch a

nice return of either draft

picks or a mix of a young

talent on the verge of

breaking out and a solid

veteran to help make the

money situation work.

If Towns decides to

stay and the pair can get

on the same page, they

could form a very dangerous

1-2 punch, but either

way the ‘Wolves have

some solid complimentary

players in rookie Jarrett

Culver and veterans

like Jeff Teague and Robert

Covington who are eager

to help Minnesota return

to the playoffs after

losing in the first round

in 2018, Wiggins’ only

playoff experience.

Kelly Oubre, Jr. —

Phoenix Suns

Oubre has had a much

different path as a professional

after being drafted

No. 15 overall by the Atlanta

Hawks in 2015 and

having his rights traded

to the Washington Wizards.

He played sporadically

as a rookie, averaging

just over ten minutes

per game, but became a

more integral part of the

Wizards over the next two

seasons as they made

the playoffs in 2017 and

2018. Midway through

last year, Washington

traded Oubre to Phoenix,

where he is teamed with

fellow 2015 draftee Devin

Booker, along with 2018

No. 1 overall pick Deandre

Ayton. The Suns

also have another former

Jayhawk on the team,

fourth-year power forward

Cheick Diallo.

Kelly has improved his

scoring average in each

year and looks to be

carving out an identity

for himself with Phoenix.

After arriving in the

desert, he started a little

over a fourth of the final

40 games and averaged

career highs in points

(16.9), rebounds (4.9),

minutes (29.5), field goal

percentage (.453) and

several others, and has

started all 34 games for

Phoenix thus far in 2019-

2020.

Oubre is the Suns second

leading scorer at 18

ppg, and while his early

career showed signs of

him becoming a “3 and

D” player — a perimeter

specialist who excels at

playing good defense

and knocking down open

threes — he has recently

earned a reputation as a

great finisher around the

rim and is often a feature

of many highlight reels

with his posterizing slam

dunks (see photo to the

left for just one example).

Ayton just returned to

the lineup after missing

all but four games due

to injury and gives the

Suns an inside scoring

presence who could average

a double-double each

night to pair with Oubre

and Booker — who is averaging

25.2 ppg — on

the outside. If the three

can gel together down

the stretch, Phoenix has

a very real chance of

grabbing the eighth and

final spot in the playoffs

this year. They are currently

in tenth place in

the West, just a couple

of games back of the San

Antonio Spurs for the No.

8 seed.