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Wiggins, Parker, Randle shine in collegiate debuts

shotThe expected one-year NCAA collegiate careers of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle have finally tipped off with the trio among a group of strong freshmen that will wow fans all season.

The 18-year-old Canadian Wiggins led Kansas University with 16 points and added three rebounds, three steals and two assists as the Jayhawks beat Louisiana-Monroe 80-63 in the season debut.

“He did some good things,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said of the freshman Wiggins.

“I think he can be more aggressive, but I think all the guys can be more aggressive.”

Many observers believe that Wiggins, who helped Canada to the bronze medal at the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship, could be the number one pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Wiggins is also expected to play a big role in the future of Canada Basketball.

Parker was long considered the number one pick in the draft class but has been passed by Wiggins – and in some experts’ eyes others as well.

But the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship winner showed his full arsenal in Duke’s 111-77 rout of Davidson. The 18-year-old Parker made 8-of-10 shots from the field – including all three three-point attempts – in scoring 22 points and added six rebounds, two assists and a block.

“First game in college – are you kidding me?” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Parker.

“That was a terrific performance. I thought he played with a lot of poise.”

Parker has dropped to seventh in some mock drafts with at least one outlet saying the number two pick behind Wiggins will be Randle.

The 18-year-old Randle, who helped Team USA to gold at the 2012 U18 FIBA Americas Championship, is part of a great freshmen class at the University of Kentucky and he did nothing to lower his stock. Randle collected 22 points and 14 rebounds in the Wildcats’ opening win over the Norse and followed that with 23 points and 15 rebounds against Northern Kentucky.

“I’m still missing some opportunities. I just have to learn from it and improve,” said Randle, who made 10 of 14 free throws against Northern Kentucky.

Another freshman to watch this season will be the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship winner Aaron Gordon. The 18-year-old started his collegiate career at the University of Arizona with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in the Wildcats’ 73-62 win over Cal Poly.

“He did a lot of things tonight. He makes his free throws and he has not a good night, but a great night,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said of Gordon, who struggled from the charity stripe with just 2-of-6 attempts falling.

Tuesday promises a huge night in college basketball as Randle and number one Kentucky take on number two Michigan State. In addition, number four Duke and Parker face off against Wiggins and Kansas, who are fifth in the AP Top 25 and sixth in the USA Today coaches poll.

Parker made sure everyone knew that his next game was not a one-on-one against Wiggins.

“This is Duke versus Kansas. There are no individual match-ups. It’s a team sport and that’s all I’m looking for. My guys against their guys. And hopefully we’ll be on top,” said Parker.

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