OAKLAND, Calif. – Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins has already been projected for stardom by being named to the Associated Press preseason All-America team as a true freshman, and many NBA draft projections have him listed as the No. 1 overall selection next year.
On Thursday night, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant took the Wiggins projections to an even higher level.
"He's raw, but his ceiling is high. He can be like a Hall of Famer, All-Star, for sure. He's good," said Durant before the Thunder's loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Durant said he watched closely on television as Wiggins and Kansas defeated Duke on Tuesday night. Duke features another talented true freshman forward in Jabari Parker, whom Durant also thinks highly of after working with him at his basketball camp last summer.
Some NBA general managers and scouts aren't convinced Wiggins is the clear No. 1 overall pick, with Parker, Kentucky freshman forward Julius Randle, Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart and Australian guard Dante Exum in the running.
Durant says you can't go wrong selecting Wiggins or Parker at No. 1.
"That [Parker] kid is amazing," Durant said. "I think he is the best player in the country. Him and Wiggins are like '1A' and '1B.' Those guys are going to do the one-and-done thing, do it early. They are going to do really well in college and lead their teams to, I think, the Final Four. That's kind of like, 'Close your eyes and pick one.' You're good with either one of those guys.
"I love Jabari's game. He's so skilled. He has it all right now. Wiggins is on another level with God-given ability. You look at him, you can tell he's going to be really big and fill out a lot. He's really athletic."
Durant said the next generation of basketball players are ahead of the curve in large part because of technology.
"You can basically go to [search] your favorite player and watch film," Durant said. "You can go on YouTube and type in 'LeBron James' and watch every move he does, break it down and work on it. It's simple. When I was coming up you had to figure it out. I'm seeing [young] guys shooting fade-away and Euro-step floaters.
"Where are they getting this stuff? They're just watching these guys thoroughly [on video] and breaking it down. Some of these kids have access to going to my camp, or LeBron's camp or D-Wade's [Dwyane Wade's camp], getting 1-on-1 instruction. It's amazing. The game is growing."