“Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises.” (Shakespeare)
Not since the fall of 1956 has any player joined the Kansas basketball team who created such high expectations and anticipation among Jayhawk fans.
The player in 1956 was Wilt Chamberlain, and the expectancy of great play during the 2013-2014 season is focused on freshman Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins is not unaccustomed to media attention – far from it. Wiggins is by far the most heralded recruit of the Bill Self era.
He has already garnered many 2013 national honors including: Mr. Basketball USA, Gatorade National Player of the Year, Naismith Prep Player of the Year and the McDonald's All-American team.
In addition, before he's ever played a college game, Wiggins is already being conceded the number-one slot in the 2014 NBA Draft.
That's excessive hoopla for an 18-year-old kid just out of high school.
Coach Bill Self recently said, “It's kind of weird to me because we've recruited other good players before, but we've never had anybody with this kind of attention. I kind of feel for him. He's going to have to be able to tell people no, and we have to make it easier for him.”
Self has tried to temper the expectations. He said that Wiggins is “going to go through ups and downs like everybody else, but he's as talented as any player in the country because from a raw athletic ability standpoint, he can do some things that I've never had a player be able to do physically.”
Wiggins is much more than a promising recruit.
College freshmen face an enormous change from high school to college.
Young kids just out of high school are thrustfile and said after the signing, “I'm just trying to play offensive line. I really love everything that comes with it. It's a different territory in there. It's a very similar system to what I ran in college.”
Head coach Andy Reid is pleased with the situation. “We were fortunate to have a draft where there were a number of offensive linemen who are first-round-caliber guys,” he said. “That's what we need here, and we have a good nucleus now.”
Kansas City's full squad is in St. Joseph for their annual training camp grind.
On the first day of practice, 4,000 fans showed up, which was the largest crowd ever for the first day of camp in St. Joe.
Reid and general manager John Dorsey have plenty of new faces in training camp. Among the newcomers are four talented free-agent acquisitions: wide reciever Donnie Avery, tight end Anthony Fasano, and defensive backs Dunta Robinson and Sean Smith.
The Chiefs' biggest off-season deal brought quarterback Alex Smith to Kansas City.
Page 2 of 2 - Smith was the number-one choice of San Francisco in the 2005 draft.
He had been the starter for the 49ers until late last season. In order for the Chiefs to make the playoffs, Smith will have to be a dominant quarterback.
Kansas City had a number of quality players before Reid and Dorsey arrived.
Among the most prominent are pro bowl linebackers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, and runing back Jamaal Charles.
Hali has always been a leader with his enthusiasm and recently said, “Playing football and making money, that's not the goal. It's to win a championship here for the Chiefs.”
Summer is flitting away and football season will be here before we know it. Here's hoping the Chiefs can live up to preseason expectations.
Mac Stevenson is a longtime columnist on collegiate and professional sports in Eastern Kansas.