Tag Archives: Andrew Wiggins

Becoming a Minnesota Timberwolves Fan: Tips on Properly Bandwagonning

Kansas Jayhawks basketball is one of maybe five things I truly love (possibly four if every retail video rental store is truly gone). Every year, on the first weekend of the NCAA March Madness tournament, my college buddies and I meet in Asheville, North Carolina to play golf in the morning and watch the tourney from lunch to lights out. These reunions take a pretty routine course each year. Jubilant greetings flow naturally into good natured ribbing around stories we’ve told dozens of times. I should mention that most of these guys—myself not included—are hardcore Kentucky Wildcat fans, so usually sometime around dinner, we start fighting about the indefinable morality of how John Calipari  runs a college basketball program. I usually start out sensibly, comparing him to Dr. Doom, Stalin and Hitler, because even though Cal is pure evil, there’s no denying he’s been successful. But at some point after the brilliant analogies, objectivity is lost and our individual fanhood warps us all into completely biased propaganda Gatling guns shooting for each other’s heads. The arguments get personal and put a very real wedge of negativity between our friendships for the remainder of the trip.

It’s my favorite weekend of every year.

Still, my friends and I are hitting our thirties now. It’s time to let go of petty allegiances. I recognize that a Jayhawks fan can be a better human being while still respecting that a Wildcats fan is a kind of human being in their own right. It’s time to reach across the aisle at the next level and bond on common ground. That next level is the NBA, that common ground is the Minnesota Timberwolves. That’s where me and my buddies are going to grow up in a more respectable fashion over the next decade. Back-to-back first rounders Karl Towns of UK and Andrew Wiggins of KU are exactly what we need. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that aligns our friendships with our fanships. The only real problem here is a classic one. How do you make the successful trip into a fan base without everyone saying you arrived via dreaded transport, the bandwagon?  Here’s some guidelines.

1. The first rule of bandwaggoning is to not talk about bandwaggoning. – No one was actually a T-Wolves fan prior to 2014. I don’t mean no one in my friend group, I mean no one in America. Until last year, the only traffic on Canis Hoopus was Ricky Rubio’s (probably charming) family. So when current T-Wolves fans talk to each other, we all know that the other person is lying to us about their decades of loyalty, but it’s very important to not acknowledge their lie or they’ll call you out as a bandwagon fibber too. It’s a lot like talking about your sexual conquests when you’re a freshman in high school. Third base? You mean my steady Tuesday night?

2. Have a relevant take on the “bigger than the sport” event surrounding the team. – You know when your significant other gives you a benign task like watering a $3 plant or paying attention to your children? And you let that responsibility slide for, like, maybe a few minutes or days, and suddenly a thirsty flower is a huge indictment about how you’ve given up and don’t love her anymore? The “bigger than the sport” topic is like that. True love goes the extra mile. Each team has something like this. Deflategate and Donald Sterling’s racist comments are some easy ones to recall. If you’re a fan of the Patriots or Clippers, you have to have a take on those topics. For Wolves fans in 2015, you need a relevant opinion on Flip Saunders, which honestly is one of the easiest “bigger than the sport” opinions to have. Guy was a Golden Gopher, coached through the Kevin Garnett years, drafted Karl Towns, and he made that deal for Wiggins. He’s directly tied to almost 90% of the moments that made Wolves’ fans smile. RIP Flip. Were there some horribly laughable moments of executive buffoonery in there too? Shut your mouth, you monster. Flip’s a hero.

3. Know the whole roster. – This seems like a no brainer, but it’s really about capitalizing on the market inefficiencies in Wolves convos. Lots of people will be able to say they knew Towns was special while he was at UK, but far fewer will be talking about how excited they were for Nemanja Bjelica’s stretch-four potential when he looked like “shit-you-not the next Dirk Nowitzki” in FIBA Eurobasket this past summer.

4. Buy some gear. – Sure, you’re pressing a little bit. It’s like buying her jewelry on a third date. Do you really want to make a financial commitment this early in the relationship? But we’re not talking season tickets here. We’re talking about a tasteful level of commitment that says, “I’m serious enough that you don’t need to feel bad about moving things along a little faster than normal because I’m going to be around months from now, even if you go a little crazy and end up missing the playoffs.” You know, something like an Andrew Wiggins t-shirt jersey, just because you were watching his highlights of that that 33-point outburst against the Hawks all day long and wanted to do something nice for him.

5. Finally, repeat after me, “I’ve always liked the Timberwolves.” – The ultimate bandwagon defense. You’ve been on this corner for years. It started when you were six years old and just thought wolves were cool. Worst day of your life was that move in middle school where you lost your Starter jacket. But you owned it. You were mistakenly excited for the Christian Laettner era and happily surprised when it transformed into the Kevin Garnett era. You don’t care what Steph Curry is doing, because the best shooter you’ve ever seen is Wally Szczerbiak, and hell yes you can spell his name without Google ( It starts with four completely insane consonants and is an indomitable trump card, btw. It gives you historical props and infers that your opponent is an illiterate chump).

For good measure, you’ll probably want to keep Tony Campbell and the Metrodome in your back pocket. People respect that year one crap. Here’s to my favorite team. Let’s have a great season!

Pouring one out for Malik Sealy,
Dusty “The Little Ticket” Riedesel

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A Gameday Portrait – Kansas Freshman Andrew Wiggins

He plays like the original Iron Man. Conceptually invincible in the imaginations of the uninformed, he is a marvel of engineering, a perfect avatar for his purpose with rocket blasters in his shoes. The only possible weakness could be the pilot. And then the internet dissects everything, and high school homicide spin moves are as outdated as roller-skate tech. Take away the elite athleticism and who is Andrew Wiggins? Not a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist. He’s overrated and overhyped, a mental drifter with a weak handle and a jumpshot as reliable as Hammer tech. Andrew Wiggins was the future, but that was three months ago.

The internet makes everything look outdated quickly, even its own declarations.

It’s so easy to scoff at the non innovative application of a resource, and then the resource itself goes unappreciated. The arc reactor is a publicity stunt until it’s Iron Man. Iron Man is just armor until it’s Extremis. That original message that “I am Iron Man” was inaccurate and “I am becoming Iron Man” is perfect. No story is ever Tony Stark versus the villain. The villains are merely impetus for evolution. And now the resource is appreciated. It’s always been a story of evolution, embryogenesis of the cybernetic organism’s singularity. Tony Stark was a human, but that was years ago.

Maybe cyborgs would be more patient with an embryonic narrative. Is he the leading scorer and top perimeter defender of a national title contender? Is he an underachiever? Pundits thrust prematurely for an ultimately unsatisfying climax. The scrutiny of the masses would make Ayn Rand shutter. Because the real question that every critical member of these scrutinizing masses is really daring you to ask is simple and cold and straight from Iron Man 2. Does the pilot deserve to have Andrew Wiggins’ body?

The Official Writing Bareback Preview for Kansas Basketball 2013-2014

The Kansas Jayhawks have their first pre-season basketball game tonight against the Pittsburgh State Gorillas. So here’s Writing Bareback’s official season preview..

This is a man’s world.

The criminally unfamous former head coach of the Greenwood High School men’s basketball team, Bruce Hensley, used to say, “A boy becomes a man when a man is needed.” And nothing could apply more to KU point guard, Naadir Tharpe. Last season, Tharpe showed some growth, and that growth mixed like oil and water with his tendency to shoot pull-up 3’s in transition despite being the worst available offensive option on the floor at the time. Whatever. I’m not mad at him. Some KU fans like their Tharpe to be a steady distributor with a low-turnover rate and even lower shot attempt numbers. Not me. I like my Tharpe to be irrationally confident to the point where I actually start believing he really is as good as he thinks he is. I want my Tharpe to look off a wide open Conner Frankamp—potentially the best pure shooter KU has ever recruited—and release a slightly contested wing three with only one thought in his head, “Sorry young frosh. For this shot, a man is needed.”

With Great Power Comes Absurd Expectations

I’m on the record. There is no way Andrew Wiggins lives up to the hype. And you know what, it doesn’t matter. Because this:

And maybe even this:

In the end, I suspect we’ll be much more enamored with flashes of elite talent than with consistently great basketball. I hope I’m wrong, but with reports of Wiggins being super chill at practice, it’s just easier to bet the under. But then again, there’s this:

Texts With Bill Self

He’s possibly has the nicest public image in college basketball, so I sent him some texts.

Me: Bill-o-strator!
Self: I think you have the wrong number.
Me: What? Why?
Self: Jay is the Bilastrator
Me: Who’s Jay?
Self: He’s a college basketball analyst for ESPN. Very insightful.
Me: Well, I don’t know him.
Bill: Who r u?
Me: I’m Dustin Riedesel, lifelong Jayhawks fan.
Bill: Ah, well why didn’t you say so? I’m always honored to text with a fan.
Me: Nice of you to say, Coach Self.
Bill: Shucks, call me Bill.
Me: Bill! Billy Boy! Bilbo Baggins!
Me: Bill?
Me: Coach Self?
Bill: Always honored to text with a fan.

—————————————————–

Me: Sup Coach?
Bill: Just watching the ’08 Championship for the 7,801st time.
Me: Great game. Kind of your “good to great” moment.
Bill: lol. Stop. I’m blushing.
Me: LMFAO. No you’re not! Are you?
Bill: 😉
Me: Take a Self-y right now and prove it!
Me: See what I did there?
Me: Alright, no Self-y.

—————————————————————

Bill: Hey Dustin, you got a moment?
Me: Sup Coach?
Bill: I just wanted to let you know what our team’s chances are this year. I think they’re good.
Me: Really?
Bill: Yep, we have a chance to be really good.
Me: How good?
Bill: Potentially as good as any of our other teams could have been with the same chances.
Me: I’m confused…
Bill: One game at a time. Just trying to improve every time we’re out on the floor. The ceiling’s the limit.
Me: But where’s the ceiling?
Bill: Potentially? It’s right up there.
Me: How high is up there?
Bill: You hesitate to be to sure with predictions, but it possibly might be a high ceiling kind of a season if we catch some breaks. Tons of potential here.
Me: Thanks coach.

The Lovable Giant

This is Joel Embiid:

Picture

Yep, he’s doing the foreigner finger wag. We all love the big man with personality. Is there anything funnier than Patrick Chewing?

One thing might be funnier. Here’s the great Dikembe Mutumbo still cashing checks from maybe the greatest “most with the least” marketing schtick of all time, the same finger wag Embiid should  100% adopt full time.

While most of the hype surrounding Joel Embiid is due to his “soccer-playing foreigner meets basketball just like Hakeem” potential, he’s going to win hearts and minds as long as he keeps up antics like this Mutumbo finger wag. If a kid from south Philly does this same move with a scowl, we’d be calling him a head case. Embiid does it with a Cameroonian naivete and we’re all charmed. He’s like a big kid out there! I remember feeling that kind of joy when my dad bought me an All Sport after the game. Clear eyes, full heart from Joel Embiid. Who says big men aren’t marketable?

The Future Is Now

Personally, I’m not excited for any new Jayhawk as much as I am for Wayne Selden. Unlike with Wiggins, everything you hear about this guy is fantastic across the board.

  • “Selden is the hardest-practicing freshman I’ve encountered in more than a quarter-century on the college basketball beat.” – Mike DeCourcy, The Sporting News
  • “He has the frame of an NBA two-guard already and he’s only 18. Tremendously compact handles, excellent jumper, plays within himself, great body control, beautiful eyes … he really has it all” – Michael Levin, SB Nation
  • “Scouts went crazy for Selden this summer. If he shoots well and plays with some discipline, he could move into the top 10.” – Chad Ford, ESPN

Most college players do not have the elite athleticism or size to generate NBA All-Star hype coming out of high school. Wayne Selden is amongst those masses. But since he happens to join KU alongside one of the genetic rarities that has those hype-tornado qualities, he’s overlooked. I believe in habitual work outperforming flashes of excellence. When Wayne Selden is the most productive backcourt player for KU, come back to this blog and read this sentence.

I told you so.

Forgot About….Perry?

Here I stand, with full knowledge that KU’s post-favoring, high-low offense and Perry Ellis’s consistent improvement and strong summer performances, and yet I’m unable to say anything exciting. Most of my readers will remember this article with this gif:

Perry’s the one in the back right corner who looks like the foreign exchange student on his first day in the cafeteria of a new school. Let your hair down, Perry! Perry’s like the girlfriend who does everything you want a girlfriend to do, but she’ll just never have the body of that sexy Andrew Wiggins girl. I know Perry’s going to be good, but with his floor-based post game, receding hairline and 3-option rotation of facial expressions, he’s going to be the subject of roughly 439 “It’s easy to forget about Perry Ellis” conversations this year. When you hear these, resist the urge to nod off. I have a feeling those conversations are going to be harbingers to “death by tomahawk dunk” moments via Andrew Wiggins. Then an announcer will chuckle and say, “And maybe that’s why we forget about Perry Ellis.” We’ll all nod, a little bit depressed at the genetic proof that God does play favorites.

The Next Slim Shady

People were always little weirded out that young, white Eminem could rap. Let’s try to be less shocked when this kid ends up balling.

Pleased to give you a comprehensive preview,
Dusty “Who’s Tarik Black?” Riedesel