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By LARRY VAUGHT

CHICAGO — From what ESPN analyst Jay Bilas has seen, he believes freshmen Julius Randle of Kentucky, Andrew Wiggins of Kansas and  Jabari Parker will be the top three picks in the 2014 NBA draft.

“I don’t know the order. I don’t think anybody does,” Bilas said two hours before the Champions Classic in Chicago that featured those three teams along with Duke.

The consensus has been that Wiggins would be the No. 1 pick. Bilas isn’t so sure and says he’s not hearing so much about Wiggins being a clear No. 1.

“He (Wiggins) was the No. 1 rated player coming out of high school. The draft isn’t today. Wiggins is really talented,” Bilas said. “I don’t think he is as prepared to take a game over now as the others. I think Parker and Randle are better right this second. Right this second won’t determine very much. It won’t determine anything in the draft.

“The winners of the game tonight will be great. But it won’t determine a championship. You don’t get a trophy for this. In perpsective, you can lose this game by 20 and still win the national championship. It’s important but not an end all.”

Bilas liked Randle’s ability before the season started and has seen nothing to change his mind.

“He is doing a pretty good job, but he can get better. He is so physically imposing and is such a strong rebounder. When I have watched him, two dribble or less it is hard to deal with him. He is really, really good,” Bilas said. “He can expand his game. He can shoot a little bit. He really has not gone down in the post very much, and he can do that. He has a lot of versatility.”

Bilas said he’s not knocking Wiggins’ ability by noting Randle and Parker — “Parker is really good and versatile, too” — are better players today in terms of taking over a game.

“That doesn’t seem to be his (Wiggins’) personality of being a lead guy right this second, demand shots, to be the man. That’s something he will evolve into. I don’t see him right now being a guy who is going to get 30 tonight,” Bilas said. “Well, Randle can get 30. Parker can get 30. Both of them have scored more points in a game than Wiggins has (this year).

“Wiggins is tremendous. You are not saying when you say Randle might be a little bit better, you are not saying that Wiggins can’t play. That dude can play. What you are saying is that if I had to pick a player right now that I needed to go out and score 30, I would pick Wiggins third of those three right now. By the end of the year, it could be different.”

Bilas said the Champions Classic was good for all players, but especially young players like Kentucky has.

“You are going to be put in a Final Four atmosphere. This will probably be more powerful given that only four No. 1 seeds (Memphis, UCLA, Kansas and North Carolina in 2008) have made it to the Final Four once. These are all No. 1 seed caliber teams,” Bilas said. “This will probably be better than the Final Four. Maybe the level of play won’t be as good as it will be at the end because these teams are all going to get significantly better.

“We would be lucky to have a Final Four this good. It makes it more interesting in a way because it is in a smaller arena. The Final Four (in Dallas) is in this 80,000 behemoth. This is kind of old school. It is pretty neat.”

6 Responses to Jay Bilas: “Parker and Randle are better” now than Wiggins

  • Mike says:

    Didn’t necessarily expect a win here but for UK to come out like they didn’t have a clue was very alarming. What was Cal’s gameplan? Behind by 12 at half. We have no offense, defense, or coaching. Izzo loves to take the opposition to the wood shed and is why most folks consider him one of the top in game coaches in the NCAA. Might settle for 39-1.

    • Larry Pup says:

      If they hit their free throws they win it Mike. They were 15 down and came back hoss. Their defense was off tonight especially the first half. This UK team will be a force come March. Just wait and see.

  • What a Great Game….Yeah ! Nervous Mistakes, bad free throws, no fast breaks…..But, to have a HOLD YOUR BREATHE, ” Jump out of Your Chair ” Game of this caliber, so early in the Season, WOW….What A Great Game and Cat’s could of Won It ! Randle, Is Kentucky Basketball … He’s gonna be like Jamal Mashburn, Dan Issel and James Lee, all rolled into one ! ( 27 Pts. 13 Reb ) Those are Issel Numbers. Mashburn Moves and Lee’s Strength…

  • Mike says:

    Larry…..It was as good of a game as we all thought it would be. I still haven’t come down from it yet. It still was a very, very WINABLE game and could have extended the 40-0 dream. Not much needs to be said about the abominable FT’s and TO’s, but the Harrisons got baptized and didn’t pass the test. They were 4-13 and certainly they will continue to get better. The thing that frosted my “you fill in the blanks” was the poor offensive showing of both WCS and Poythress. Those 2 guys should be the leaders and Poy had a very strong board game but he still is not consistent. Very disappointed that WCS didn’t seem to want to be in it offensively.

  • King Ghidora says:

    I was afraid the lack of experience would show. It wasn’t just the missed free throws and turnovers and the bad shooting first half. Despite that they still had a chance to win. What concerned me was their lack of defensive intensity. That should come with more time in Cal’s care. I hope so because without it they won’t go far. MSU had 7 turnovers for the game. That isn’t much. But the Cats showed heart and ability and just as I expected no one can stop Randle. If UK plays MSU late in the year UK wins by 20 or more. They just weren’t ready for a game of this type. Of course now they see where they need to be and that will help. I just think it’s asking a lot of totally green players to come out and face a team like Mich. St. this early in their careers. But it’s UK. That’s how it goes. In the past UK had their own experience though. Now they don’t have enough although I think Alex gave them a big lift at times.

  • coldspringmike says:

    What a great learning experience for this young team. This game cannot do anything but help these kids learn many valuable lessons, proud of the guys for not throwing in the towel. Have to think MSU is probably thinking they got away with one.

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