Wilt, Danny, Andrew: 22 thoughts on three dynamic Kansas freshmen

Wednesday October 9th, 2013
Andrew Wiggins' jersey on sale at the campus bookstore.
Luke Winn/SI

That was an astronomical salary for a pro player in 1958, but its present-day equivalent is only $550,000.

Aug. 26, 11:44 a.m. (@J_ST3W_K_C) First class and I sit behind this guy named Andrew Wiggins. I like this place.

10. Wilt's dunking ability was unlike anything fans had ever seen. It was a source of fascination. I found it striking that, for Wilt's unveiling in Kansas' freshman-varsity scrimmage on Nov. 18, 1955, two high-schoolers made a drawing of a giant hand hovering over a rim, to encourage him to slam (from the Lawrence Journal-World):

12. Wiggins will wear the same number (22) his father, Mitchell, wore as a star guard at Florida State from 1981-83. (An illustration of Mitchell, wearing white Nike hi-tops and striped tube socks, appeared on the cover of the Seminoles' '82-83 media guide, shown below.)

19. When Dick Harp, the coach of Wilt's freshman team, wrote him a letter in the summer before he enrolled, it was airmailed to Kutsher's Country Club in the Catskills, where Wilt was working as a bellhop (and playing in basketball exhibitions). An image of the envelope, courtesy of the University of Kansas' Spencer Research Library: The letter covered such mundanity as shirts and pants ("Do not feel that you have to buy a lot of clothes for your classroom wear. You will find everyone goes around "pretty common" while attending class") and requested Wilt to reply with his shoe size.

22. In June, Wiggins made his trek from Toronto to Kansas by air. In 1983, the Manning family drove from Greensboro in a dark green Cadillac El Dorado. In September 1955, Chamberlain left Philly in a beat-up 1951 Buick with another KU freshman, his high-school teammate Doug Leaman, and they never stopped to sleep during the 20-plus hour trip. And because Leaman was prone to nodding off at the wheel, Chamberlain drove nearly the entire way. He was like a 7-foot Neal Cassady flying across 1,200 miles of highways, an indefatigable force closing in on Lawrence, where the rules of the era required him to waste a year in a "Frosh" jersey before taking over college basketball.

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