Rivals Crossover 2013: No. 1s Robert Nkemdiche vs. Andrew Wiggins
The Rivals Crossover Series is a weeklong look at some historic figures in football and basketball, merging our two sports into one storyline.
In this piece, national football recruiting director Mike Farrell and national basketball analyst Eric Bossi look at the No. 1 player from each sport and compare their national influence and success. Here we look at the class of 2013.
MORE CROSSOVER SERIES:
No. 1 vs. No. 1 (2010): Josh Selby vs. Ronald Powell
No. 1 vs. No. 1 (2011): Austin Rivers vs. Jadeveon Clowney
No. 1 vs. No. 1 (2012): Shabazz Muhammad vs. Dorial Green-Beckham
BASKETBALL: Andrew Wiggins
Bossi’s take: A Canadian whose father played in the NBA and whose mother was an Olympic sprinter, Wiggins beat out Julius Randle and Jabari Parker in a hotly contested race for the No. 1 spot. During his lone season at Kansas, he was the Big 12’s Freshman of the Year and a second team All-American. Taken No. 1 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by Cleveland, he was dealt to Minnesota where he won NBA Rookie of the Year for the Timberwolves in 2015. Now a member of the Golden State Warriors, Wiggins has averaged just under 20 points per game during his six-season career.
FOOTBALL: Robert Nkemdiche
Farrell’s take: Nkemdiche was a massive end who could also play tackle and was unstoppable at times with his speed and especially his power. He had a solid career at Ole Miss, where he was a freshman All-American and first-team All-SEC during his three year career and was drafted in the first round. His NFL career was a total bust as he has been waived by Arizona and Miami without making an impact at either stop.
And the winner is ... Some NBA observers may complain that Wiggins hasn’t yet lived up to his talent level and that he doesn’t play hard enough, but he’s reached a level of success that you would hope for from a former No. 1 player. Especially in comparison to what his football counterpart, Nkemdiche has been able to put together so far.