"So immediately when Wiggins is bringing it up, Joel goes and ball screens for Wiggins," Self said. "I stopped practice. I said, 'Jo, what made you do that?' He said, 'Coach, my man is over there so there's no way anybody can help on the ball screen.' This is like he'd been here a month. I'm going, what?"
Which is why NBA folks are practically giddy about Embiid. The league's two favorite words are "upside" and "potential," of which Embiid has both in limitless supply. Mix that in with his intelligence, though, and you have the making of a player who many think could be once-in-a-generation good.
When Embiid first got to Kansas, Self told him he believed he could be a No. 1 draft pick. At the time, Self meant eventually, as in maybe 2015, more than likely 2016.
Instead "eventually" has arrived a little early.
Asked what he intends to do about it all, Embiid at first says he doesn't want to think about next season. He wants to help his team win games, win a Big 12 championship and win a national championship. For someone still learning the English language, he has mastered the fine art of sports clichés.
But gently pressed to imagine himself in that place and lifestyle, Embiid shakes his head.
"I don't know," he said. "I think it would be too overwhelming for me right now. I'm not sure I'm ready."
Maybe if he could just learn to drive a car first.