No. 1 prospect Andrew Wiggins picks Kansas
The Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes came to an end on Tuesday afternoon. He said he's heading to Kansas.
The most-hyped recruitment in recent high school basketball history has finally come to a close.
The announcement came at a small signing ceremony at Huntington Prep (W.Va.) that included family and friends, with one newspaper reporter -- Grant Traylor of the local Herald-Dispatch -- transferring the message to the rest of the world.
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Given all the buzz and attention given to Wiggins and his recruitment over the past couple of years, there was a stark contrast with the way it ended. Since the Canada native reclassified to the class of 2013 -- and immediately became the No. 1 overall player -- his recruitment went through the roof. Of course, Wiggins was the same sought-after player when he was a member of the 2014 class, but the decision to reclassify ramped things up in a major way.
Florida State had been involved the longest with Wiggins, and both of his parents went there. His dad was an NBA player, his mother an Olympic track star. The Seminoles were the early favorite. Kentucky was connected to him for a long time, and seemingly every elite recruit is joining John Calipari’s Wildcats nowadays. What better place to spend one year than working toward an undefeated season? North Carolina gave Wiggins a chance to be the go-to-guy off the bat, and there are area ties to his family. He would fit well in Chapel Hill.
Yet it was Bill Self and the Jayhawks who beat everyone out.
Kansas made up a lot of ground in the latter parts of Wiggins’ recruitment after being something of an afterthought during the early stages. Self made a major impression on Wiggins, and he loved his visit to Lawrence. Wiggins has a chance to be the go-to-guy right off the bat, and he could be the missing piece between a borderline Top 25 team and a Final Four contender. Throw in the fact that Wiggins’ brother, Nick, plays at nearby Wichita State, and it made sense for Kansas to put on the full-court press.
And it paid off.
Wiggins is immediately a leading candidate to be an All-American next season, as he is also the heavy favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft. Yes, he’s that good. The 6-foot-8 small forward has the ability to play multiple positions, creating matchup problems all over the court. He’s supremely athletic with great length, and he plays with smoothness in his game that separates himself from his peers. Wiggins can knock down shots from the perimeter, and is also adept in the mid-range. Of course, his ability to finish at the rim and attack in transition is also elite.
On the other side of the floor, Wiggins has the tools to be one of the best defenders in the country. His length and size enable him to guard every position on the court, whether on the perimeter or in the post. That’s what makes him scary -- and so tantalizing. Wiggins has the ability to be a lockdown defender, but he has plenty of room to improve on the offensive end.
Kansas obviously gets better with the addition of Wiggins. The Jayhawks lost all five starters from last season, including Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey. Veterans Elijah Johnson, Kevin Young and Travis Releford are also gone. The top returnees are Naadir Tharpe and Perry Ellis. On paper, it wasn’t even the Big 12 title contender. With Wiggins in the fold, it’s a threat to make the Final Four. Combine him with five-star freshmen Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden, and top-50 prospects Conner Frankamp and Brannen Greene, and Self has another talented team at his disposal.
And with that, the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes is over.
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