Where do the Andrew Wiggins runners-up go from here?
Kansas was the big winner on Tuesday, getting a commitment from Andrew Wiggins. But what about the teams that missed out?
The 6-foot-8 small forward from Canada picked the Jayhawks over Florida State, Kentucky and North Carolina. All four schools felt like they were squarely in the mix heading into the announcement, as Wiggins played his entire recruitment very close to the vest -- despite nonstop attention and speculation for months.
Yet, a quiet ceremony in front of family and friends at Huntington Prep (W.Va.) was the way it ended.
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While Kansas can now start planning its roster around the star power of Andrew Wiggins, the other three teams have to feel like they missed out on something special. So where do they go from here? The class of 2013 is essentially closed, meaning we can take a look at the three runners-up and assess what they look like for the 2013-14 season.
Florida State: The Seminoles clearly take the biggest hit by not getting Wiggins. He would have vaulted them into the Top 25 and enabled them to make a run next March. He's a go-to-guy, an All-American, a No. 1 pick -- the type of player Florida State doesn't often get on its roster. Without him, Leonard Hamilton's squad might be headed for the bottom half of the ACC. Xavier Rathan-Mayes is a very good freshman, and Hamilton does bring back four starters -- but Michael Snaer is gone, and he was the best player for a 18-16 NIT team. Devon Bookert, Aaron Thomas and Okaro White are all back, but that probably isn't enough for an NCAA tournament run. A Wiggins-led Florida State team would have been a threat in March. This one really hurts the Seminoles.
Kentucky: Andrew Wiggins was the definition of a luxury item for the Wildcats. John Calipari is bringing in the No. 1 recruiting class of all time either way. The Wildcats will be the preseason No. 1 team in the country either way. With that said, Wiggins is the sort of next-level player that has the ability to make the difference between a national championship and a Final Four loss. He would have given Calipari a dominant wing scorer who can create matchup problems at multiple positions, and guard nearly anyone on the court. With Wiggins in the fold, we would have heard plenty of talk about Kentucky going undefeated and winning the national championship. Now, the Wildcats are among a small group of teams that enter the season as favorites to cut down the nets.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels seemed like a good fit for Wiggins, as he could have come in and had a chance to win a national championship -- while also being the go-to-guy for Roy Williams. He would have provided another frontcourt weapon for the Tar Heels, and a truly consistent offensive player. P.J. Hairston and James Michael McAdoo are both returning, but both had bouts of inconsistency on the offensive end last season. Wiggins would have changed that -- while also taking the pressure off of them. North Carolina can still make a Final Four run, but it will come down to point guard Marcus Paige and the development of North Carolina’s young post players. Brice Johnson, Joel James, Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks -- someone has to step up.
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