Wiggins’ decision weighs heavily on landscape
by Scott Gleeson and Jim Halley, USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Wiggins, considered the best high school basketball player since LeBron James, could shift the NCAA basketball landscape when he announces his college decision Tuesday, choosing between four programs with little TV-centered theatrics.
“This kid is even better than advertised when you see him in person,” college basketball analyst Dick Vitale said by phone Monday of Wiggins, the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Player of the Year. “He fits into the category of LeBron James as a high school player we’ve never seen before because of his explosiveness.”
Florida State, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina are candidates to land the 6-8 Canadian forward from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep.
“There’s no second place in recruiting,” Vitale said. “If I’m (Florida State coach), Leonard Hamilton, (Kentucky coach) John Calipari, (North Carolina coach) Roy Williams or (Kansas coach) Bill Self, I’m waiting with anxiety for that phone to ring when you hear someone say, ‘it’s Andrew.’ Whoever gets him will be sitting on Cloud Nine.”
Where will Wiggins go? Which teams need him the most? USA TODAY Sports paneled recruiting experts Paul Biancardi and Dave Telep of ESPN, Eric Bossi of Rivals.com and Evan Daniels of Scout.com about what kind of impact Wiggins could have at the four schools he’s considering.
Playing for the only school among the four without a national championship in its history, Wiggins would have the opportunity to transform his parents’ alma mater and potentially put his stamp on the college game similar to the way Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony did before him. FSU also provides a comfortability factor with Xavier Rathan-Mayes, a close friend and high school teammate of Wiggins, running the point.
Telep (ESPN.com): “This is the only school among his four choices that hasn’t won a national championship. His presence won’t make them a national title contender, but it casts a spotlight on their basketball program. They will never get any more street cred than they will by getting Andrew Wiggins. The question is how do you capitalize on that long-term when you know he’s going to be there for just one year?”