Andrew Wiggins is a taciturn high school phenom, but his talent spoke for itself during Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-American game. Wiggins tallied a team-high 19 points for the East. On Tuesday, he launched a vicious, 360 degree, between-the-legs flush in the McDonald’s Slam Dunk Contest. He’s already the top-ranked player in his class – but what made him the most unique prospect of the 25 players in the field is that he became the only highly-regarded, uncommitted player left after Aaron Gordon committed to Arizona.
Wiggins has been more low-key than Dave Chappelle about his future plans. That’s how he prefers it. From all accounts, Wiggins shuns the off-court frenzy.
Here’s an exchange, via SB Nation, from one of Wiggins’ All-American Game media sessions.
Have to ask, how's the recruiting process?
"It's good. Same old."
Is there any pressure to make a decision?
"There's not really any pressure on my part to make a decision. I'm OK for right now."
Kentucky has six other All-Americans here. What would it be like to play with those guys? Have you thought about it?
"Yeah, I thought about it. That's one of my choices. It would be great to play with other great players."
Have they been recruiting you while you're here?
What are some of the things they've been saying to maybe sway you a bit?
"Nothing really pops up off the top off my head."
What's your timeline right now on a college decision?
"I'm just trying to do it when I'm ready."
What was your reaction when you heard Kentucky got Julius?
"I don't remember. I don't know."
Reportedly, his schools have been whittled down to a fearsome foursome of Kansas, UNC, Kentucky and ACC powerhouse Florida State (Well, they’re a powerhouse in football, anyway).
While all prestigious options, Wiggins would be one of many. The next Ben McLemore. The next John Wall.
In 2008, Oak Hill prep school point guard Brandon Jennings started chasing the money early and signed a contract with Italy’s Lottomatica Roma.
Wiggins has all the cards, and in this day and age, Wiggins has an alternative, as well. He could go mid-major.
The collegiate landscape has shifted. Just as record labels are no longer the gatekeepers for discovering young musical talent, major conference programs are no longer the end-all be-all of elite college hoops. It’s not for everybody, but the Midwestern mid-major life fits Wiggins.
Conveniently enough, he also has a brother at the most prominent mid-major in the country right now. On Sunday, Wiggins’ brother Nick tweeted what may or may not have been insight into his brother’s decision.
Events of the past week should shift his recruiting priorities. It’s unlikely to happen, but signing with Wichita State would be the result of a perfect storm of events for Greg Marshall’s Shockers. It began when Wiggins’ brother transferred to Wichita State after his sophomore year of JUCO ball, and is culminating with the Shockers Final Four run.
Wiggins is already a star, and in modern-day college hoops, you can thrive without the overexposure. Instead, he’d be an iconic figure in Wichita State and college hoops history, while giving him the opportunity to play with his brother. Nick will be a senior in 2013, but Andrew is using college like a five-month cruise. Wiggins is all about family, which is why FSU is still in the running. That’s where his mom met his pops.
The 17th-ranked prospect in this class, Isaac Hamilton, has committed to play at UTEP’s barren basketball wasteland and the thought process is that his brother Daniel will join in a year as part of a package deal.
Wiggins’ football counterpart, Robert Nkemdiche chose family over a pair of NFL factories. The top-ranked player in the 2013 class was originally slated to suit up for Clemson in the fall, until switching up his recruitment at the last minute and choosing to play with his brother at Ole Miss over other top-level contenders.
Wiggins is already a central figure in Toronto’s hoops revolution. Wichita State used to sit off the grid, but their deep run into the tournament has put them on the map. Wiggins can put them over the top.