Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
As Kentucky Piles Up Commits, Wiggins, Randle Still Planning Visits
As Kentucky piles up one elite recruit after another, Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle remain on the board and still plan to take their visits.
While everyone and their mother has an opinion on how Kentucky’s six-man recruiting class might impact Wiggins and Randle — “[Shoot], they can’t all go there [to Kentucky],” one high-level Division 1 assistant told SNY.tv — essentially nothing has changed for either player.
The 6-foot-8 Wiggins took an official visit to Florida State in December and is still planning officials to Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas sometime this spring. North Carolina coach Roy Williams met recently with Wiggins but no official date was set for a visit.
“He’s still planning to visit the ones he said he was going to visit,” Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulfordtold Ben Roberts of the Herald Leader. “The only problem is when. We don’t have any open dates until March.”
Internet speculation has run wild that Florida State — the alma mater of Wiggins’ parents, Mitchell Wiggins and Marita Payne-Wiggins — now leads for Wiggins.
That may be fueled by the fact that Kentucky’s six recruits include three frontcourt players in Dakari Johnson (who committed Saturday), Marcus Lee and Derek Willis and two perimeter scorers in Aaron Harrison and James Young.
It also remains unclear which Kentucky players will return to campus next season. Will Willie Cauley-Stein come back for his sophomore season? Will Alex Poythress?
But Fulford disputes the theory that FSU now leads for Wiggins.
“That’s not coming from Andrew,” Fulford told Roberts. “He still doesn’t talk about it. Anyone that puts anything out right now — that’s pure speculation. Andrew, he doesn’t communicate with anybody. It’s not like he’s told Kentucky or anyone else, ‘I’m leaning toward Florida State.’ He doesn’t communicate like that.”
The D-1 assistant, who is recruiting at least one of the Wiggins/Randle duo, agreed that those players are so good, they aren’t worried about what players are already committed to Kentucky or Kansas or Florida or whomever.
“Those guys are going to find their way no matter what, wherever they go to school,” the coach said. “They’re going to find their way. So I don’t think those guys, because they’re at such a high level, are even worried about who’s there.
“No, I think they’re going to know that there’s a natural fit, there’s going to be an opportunity for them to show their skills and play at a high level. I think that’s important to them. But I don’t think they’re worried about, OK, they got this guy back. Florida’s got good players. Kentucky’s got good players. Kansas has got good players. They all got good players.”
The 6-9 Randle, like Wiggins, will go ahead and take his visits and go from there, the coach added.
Randle, who is out with a foot injury sustained Nov. 24, is slated to visit N.C. State Jan. 25-27 and then Kansas and Texas next month.
He is also considering Kentucky, Oklahoma and Florida.
“Julius is always going to do what’s best for Julius and in this situation, that’s the way it should be,” the D-1 assistant said. “He’s going to pick the place that’s best for him. And I think he wants to look at all his avenues and then decide.”
Randle is on record saying he would like to play with Kentucky-bound point guard Andrew Harrison, but Florida-bound point guard Kasey Hill put in a bid for his future program, too.
“I think it would be a perfect fit for us,” Hill told SNY.tv of Randle last week while in New Jersey. “Of course, everybody wants to say that they want to make it to the national championship. That’s a very hard thing to do. I haven’t experienced college yet but of course winning a national championship is what we all want.”
Of his decision, Randle wrote in his recent USA Today blog: “I’m not sure when I’ll decide; I may do it after my high school season is over or after the college season is over. I’m not sure yet. I know that it’ll be time to decide before you know it so I’ve been thinking about things a lot more now.”
**For more stories on Andrew Wiggins, click here.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.