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.
Wiggins Awaiting ‘Moment’ of Clarity for College Choice
By JACK LeGWIN & ADAM ZAGORIAOLDSMAR, Fla. — Andrew Wiggins is on the brink of taking a trio of official visits to three of the most storied programs in college basketball.
The 6-foot-8 Wiggins heads to defending NCAA champion Kentucky on Wednesday and then visits Kansas March 4 and North Carolina March 9.
He took an official visit to Florida State, the alma mater of his parents, in early December.
Somewhere along the line he hopes the “moment” of clarity will come to him and enable him to make the best choice for college, which likely will only be a one-yeat pitt stop before he is selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
“I haven’t found it yet, so I am just waiting for that moment that will convince me it’s the right place,” Wiggins told SNY.tv exclusively after scoring 17 points Friday night as Huntington (W.V.) Prep beat Oldsmar Christian, 64-46.
Wiggins is the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2013 and a newly-minted McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American. He is closing in on a decision that he has said will likely be made in April.
He said he’s looking forward to taking the visits so he can learn more about the schools and ultimately make his decision, thereby answering the question to which everyone wants the answer.
“I’m looking forward it no doubt,” he said. “A lot of pressure will be lifted off of my shoulders.”
Kentucky is first on the upcoming visit list.
The Wildcats already have six pledges for the Class of 2013, and remain involved with Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon.
Much has been made of how and whether Wiggins could potentially coexist with the Andrew and Aaron Harrison and James Young in a possible blockbuster recruiting class, but Huntington coach Rob Fulford has said Wiggins will play no matter where he goes.
Wiggins and Huntington Prep have played six total games in Kentucky, with thousands of Wildcats fans coming out to support him and get autographs.
Still, at times such attention has been overwhelming for Wiggins, a naturally shy kid.
“He doesn’t like talking about it,” Fulford said last month at the Hoophall Classic. “The recruiting is weighing on him a little bit.”
Kansas remains in the mix for the 6-9 Randle as well, and Julius raved about his recent visit to the Big 12 school.
Although Kansas has never been considered a front-runner for Wiggins, imagine the delight of coach Bill Self and the Jayhawk fans if they were to land both Wiggins and Randle in the spring signing period.
North Carolina has missed out on both Randle and Jabari Parker (Duke), but coach Roy Williams has worked hard on Wiggins, who said he’s looking forward to visiting for the Duke game.
“I’m definitely looking forward to visiting that weekend,” he told SNY.tv Friday. “It’s a great rivalry and two great schools.”
Florida State, meantime, is the alma mater of both of Wiggins’ parents, former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and former Canadian Olympic track star Marita Payne-Wiggins.
Andrew’s friend and teammate, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, is also committed there, and Tharon Mayes, Xavier’s father, and Mitchell Wiggins were also teammates on the Philadelphia 76ers in the early ’90s.
“I honestly don’t have to do much recruiting with him,” Rathan-Mayes told SNY.tv. “He knows how much I would like him to come to Florida State. I told him that if he doesn’t come to Florida State, we’d still be best friends, and I’d still be the happiest person in the world for him.”
Obviously, he would prefer for Wiggins to join him at Florida State.
“Of course,” Rathan-Mayes said, “I’d much rather not have to play against him.”
In the meantime, Wiggins turns 18 today.
After going for 57 points recently in response to an SI.com article, we wondered if Wiggins might try to go for 60 on his birthday against The Rock School.
“No,” he said, “I’m just going to play my game and see what happens.”
**For more stories on Andrew Wiggins, click here.
Photo: Toronto Sun
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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.