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.
Andrew Wiggins will begin his official visit to Kansas Sunday and is expected to be on hand for Monday’s game in which the four KU seniors play their final home game against Texas Tech.
The 6-foot-8 Wiggins is the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2013 and has now visited Kentucky and Florida State, with a trip to North Carolina for the Duke game set for Saturday.
Wiggins is coming off a 40-point performance Saturday when Huntington (W.V.) Prep dismantled Canadian Club team United Leadership Academy, 134-61, at Boyd County Middle School in Ashland, Ky.
Wiggins’s parents, Mitchell and Marita Payne, will trip with him to Kansas as they did to Kentucky, which is critical in the recruiting process.
“The [Kentucky] visit was cool,” Wiggins told CatsIllustrated.com. “My parents loved the whole experience, I did as well.
“The game, in particular, was really fun. I appreciate how the fans showed me so much love.”
Wiggins told the site that he already enjoys a close relationship with Kentucky coach John Calipari, and that his parents are getting to know him as well.
“We’ve been close for a while, but it’s getting even better,” he said. “I’m starting to get closer with their current players as well.”
Huntington coach Rob Fulford has said it’s critical that Wiggins’ parents are coming on the trips since their only basis of comparison is Florida State, the school they both attended and the school that Wiggins’ teammate and friend, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, will attend.
“It’s significant for any parent to take a visit,” Fulford told SNY.tv. “They know FSU. The fact they are visiting other places is important because they now get a chance to know the other three.”
As for Kansas, they are widely perceived to be behind Kentucky, Florida State and even North Carolina in the Wiggins Sweepstakes.
Yet now Wiggins and his family will see historic Phog Allen Fieldhouse during a dramatic game in which seniors Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Kevin Young will play their final home game.
“We’re ready for it,” Withey told KUSports.com, “but at the same time we don’t want it to come because it is our last home game. We know that we have to win every game from here on out in order to win the conference (title) and get into our groove for the (NCAA) tournament.”
It could also be the final home game for freshman Ben McLemore, who went for 36 points Saturday and is considered the No. 1 or 2 pick in this year’s draft.
“We just have to focus on what is in front of us right now,” McLemore told KUSports.com. “Our focus is just to go out there and play ball. We want to make our seniors happy and have them leave with a great year — their time here at the University of Kansas.”
As for Wiggins, Fulford said the folks at the McDonald’s All-American Game asked if Wiggins would like to announce then, but no commitment has been made.
Wiggins recently told SNY.tv he’s just waiting for the right “moment” to make his decision.
“I haven’t found it yet,” he said, “so I am just waiting for that moment that will convince me it’s the right place.”
**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 whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.