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.
Kentucky, FSU Leading for 2014 Star Andrew Wiggins
ROSELLE, N.J. — Andrew Wiggins is just a high school sophomore but he certainly ranks among the best pro prospects in North America.
And that is an impressive group that includes Nerlens Noel, Shabazz Muhammad, Kyle Anderson, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle.
“Not only is he the best young prospect in Canada, he might be the best young prospect in the Northern hemisphere,” longtime New York recruiting analyst Tom Konchalski told SNY.tv after Wiggins went for 19 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists in Huntington (West Va.) Prep’s 50-49 loss to St. Anthony in the PrimeTime Shootout.
“I mean, he’s spectacular. What a combination of unforced athleticism, skill and I love his court demeanor.”
St. Anthony, No. 5 in the Five Star Power Rankings, improved to 19-0 on the season and has won 52 straight dating to a 2010 loss in the New Jersey state tournament.
No. 6 Huntington Prep is now 21-2, and deserves consideration for postseason tournaments because it’s among the best independent teams nationally yet is affiliated with the West Va. state athletic association.
After going for 12 points in the first half as Huntington Prep took a 25-21 lead on the defending mythical national champs, the 6-foot-8, 200-pound Wiggins scored only 7 points in the second half, 3 in the final period.
Still, everyone in the gym was left talking about Wiggins’s tremendous poise, skill and athleticism.
He displayed the ability to take it off the bounce and drive strong to the hoop. His authoritative one-handed dunk at the end of the third period put Huntington up 35-31 and was the highlight of the game. And his 3-pointer late tied the game at 46.
“He’s great,” the UCLA-bound Anderson of St. Anthony said of Wiggins. “I see why he’s one of the best sophomores in the country. He can do everything, he’s good.”
The son of two Florida State graduates in former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and former Canadian track star Marita Payne-Wiggins, Wiggins was born in Canada.
He runs with the powerhouse CIA Bounce AAU team that also includes backcourt mates Tyler Ennis of St. Benedict’s Prep and Huntington teammate Xavier Rathan-Mayes.
The consensus No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2014, Wiggins has drawn comparisons to Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant, and enjoys watching old Jordan highlight tapes.
He was too young to have seen his father play in the NBA, but said his father told him Andrew is better now than Mitchell was at the same age.
As far as colleges, he likes Florida State and Kentucky at this point.
“He would like to go to Florida State to follow his parents, but at the same time he knows it would be a lot of pressure to follow in his dad’s footsteps, so I think it just depends on what day of the week it is,” Huntington coach Rob Fulford told SNY.tv.
Said Wiggins: “I always liked Florida State because my parents went there…My mom and dad went there, they were like legends there.”
As for Kentucky, Fulford said: “I think Kentucky’s obviously in it. They’re close to where we’re at. He went up to the North Carolina game. He went up to the Florida football game. He’s been there a couple times, and obviously Coach Cal was at a game a couple weeks ago.
“So I think right now Kentucky’s right now, as far as recruiting purposes, they’re probably a little bit more involved than anybody else.”
Of Kentucky, Wiggins said, “It’s an honor. That school’s a great school, great environment, great fans, players and coach.”
Fulford did say that North Carolina and Duke “call to check in once a month.”
For now, Wiggins’s parents are handling his recruitment, and he said he likely won’t get more involved until “probably senior year.”
“I probably have a lot going on my next two years,” he said, “so I’ll just leave it till the last moment.
“When I get to that point, like senior year, I’ll know who I want to play with.”
And from there he’ll be on his way to joining the rising Canadian wave in the NBA.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.