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.
By TARIQ SBIETSpecial to ZAGSBLOGBRAMPTON, Ontario — On the last day of the July evaulation period, Kentucky coach John Calipari and Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton weren’t in Las Vegas, Orlando or Washington, D.C.
Instead, they were here at the Caribana Classic hosted by CIA Bounce to get one last look at Andrew Wiggins and the rest of Canada’s rising talent.
Calipari and Hamilton are recruiting the 6-foot-7 Wiggins the hardest and spent both weekend days here in anticipation that the Canadian star will choose their school when he’s ready for college.
That could be 2014, or 2013 if he decides to reclassify.
“It means a lot…Canada is not like New York or New Jersey,” said St. Benedict’s Prep point guard Tyler Ennis, Wiggins’s Canadian teammate. “It’s out of the way for them. If they’re coming here for us, it’s just for us.
“For them to come up, spend time to watch us play in our camp it shows how much they’re interested in us,” Ennis continued.
For his part, Wiggins said he’s worn down from a long July that included appearances in the finals of the Nike Global Challenge and the Peach Jam.
“AAU season has me worn out but right now I’m trying to relax, enjoy time with my family and friends before the summer is over because I know next year and the next couple years are going to be crazy for me,” said Wiggins.
Following a classic performance against Julius Randle and the Texas Titans at Peach Jam, the Canadian phenom has silenced any doubters that were left over from the high school season. Currently in the class of 2014, the reclassification of the No. 1 prospect to 2013 is certainly a possibility.
What is there left to prove?
“Nothing,” Wiggins said. “I got nothing to prove…I proved myself over the summer and over the course of the year.”
While Wiggins is not expected to choose a school in the immediate future, Ennis is poised to pick one in August.
Syracuse assistant Adrian Autry, Illinois assistant Dustin Ford, Virginia assistant Ron Sanchez, UCLA assistant Phil Mathews and others tripped to Canada for Ennis.
Ennis mentioned Louisville, Syracuse, Illinois, UCLA, and Villanova as the programs recruiting him the hardest, and although he did not play on day two (due to fatigue), he understands the importance of their presence.
It has been a gruelling summer for the lead guard, playing at the FIBA Americas with the Canadian Junior National Team followed by a long AAU season. And he still has plans to work out in August with the Canadian Senior National Team.
“Everybody has a little knick-knack injury,” Ennis said. “I think everybody is going to take a long rest after this to get their body back.”
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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.