Meet the Man Who Will Break the Andrew Wiggins Story | Zagsblog
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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.
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Sunday / March 3.
  • Meet the Man Who Will Break the Andrew Wiggins Story

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    Only one reporter will be in the room when Andrew Wiggins announces his college choice on Tuesday shortly after noon Eastern Time.

    He doesn’t work for ESPN, Rivals, Scout or even SNY.

    His name is Grant Traylor, and he is the Huntington (W.V.) Prep beat writer for the Herald-Dispatch, which has a circulation of 23,000 on weekdays and 30,000 on Sunday.

    “I’m nobody,” Traylor, 29, told Monday by phone. “I’m just privileged to be in the room when he makes the announcement.”

    The 6-foot-7 Wiggins is the most hyped high school prospect since LeBron James and he is deciding between Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina.

    Despite the magnitude of his announcement, he is a low-key kid who wants to keep his announcement on the down low.

    Thus, there will be no massive press conference with a thousand reporters and certainly no ESPN announcement.

    Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford put down the parameters of Wiggins’ announcement Sunday night when he texted a group of reporters — including Traylor — that only Traylor would be in the room for the big announcement.

    GrantTraylor said he first learned how it would go down from the Fulford text.

    “I was getting notifications on my phone, people were tagging me on their Tweets and things like that,” Traylor said.

    “I looked at Rob’s message again and I saw what he had put and sort of took it in for a second. I had to go back to focusing on the Marshall softball team and I didn’t want to slight them in anyway.”

    Traylor was busy Sunday covering the Marshall softball team and their bid to make the NCAA Tournament.

    Still, Traylor’s life has changed dramatically in the last 48 hours.

    As of 8:15 Sunday night, he had 1,962 Twitter followers.

    An hour later, after watching the NCAA Selection Show with the Marshall team, he had 3,500.

    Two hours later, “It was hovering around 5,000.”

    As of about 6 p.m. Monday, Traylor was at 9,448 Twitter followers.

    That number figures to go down after Tuesday’s announcement.

    The consensus is that Wiggins, who is at about 67,000 followers as of Monday evening, will likely lose followers, too, unless he picks Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation.

    As for Tuesday’s plan, Traylor says he will Tweet out Wiggins’ decision as soon as he hears it, and will then post a story on his paper’s Website.

    (Also check for news on the decision.)

    “I am going to Tweet the answer out as soon as he says where he’s going,” Traylor said. “I’ll tweet the answer out and hopefully get something on our website and everybody can go from there. I know everybody’s been waiting a long time.”

    Asked if he felt special in any way that he will be the only reporter in the room, Traylor said: “I do but at the same time it doesn’t feel that much different because I’ve been around the team for the last three years and Wiggins and those guys. It feels kind of normal. I go to practice three of four times a week.”

    And what’s the craziest thing that’s happened to Traylor since the news of Wiggins’ announcement broke: “I’ve gotten some crazy Tweets, people saying they love me.”

    As for Wiggins himself, Traylor has been covering the Canadian sensation for some time and says the kid is a master poker player, a game that Traylor himself enjoys.

    Traylor has no idea where the kid is leaning.

    “I love to play poker,” Traylor said. “I read into the little nuances and gestures. And his body language never changes. There’s no voice inflection.

    “At times it’s been frustrating because you can’t get a read on it. I wouldn’t be surprised with any of the four schools. I really wouldn’t.

    “It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he announces any of the four teams.”

    **For previous articles on Andrew Wiggins, click here.

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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.

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