Today is the day that one of the most heralded prep hoop stars Andrew Wiggins decides on where he will be taking his talents. And while it wont contain the same pomp and circumstance as “The Decision” made by Lebron James a few years back, it still is one that could impact the landscape of college basketball next season and beyond. Coincidentally not since Lebron James has there been a high school player with potential for basketball greatness but unlike James, who was allowed to bypass college and head straight to the NBA, Wiggins will have to make a one season pit stop on a collegiate campus. Yeah I know there are some that are saying ‘you never he may stick around for two years or more’, but to quote the great Ed Lover “C’Mon Son”… we all know this prep wunderkind will not even need to pack all of his belongings for college because he won’t be there long.
All the major players in college basketball have offered this 6’8 silky smooth wing forward that reclassified and moved up from the 2014 class to the 2013 in order to hasten his journey towards the NBA. That in itself is a unique situation because most high school hoop stars normally do the reverse; attend a prep schools to get an extra year of seasoning (Mitch McGary of Michigan is one in recent history to have done it.) There are four schools that are still standing in this superstar sweepstakes; Kentucky, Florida State, North Carolina and Kansas, even though UNC and Kansas are not thought to be serious players in this race and the majority of the college basketball world feels it has come down to two schools; Kentucky and Florida State. Both present a compelling argument as to why he would select them but also a bigger argument as to why he may not choose them either.
Why he could choose Kentucky:
Like him or not, Coach Calipari has mastered the art of recruiting the “one and done” player, going back to his days at Memphis where he maximized the limited time he had with Derrick Rose into a championship game appearance in 09 and now being at one of the college basketball hotbeds in the University of Kentucky, he has the rich basketball history of the Wildcat program to attract a who’s who of prep basketball. Wiggins suiting up for the ‘Cats would give him the best shot at winning the national championship of all the remaining schools and the journey to Dallas would give him the media coverage needed to cement his position as the #1 selection in the 2014 NBA Draft. Also the distinction of being a part of the best recruiting class ever in college hoops, no shade to the “Fab 5”, would put Wiggins in annals of college basektball history even if these guys never win a championship together.
Why he may not choose Kentucky:
Is there enough room left on the roster? The 2014 class has 6 blue-chippers already in the fold and many wonder will Wiggins get the necessary minutes and touches needed to showcase his skills. Combine the super 6 freshmen with soon-to-be sophomores Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress, who bucked the one and done trend and decided to return to Lexington in hopes of improving their draft stock. It looks like the Wildcats are great position to redeem themselves after a lackluster 2013 season that saw them lose in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris, but does Wiggins have the basketball temerity to sacrifice his numbers like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis did for the greater good of the team and the ultimate goal; the National Championship.
Florida State Seminoles
Why he could choose Florida State:
There is no bigger joy in having your offspring follow your footsteps and if Wiggin’s parents have it their way he will be travelling down to Tallahassee to be the centerpiece for a Seminoles basketball team that could use a go to player. With the graduation of Michael Snaer, there is no one on the current roster with the scoring ability that would match the freshman so he would instantly become the focal point of the offense. He would also have a familiar face on campus and on the court with Huntington Prep teammate Xavier Rathan-Mayes who has already committed to the ‘Noles; the sharpshooting guard would give Coach Leonard Hamilton another offensive option when teams set their game plan to stop Wiggins, so it should be comforting knowing that he won’t have to do it all by himself.
Why he may not chose the Florida State:
Following in your parents footsteps is a daunting task for many and maybe Wiggins wants to blaze his own trail somewhere else. While there will be pressure anywhere he goes there will be an extra level of expectation for success because he is the son of a former Seminoles basketball star.
With the addition of Syracuse and Pitt into the ACC next season, competition will be very stiff and even if the Seminoles have a good season it may not be good enough to get them into the NCAA tournament come March, and while Rathan-Mayes will add some scoring punch, are there enough options currently on the Florida St. roster to get them the necessary quality wins to make the big dance; Wiggins surely wouldn’t want to waste his one collegiate season watching the other teams on his list playing in the tournament, because he didn’t have enough help to get them there.
So young Mr. Wiggins has alot of things to consider even at this late stage: Will he want to be big man on campus in the shadow of his parents at their alma mater or be the final piece of what would easily be considered the greatest recruiting class in college sports ever, but be an uber-talented complimentary player before heading off to the pros.
Oh to be young talented and be faced with such a tough decision… must be nice!!!