On August 13, 2011, KSR introduced its loyal readers to a young man named Andrew Wiggins. The 16-year-old rising basketball star had just been named the No. 1 player in ESPN’s Terrific 25 for the class of 2014 and Hoopmixtape Canada released a new Wiggins highlight reel called, “Next Great Superstar?” earlier that week. Little did we know at the time, that lean Jodie Meeks lookalike from Canada with unbelievable hops would take us all on a long, stressful, seemingly endless ride over the next year and nine months, the remainder of his high school career.
Here’s a number for you: 572.
This post you’re reading right now is the 572nd to mention Andrew Wiggins over the 639-day span since that “Next Great Superstar?” video hit KSR. We’ve posted recruiting rumors, college visits, exclusive interviews, quotes, Earth-shattering dunks, expert predictions, photos with Cats fans and even a trip to the Wal-Mart in Huntington last week, all to get us ready for tomorrow, the day his recruitment ends. That leaves us with four questions to ask ourselves as we get tucked in under our Andrew Wiggins bedsheets this evening…
Will it be Florida State? The Seminoles have been on Wiggins from the start and provide the opportunity to carry on a legacy.
Will it be Kentucky? Coach Cal was all over Wiggins in the beginning and maintained a great relationship throughout. History awaits in Lexington.
Will it be Kansas? KU wasn’t a player and, like most, assumed Wiggins was Kentucky’s to lose, until he asked Bill Self to recruit him. The Jayhawks have made a late push despite all signs previously pointing to UK or FSU.
Or will it be North Carolina? Where he can follow in MJ’s footsteps and compete in the ACC against Jabari Parker and Duke.
We’ll know in a little over 12 hours when it’s finally over. Let’s discuss it now, once again, for the 572nd time.
In case you’re new around here… ANDREW WIGGINS WILL SIGN TUESDAY AROUND 12:15 ET. He will hold a private ceremony with only family, friends, classmates and one media member, the Huntington Herald-Dispatch’s Grant Traylor. Traylor will be the first to report Wiggins’ college destination and we’ll be all over it, seconds later.
Be sure to check out KSR tomorrow at 11:45ish to follow a running diary of the announcement. Also, the radio show will go an extra hour tomorrow for a live reaction to the decision. That’s three hours of Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond for your Tuesday morning. You’re welcome.
Now, the predictions from your favorite national “experts”:
Jeff Goodman, CBS: Kansas
Jeff Borzello, CBS: Florida State
Gary Parrish, CBS: Florida State
Matt Norlander, CBS: Florida State
Dave Telep, ESPN: Florida State
Paul Biancardi, ESPN: Kansas
Adam Finkelstein, ESPN: Kansas
Reggie Rankin, ESPN: Kansas
Joel Francisco, ESPN: Florida State
John Stovall, ESPN: Kansas
Mike LaPlante, ESPN: Florida State
Jerry Meyer, 247Sports: Florida State
Gerry Hamilton 247Sports: Florida State
Which brings me to my next point….
The national guys are just guessing. Yeah, they word it to where it sounds like they’re informed, but they’re not. They have to earn that check somehow, right? They have to make a prediction. The fact of the matter is, no one knows anything. No one. Like Grant Traylor said on Monday’s radio show, only Wiggins and his parents know which school will get the LOI tomorrow afternoon. Everyone else is just throwing darts.
May I remind you what life was like prior to Julius Randle’s announcement? Take a trip down memory lane with me…
— “Randle won’t join the Harrison twins in college.” — Dave Telep, ESPN
— “I just can’t imagine a situation where the Harrison twins and Randle go to the same school. Basically I think Randle really likes Texas, and being close to his mom is something that works in their favor. The talk has been the Longhorns have led for a while, so I am sticking with them.” — Brian Snow, Scout.com
— “Again, Kentucky just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me with the talent it already has on board.” — Jason Hickman, MaxPreps.com
— “Multiple sources close to the recruitment believe Randle will land at Kansas, where he had a terrific official visit and could follow in the footsteps of Thomas Robinson and other great KU frontcourt players.” — Adam Zagoria, Zagsblog
— “Randle has kept things close to the vest for his entire recruitment. But the Kansas Jayhawks should come out on top in this because they have been on him as long as any other program, he can blend with a strong recruiting class, and he’d be able to stay closer to home in Texas.” — Paul Biancardi, ESPN
— “My theory has always been that Randle and twins Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison won’t play together in college.” — Dave Telep, ESPN
— “Florida in a close call over Kansas.” — Joel Francisco, ESPN
— “Kansas. It’s hard to imagine anybody beating John Calipari for a coveted recruit, but Bill Self might be on the brink of doing just that.” — Adam Finkelstein, ESPN
I can keep going if you need me to. But I think you get my point.
Check it out, Dakari Johnson made a pitch to Andrew Wiggins:
“Andrew, I think you should come to Kentucky because it will challenge you to be a better player competing against the best players every day in practice. And hey, there are no better fans in the world than the Big Blue Nation!”
[via USA Today]
Well said, Dakari.
Continuing with the Andrew Wiggins theme, his house mom, Lesley Thomas, was in the news again for another quote she gave the Courier-Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach. Thomas told him Wiggins does not want to attend summer school and that was a factor in the decision. That little tidbit left Florida State fans concerned, considering the Seminoles basketball team will take its once-every-four-years foreign trip this summer. If Wiggins holds off on attending school until the fall to travel with Team Canada, he will miss the entire trip and summer practices with his new teammates. That would mean, if Florida State is his pick, he will be joining the team late after a month or two of team bonding and basketball practice. Maybe that’s what Thomas meant when she said the summer will be a factor in his decision.
Oh, yeah, Lesley Thomas also told Himmelsbach what Andrew Wiggins ate for dinner Monday night. He had chicken, peas, mashed potatoes and brownies. And with that, this entire recruiting process has gone entirely too far.
One important thing to remember as this all winds down: Kentucky will have the greatest recruiting class (at least on paper) in the history of the game, with or without Andrew Wiggins. Don’t let that escape your mind while we’re sweating it out tomorrow. Adding Wiggins is a #BBN dream and will raise the 40-0 question, but missing out on Wiggins is his loss, not Kentucky’s. Big Blue Nation has eight other reasons to be excited about the job Coach Cal and his staff did with this incoming class. The 2013-14 season is going to be an unforgettable year, regardless of what news comes out of Huntington on Tuesday. Don’t get down if he goes elsewhere.
Let’s move on, for now…
Tucked behind all the Wiggins hoopla is yet another Kentucky football commitment Monday evening. Kobie Walker, a three-star safety from football farm Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Md., gave his verbal commitment to Mark Stoops and the Wildcats. Though he’s listed as the 39th-ranked safety in the class, Walker will play outside linebacker at Kentucky.
Walker also had offers from Hawaii, Miami, NC State, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse and Wisconsin, among others. He told Rivals.com that he fell in love with UK the second he stepped on campus for the spring football game.
Nerlens Noel was in Bristol, Ct. all day Monday to tour the ESPN fortress and make all the radio and television appearances that come with it. Most of what he said was old news to Kentucky fans, but he did call Calipari “the ultimate teacher on and off the court.” You can watch his appearance on Mike & Mike here.
That’ll do it for now.
See you back here soon for the day we’ve all been waiting for…