The recruitment of Andrew Wiggins is winding down and a decision should come not long after the McDonald’s All-American game on April 3. The nation’s No. 1 prospect is considering Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida State and Kansas, and despite what you heard a month or two ago, Kentucky is in serious contention to land his signature.
Florida State, once believed to be the favorite, lost a lot of ground once Wiggins’ mother opened her eyes to other opportunities, and now it’s looking like North Carolina and Kentucky have just as much of a shot as the Seminoles, if not better. Kansas, though still in it, is likely in fourth place in the race.
Wiggins will certainly feel the pressure to become a Wildcat from his good friend Julius Randle and the other five members of Kentucky’s 2013 class participating in the McDonald’s All-American game and the Jordan Brand Classic. Coach Cal will rely on his incoming freshmen to do some recruiting work to complete what is already the highest-rated recruiting class ever.
One could argue there is already too much talent on Kentucky’s roster next season, but here are some reasons why I believe Kentucky is the perfect fit for Wiggins and why he will pick the Wildcats when it’s all said and done.
Like all talented basketball prospects entering the college level, Andrew Wiggins wants to play in a Final Four and win a national title, and he’ll only have one season to accomplish that goal. Kentucky is the ONLY school he’s considering with potential to win it all — and Kentucky has a lot of it. North Carolina will be much better next season, especially if he joins the Tar Heels, but a title run is unlikely. Florida State? Not a chance.
Wiggins at Kentucky makes the Wildcats the biggest lock to win the NCAA tournament since, well, Kentucky in 2012.
No coach in America prepares one-and-done players for the NBA like John Calipari. “It’s different here,” Coach Cal always says of freshmen playing at Kentucky. “Everything is warp speed.”
Calipari knows how to push players to reach their full potential from the moment they hit campus and his track record with putting players in the NBA speaks for itself. Wiggins doesn’t need any help getting to the league, but playing UK’s system will accelerate his preparation.
If Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress return, Kentucky basketball practices will be like NBA summer league games next season. The talent Andrew Wiggins will face each and every day will be better competition than most of the opponents he’ll face in UK games. He’ll be pushed, tested, and challenged in every single practice, which will only make him better, whereas he could simply go through the motions somewhere else.
Not to mention, summer scrimmages in the Joe Craft Center will feature guys like John Wall, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, just to name a few. No gym in the country will have pickup basketball the way the Craft Center will have pickup basketball this summer.
People “in the know” can say Andrew Wiggins doesn’t enjoy the spotlight all they want; it’s not true. He may be quiet and low key or however you want to describe it, but every elite basketball player in the history of ever wants to play on the bigghest stage in front of as many faces as possible. Kentucky basketball will be all over national television next season and the loaded non-conference schedule will include some of college basketball’s biggest games next fall.
A once in a decade player like Andrew Wiggins has to consider marketing and self promotion when he makes his college decision. He’ll be one of the faces of Nike basketball (sorry, Kansas fans) in just a few years, and he can get a jump start on building the Andrew Wiggins brand by playing at Kentucky. By wearing UK blue next season, he will be the headliner of the best recruiting class of all-time; a fan favorite in college basketball’s biggest and most passionate fan base; and a potential NCAA champion and Final Four MVP on one of the best teams to ever play college basketball. Those are three accomplishment the resumes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are missing.
Wiggins would get more shots at Florida State or North Carolina, but he’d get buckets at Kentucky. The elite talent across the board for the Wildcats will take away from his touches, but he’ll get better looks and scoring opportunities in one-on-one scenarios at UK versus double and triple teams somewhere else. He just needs to ask himself, ” Do I want to average 15 per game on 10-12 shots at Kentucky, or average 20 per game on 20-25 shots and lose more games?”
Ask Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis about sharing the spotlight; I think it worked out just fine for them. And I believe someone once said they took the fourth and fifth most shots on the team.
Kentucky is the gold standard.
Andrew Wiggins is the gold standard.
It’s a perfect match!
Come on down?