If anyone doubted that Kansas men’s basketball would land solidly on its feet even after losing all five of its starters from last season’s NCAA Sweet 16 team, you can dismiss all concerns as of today. This may well be the best day in the University of Kansas’ athletic year. It was announced Tuesday morning that Andrew Wiggins, considered by most college basketball analysts to be the nation’s top recruit, has picked Kansas for what in all likelihood is going to be a one-and-done college career.
Wiggins, a 6-7 small forward from Huntington, W. Va., becomes the centerpiece in a Kansas 2013 recruiting class that already was ranked as the second best in the country bhind only Kentucky. Some basketball recruiting experts are calling Wiggins the most talented player to come out of the high school ranks since LeBron James, who his now considered to be the best player in the NBA.
Wiggins reportedly had narrowed his recruiting choices down to four schools: Kentucky, Kansas, Florida State and North Carolina. In the last 24 hours, there were signs that North Carolina had been eliminated from consideration, but no one, not even Kansas coach Bill Self, knew for sure which way the nation’s top recruit would go. The last couple of days, all communication with the prized recruit had gone silent.
Self said you can’t say he was totally surprised by Wiggins’ decision to come to Kansas, but he certainly was pleasantly surprised, he said.
“We never had an idea which way he was leaning,” the KU head coach said in a news release issued by the school. “Andrew did this the exact way he said he was going to. He played his cards very close to the vest, as did his mother and father.”
Wiggins averaged 23.4 points and 11.2 rebounds his senior year at Huntington Prep. He is the son of former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins, and his mother, Marita Payne, was a Canadian Olympic sprinter. Both of his parents attended Florida State University, one of the young Wiggins’ three final college choices.
“He’s the best high school player who has come around in a long time,” Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz. “He’s freakishly athletics and has great size and great length,” Hoiberg said. “He’s a special player and a special talent in our conference.”
There were media reports following the Wiggins signing announcement that the odds of Kansas winning the national championship next season had gone from 30 to 1 to 10 to 1.
It’s pretty clear from reading and hearing about Wiggins’ exceptional talent and potential that we’re not talking about a good player, but a great player with extraordinary basketbal skills and very high potential to become a No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
His signing with Kansas is, by a long shot, the major sports story nationally on Tuesday. And if the West Virginia product lives up to his star-studded expectations, come next winter, his college debut with the Jayhawks will no doubt become the shot heard around the college basketball world.
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