West Virginia prep hoops star Andrew Wiggins, center, smiles shortly after making an announcement about his college future Tuesday. Wiggins, whose parents both starred at Florida State in track and basketball in the 1980s, decided he wanted to play for D-I power Kansas.
HUNTINGTON, W. Va. — Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 player in the class of 2013, will play for the Kansas Jayhawks.
Wiggins quietly announced his intentions during an intimate signing ceremony at Huntington Prep (W.Va.), in front of family and friends.
“Obviously, everyone in Jayhawk-land is overwhelmed and excited today,” KU coach Bill Self said. “This was a pleasant surprise because we never had an idea which way he was leaning. Andrew did this the exact way he said he was going to. He played his cards very close to his vest as did his mother and father. I knew we were one of four. The competition was very stiff and we were fortunate that we were able to ink him today. He’s a tremendous talent and a terrific kid. Probably an even better kid than he is a talent. We think he has a chance to be about as good a prospect as we’ve ever had.”
Only one newspaper reporter, Grant Traylor of the Herald-Dispatch (W.V.), covered the event live and relayed the news to the masses. Wiggins reportedly only informed his parents of his decision Tuesday morning.
Florida State, Kentucky and North Carolina had also been connected to Wiggins, a Toronto native who is the son of former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and Olympic track star Marita Payne. Both Mitchell and Martia starred in college at Florida State, where Wiggins’ partents met, leaving some to believe the Seminoles had the inside track to land what easily would’ve been the program’s most high-profile recruit in history. Also, Wiggins’ best friend, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, is a Class of 2013 signee with the Seminoles.
The 6-foot-8 perimeter player was a McDonald’s All-American and hosted visits from a who’s who of college coaches, including Kentucky’s John Calipari in March. Wiggins averaged 23.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists last season for Huntington Prep leading his team to a 30-3 record.
“He brings athleticism, length, scoring ability and he’s also an assassin, an alpha dog, and we definitely need that when you have a whole bunch of young kids,” Self said. “I think he’s going to be not just a good player, but have the chance to be a great one. I know the people that support our program are going to be pleasantly surprised when they see him run and play the very first time he gets the opportunity.”
He was influenced by a connection with Self and loved his school visit. Wiggins’ brother, Nick, also plays at nearby Wichita State.
Mitchell Wiggins said Kansas was actually an easy choice for his son.
“We looked at all the offenses and the players coming in,” Mitchelltold the Courier-Journal. “You can’t go wrong with any of those four schools,. He’s been under the microscope for three years. LeBron took him under his wing the last two years. Kevin Durant has given him a lot of advice, Ray Allen has given him a lot of advice, Michael Jordan, a couple of weeks ago, spoke with him. He’s a very humble kid, he works hard and he has a lot of talent. It’s a relief for him because it was overwhelming for him.”
Wiggins was initially in the Class of 2014 but was able to restore his classification to his original graduating class of 2013.
The decision to head to Lawrence, Kan., set off a firestorm on social media, including personal and profane messages to Wiggins from fans of competing schools.
Kansas lost All-American guard Ben McLemore to the NBA, but many recruiting services rated the Jayhawks’ incoming class as one of the best in the nation even before adding Wiggins.