As the nation’s top recruit (h/t 247Sports), forward Andrew Wiggins is preparing for Wednesday’s McDonald's All-American game, but the focus of the media and the basketball community is where the uncommitted prospect will play his college hoops.
According to Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune, Wiggins has narrowed his choices down to four schools (Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina) and has stated that he will make his decision before May 15.
Despite both of his parents going to Florida State and that being a major consideration for Wiggins, as a player with a possible NBA future, the nation’s top recruit would be better off landing with one of the other elite programs he is thinking about.
All of the following programs would be ideal landing spots for a talented prospect like Wiggins.
Despite a horrible season for the Kentucky Wildcats that was only made worse by the devastating injury to Nerlens Noel’s knee (h/t ESPN), the best place for Wiggins to play his college basketball would be under the supervision of head coach John Calipari.
Calipari knows how to get the most out of each player on his team and could be the man that takes Wiggins—whose father, Mitchell Wiggins, played in the NBA as well—and helps turn him into the second-generation NBA player the forward could become.
When asked about playing with Kentucky, Wiggins told Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv that he thinks the team full of potential stars would win a National Championship:
Oh, that would be crazy. It would be the best college team ever. We got five, top six players going to one school, so the impact on college basketball would be crazy.
If I went to that team we’d win it all, for sure, because there’s nothing anyone can do with me, Julius [Randle], the Harrison twins, Marcus Lee, Dakari [Johnson] and James Young. That’s something special.
At 6'8" and after being named the Gatorade National Player of the Year, there is little doubt that with the helping hand of the Wildcats' coaching staff and the university, Wiggins could evolve into a serious threat at the NBA level.
While Calipari deserves a lot of credit for what he has done with Kentucky, as much credit should go to Bill Self and the coaching staff of the Kansas Jayhawks for not only winning a national championship but performing at a high level year after year.
Wiggins would have to work for his playing time in Self’s system, but if the freshman is the best player at his position or if he is good enough to warrant serious minutes off the bench, he will be afforded that opportunity to play more often.
Making an instant impact shouldn’t be an issue for Wiggins, especially after dominating in high school—Huntington Prep in West Virginia—by averaging 23.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists.
Self would find Wiggins a spot in the starting lineup with those numbers.
3. North Carolina
While the college basketball world faces seismic changes year to year, one of the mainstays of the sport is North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams and the success he has with that program every season.
In Williams’ system, Wiggins could blossom into the all-around talent that most believe he can become. With the ability to move players around and find their true calling, the North Carolina coaching legend would maximize Wiggins’ potential and prepare him for success in the NBA.
Wiggins has seen the success that the Tar Heels have had over the years, and if he wants a chance at not only becoming a better basketball player, but having a chance to win a national championship every year he spends in college, North Carolina is a major consideration.