Andrew Wiggins Tracker: Updating Kentucky, Florida State, Kansas Rumors and More

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2013

Andrew Wiggins Tracker: Updating Kentucky, Florida State, Kansas Rumors and More

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    Decision time for Andrew Wiggins, the nation's consensus No. 1 recruit and arguably the best high school basketball player since LeBron James, is rapidly approaching.

    Where he'll be heading, though, remains a mystery. The 5-star Canadian recruit out of Huntington Prep School in West Virginia has narrowed his list to exactly four schools—Florida State, Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas—each of which carry a prestige of personal or historical significance in college basketball.

    Wiggins can make his decision official as soon as April 14, when the official national signing period opens for the Class of 2013. But he remains noncommittal thus far, refusing to name a date or even a time frame for his decision, per Steve Jones of The Courier-Journal. (Wiggins must make his decision by May 15.)

    While each of those schools remain on the recruiting path for other top-tier stars, Wiggins remains the biggest domino—and teams will be waiting on bated breath for his reply. 

    Far and away the best player in his class, Wiggins has one of the best recruit profiles in recent memory. A 6'8", 195-pound small forward, Wiggins is gifted in a multitude of ways on both ends of the floor. He's easily the best athlete in the Class of 2013, throwing down mystifying dunks few thought were possible for an 18-year-old kid.

    While plenty of "athletes" have fizzled out at the college level, Wiggins also has the skill set to back up his accolades. He can shoot from long range, has a burgeoning dribble-drive game and plays surprisingly hard on the defensive end for someone with his offensive repertoire. 

    With most of the other top players in the Class of 2013 committed, Wiggins' decision looms over the landscape of college basketball. For that reason, here is a look at all the latest news, rumors and other noteworthy happenings about Wiggins' future. 

Kansas

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    With all of the focus being on the North Carolinas, Kentuckys and Florida States of the world, Kansas has continually gone under the radar in Wiggins' recruiting process. But despite not being covered as heavily as other schools, the Jayhawks have remained very much in the race.

    They're among Wiggins' final choices—not a secondary target as most assumed. And according to a recent report, Lawrence may be closer to landing its next superstar than anyone realizes. According to Kentucky Sports Radio's Matt Jones, Kansas remains a "strong contender" to land the Canadian star:

    Had a person who I trust tell me today "people shouldn't discount Andrew Wiggins going to Kansas. They are a strong contender"

    — Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) April 2, 2013

    The prestige of Kansas' program is obvious. Bill Self has taken the school to the Sweet 16 in six of the past seven seasons, and the Jayhawks won the national championship in 2008. The last time Self won fewer than 20 games or missed the NCAA tournament was in 1997-98—right around the time Wiggins was turning 3 years old.

    As for developing NBA prospects, Self has a mediocre resume—especially at Kansas. Ben McLemore is expected to be a top-five pick in the 2013 class, Thomas Robinson was picked No. 5 last June by the Sacramento Kings, and he has a bevy of players who have left Lawrence to become NBA players.

    What Self is missing is a true star. Deron Williams went on to NBA stardom from Self's days at Illinois, but Self has never coached an NBA All-Star at Kansas. That certainly speaks to Self's ability to "coach up" the players on his roster, but Wiggins has to look at every team as a possible NBA developmental stomping ground.

    But with Wayne Selden, Joel Embiid and Brannen Greene all headed to Kansas next season, this may be the time for Wiggins to join that trio and change Self's NBA luck. 

Kentucky

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    UPDATE: Friday, April 5, at 7:27 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway

    Not everyone in the Wiggins family is thrilled with the thought of Andrew attending Kentucky. According to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv and NBA.com, Wiggins' brother Nick believes there are too many stars for Andrew to shine:

    Nick Wiggins told me he doesn't think Kentucky would be best fit for Andrew b/c they have so many guys coming in

    — Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 5, 2013

    Andrew himself has been pretty bullish on the Wildcats, so one has to wonder whether or not Nick's views reflect his brother's. Nevertheless, it's certainly interesting to hear the elder Wiggins' perspective when his brother has been so quiet throughout the process.

    ---End of update---

    John Calipari is no stranger to top-flight recruits, and he may be bringing the greatest class since Michigan's Fab Five to Lexington in 2013.

    Julius Randle's commitment on March 21 gives the Wildcats three of the four top players in the nation, according to 247 Sports. Twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison, the No. 3 and No. 4 recruits respectively, have long been destined to play for Calipari. 

    The one non-Kentucky commit in the top four? Wiggins. 

    When including Marcus Lee, James Young and Dakari Johnson, Kentucky already has six of the nation's 13 best recruits. It's an otherworldly recruiting job from Calipari, who, even without Wiggins, will have the best class in the nation by a country mile.

    Nevertheless, Wiggins could be the cherry that pushes this class to become the greatest of all time.

    Though he's been mum throughout the recruiting process, Wiggins seems to realize how special joining those fellow freshmen would be. According to Adam Zagoria of NBA.com, Wiggins said that if he went to Kentucky, the team would win the national championship: 

    Wiggins: 'If I went to [Kentucky], we'd win it all for sure' on.sny.tv/13K8QGU @22wiggins

    — Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 1, 2013

    That's certainly not an indication of which way he's leaning—at least not totally. But that quote, along with other mitigating factors, was enough for Fox Sports' Evan Daniels to say he's "starting to like" Kentucky's chances:

    Starting to like Kentucky's position with Andrew Wiggins. Wow. Can't believe I tweeted that with their current class.

    — Evan Daniels (@EvanDanielsFOX) April 1, 2013

    If Wiggins goes to Kentucky, he should have no worries about the viability of that choice professionally.

    Lexington has become a hotbed of top-five one-and-done selections since Calipari took over, and the chance to join his fellow elite freshmen could lead to a national championship.

Florida State

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    UPDATE: Friday, April 5, at 7:31 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway

    We don't know where Wiggins will wind up, but we're starting to get a good feeling of what his parents want. According to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv and NBA.com, Andrew's brother Nick believes their parents want the superstar recruit at their alma mater:

    Nick Wiggins told @snytv his parents probably want Florida State but they would support whatever he decides

    — Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 5, 2013

    That said, Wiggins' parents are not going to force their son's hand, per The Courier-Journal's Kyle Tucker:

    Worth noting: Wiggins to @stevejones_cj in Chicago: "At the end of the day, (parents) are going to let me decide because I’m grown up."

    — Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) April 5, 2013

    ---End of update---

    UPDATE: Thursday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway

    While nothing is set in stone—far from it—things are starting to look better for the Seminoles' chances. HOOPSWORLD's Alex Kennedy may not agree with the decision, but he's hearing Wiggins is most likely to attend Florida State:

    If I had to guess, I'd say Andrew Wiggins goes to Florida State. That's what I've heard, but we'll see. If I were him, I'd go to Kentucky.

    — Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 4, 2013

    Wiggins still has plenty of time remaining to make up his mind and seems comfortable using it. But this report has to give the folks in Tallahassee a ton of hope.

    ---End of update---

    Initially seen as a surprising addition to his short list, Wiggins' relationship with Florida State has been well-documented throughout the lead-up to his decision.

    Both of his parents attended the school in the mid-1980s—Mitchell, an eventual NBA guard, and Marita, an eventual Olympic silver medalist in 1984—and remain in good standing in Tallahassee.

    The Seminoles also brought in close friend and travel teammate Xavier Rathan-Mayes for next season's class.

    Seen as a program on the rise prior to the 2012-13 season, Florida State stumbled once games got under way. The Seminoles finished just 18-16 and were bounced by Louisiana Tech during the first round of the NIT.

    With the school not exactly having the best pedigree, one could surmise its chances have drawn to a close.

    But, according to Wiggins, that's not the case.

    According to ESPN's Dave Telep, Wiggins said that Florida State's regular-season woes did not matter and cited his comfort with head coach Leonard Hamilton:

    Wiggins said he's comfortable with Leonard Hamilton. FSU/UK seasons didn't matter. First reaction on Randle to UK: "They're deep."

    — Dave Telep (@DaveTelep) April 1, 2013

    The 64-year-old Hamilton has been the Seminoles' head coach since 2002-03 and has developed NBA talent before, but no one of Wiggins' caliber.

    Simply landing Wiggins by itself would be the greatest achievement of Hamilton's career—and arguably the Florida State program's greatest achievement since making the Final Four in 1972. 

    For that reason, the Seminoles remain an underdog in most pundits' eyes. Still, the chance remains that Wiggins will buck all expectation and take his talents to Tallahassee, forging his own path in college basketball history. 

North Carolina

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    The last time we heard much about Wiggins and North Carolina, the nation's top recruit had descended upon Chapel Hill to watch the Tar Heels play arch rival Duke.

    Needless to say, that visit did not go as planned for Roy Williams and Co. North Carolina was mopped up on its home floor by the Blue Devils, 69-53, in a game that was already over by midway through the first half. 

    While Wiggins won't be making his decision on the basis of one lousy game, it certainly wasn't the way the Tar Heels wanted to represent themselves.

    Looking triumphant, as the program has for so many decades at this point, was obviously the preferable finish—especially with Wiggins' pseudo-rival, Jabari Parker, heading to Durham.

    Even despite that loss with Wiggins in attendance, North Carolina continues to push hard for the ultimate win—landing the biggest fish in college recruiting. While Williams and the remainder of the Tar Heels coaching staff will be hard at work in the coming weeks, it looks like they may be getting some help on the trail.

    According to ESPN's Dave Telep, North Carolina commit Kennedy Meeks has been pressing Wiggins hard to join him in Chapel Hill:

    Aspiring ESPN Recruiting Nation reporter Kennedy Meeks on Andrew Wiggins: "I'm gonna get him (to UNC), you watch."

    — Dave Telep (@DaveTelep) April 1, 2013

    Meeks, a 4-star center out of Charlotte, is one of only two Tar Heels commits ranking inside 247 Sports' Top 50. The other, Isaiah Hicks, is a forward from Oxford, N.C. and is considered the 12th-best player in the nation.

Other Rumblings from Around the Nation

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    Nick Wiggins Making a Play for His Brother at Wichita State?

    UPDATE: Wednesday, April 3, at 4:53 p.m. ET 

    In a story that ran Wednesday for USA Today, Wiggins did not completely rule out signing with the Shockers—it just doesn't sound very likely.

    Hey, anything’s possible ya know. None of these other schools are coming off a Final Four. But, right now, I’m only considering the original four. But you see, that’s what I mean; people see that tweet and run with it. Some of the stuff is crazy.

    For now, the only "shocking" of the world Wiggins will be doing will of those three schools not chosen among his final four. It looked like a remote possibility to begin with, and Wiggins did little to change that stance.

    ---End of update---

    While the world awaits the decision of one Wiggins brother, another is already capturing the nation's attention himself. Nick Wiggins is a junior guard for the Wichita State Shockers, who will play Louisville in the Final Four this weekend.

    With everyone abuzz (get it?) about the Shockers' ascent, Nick not-so-subtly referenced Wichita State when talking about his brother's impending decision:

    The WORLD is going to be SHOCKED when my bro @22wiggins makes his decision in the next couple weeks lol just saying ! #SHOCKTHEWORLD BRO

    — NW15 (@Wiggys_WORLD15) March 31, 2013

    As of now, there is no indication Andrew Wiggins is even remotely considering joining his brother.

    The four aforementioned schools (Kansas, North Carolina, Florida State and Kentucky) are the only ones Andrew has mentioned as possibilities, with Wichita State not even remotely mentioned in the infancy of his recruitment. 

    That said, it remains intriguing just for the sheer fact of how entertaining it would be if Wiggins pulled the rug out on everyone.