Andrew Wiggins is considered the top recruit in college basketball for the upcoming season. If he wants the best chance for personal collegiate success, he should eliminate Kentucky from consideration.
The 6'8" small forward, playing at Huntington Prep in West Virginia, is considering Florida State, Kansas and North Carolina in addition to the Wildcats.
Playing at Kentucky might seem enticing, but it would be a mistake for Wiggins. The recruiting class assembled by coach John Calipari is being considered (membership required) one of the best of all time. The Wildcats have already nabbed six All-Americans, in addition to having star recruits from last season, Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress, still on the roster.
Quite simply, there will not be enough basketball to go around. Wiggins wants to dominate with the ball. He projects as a top-flight scorer, both in college and in the pros. But with all the talent on the roster, it will be hard for anyone to get consistent touches.
Where Should Wiggins Play to Have the Most Success?
That alone should be a major deterrent for Wiggins, who deserves plenty of opportunities to utilize his unique abilities.
Additionally, despite all their talent last season, Kentucky missed the NCAA tournament and lost in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris. Winning with all freshmen is difficult. Kentucky does not have as many seasoned veterans as they did when they won in 2011-12. Having veterans is essential—each Final Four team has juniors and seniors they can count upon in big moments.
It will be tough to integrate seven freshmen who are used to being the stars on their high school teams into a coherent whole. Each player will have to become a lot more unselfish than they're used to being. That could lead to many chemistry issues and they could start off slowly.
If Wiggins wants success and the best chance for winning, he should attend Florida State. Both of his parents went there, so he has a natural connection to the school. The Seminoles have a pretty good recruiting class in their own right, led by fellow Canadian Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who plays at Huntington Prep with Wiggins.
Should Wiggins go to Kentucky, he'll have to compete with another star recruit, James Young, for the starting position at small forward. Wiggins should win that battle, but even a minor setback could find him on the bench. There's no guarantee that Wiggins would be able to win the job back, as Young projects as a top player.
Florida State is a good home for the uber-talented Wiggins. It's not a traditional basketball powerhouse, but good enough for Wiggins to turn them into title contenders. It will be more impressive if Wiggins can take the Seminoles to a title than if he took the Wildcats, who are expected to be there anyway. With athleticism and talent like this, there's no limit to where he can take the Seminoles:
Wiggins is most likely a one-and-done player. Barring injury, he will probably be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft.
Because of that, he needs to make the most of his collegiate experience. Playing on a star-laden Kentucky team that could have chemistry issues is not the right move. Rather, the explosive athlete should choose Florida State, where he would be the big dog and have the best case to show off his talents.