The biggest story in college basketball right now is where an 18-year-old from Canada who has yet to play a minute of college basketball will decide to go to school for a year.
Andrew Wiggins, the latest savior in sneakers, is choosing between Kansas, North Carolina, Kentucky and Florida State. He will make one coach and one fanbase really happy. He will disappoint three others. That’s what we know.
On Friday, Keith Jenkins, who is the Editorial Graphics Producer at ESPN (according to his LinkedIn page), tweeted that “Source tells me Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 recruit in the 2013 100, will commit to Florida State. Nothing official as of yet.” Here’s his series of tweets (via Kentucky Sports Radio).
Those tweets have since been deleted. Jenkins changed his Twitter handle from @KJenkins_ESPN to @MrKeithJenkins. The last Wiggins-related tweet he has not deleted came on March 28 when his “source” told him Wiggins was visiting with Kentucky coach John Calipari. That was also reported here and here. There’s an unconfirmed report (that I just made up) that Jenkins’ source also told him Wiggins is from Canada.
This is what we know, from Wiggins:
Lol if you ain't in my family you know nothing about my recruitment , lol stop with the rumors— andrew wiggins (@22wiggins) April 13, 2013
This is what happens when 18-year-olds make fans and Editorial Graphic Producers wait. We want to know. We want to speculate. We want sources. We want to know before they know.
But really, only the 18-year-old and his family know. Sometimes the family doesn’t even know. Sometimes the 18-year-old doesn’t even know yet.
Wiggins could be waiting just to make us wait. The late signing period does not end until May 15. He could like the attention. Or, most likely, Wiggins is waiting because he has not made up his mind yet. And he’s not the first 18-year-old basketball prodigy to make everyone wait.
Waiting Is So In Right Now
Wiggins is not the first to take his time. His decision has been magnified because of the schools involved and the hype that surrounds this particular phenom.
But this is what many of the top high school players do now.
Last year, Shabazz Muhammad did not announce his commitment to UCLA until April 11. Muhammad was also considering Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and UNLV. He could have been waiting to see if Ben Howland would still have a job after the season. And this is purely speculation, but UCLA’s administration could have been waiting to see if Muhammad would be a Bruin until they decided if Howland would still be the coach. (Not even Muhammad helping his coach win a Pac-12 title could save Howland his job this year.)
In 2010, Josh Selby was rated as the top player in the country by Rivals.com. Selby waited until April 16 to announce his decision, declaring he was going to Kansas during the Jordan Brand Classic.
Selby had picked the game to be his platform. Selby also could have been waiting at the time to see who would be left at Kentucky or if Kansas guard Xavier Henry would leave for the NBA.
The year before that, John Wall waited until May 19 to commit to Kentucky. Wall was smart to wait. He wanted to play where John Calipari would be the coach, and if he had signed in the early period, he could have ended up at a Calipari-less Memphis.
Waiting is so trendy because it’s so logical.
When you’re the best player in the class and can afford to hold out as long as possible on a decision (because it’s not like Team X will be unwilling to hold a spot for you), it makes sense to stretch out the decision-making process.
Players leave. Coaches often change zip codes in April. If you have the luxury to wait and can handle the attention, then you should stall. And believe it or not, sometimes these 18-year-olds really have yet to make up their minds.
Why Wiggins Could Be Waiting
In the last few weeks, Kansas and Kentucky have already had players declare early for the NBA Draft. North Carolina guard P.J. Hairston announced on Friday with this tweet that he’s staying in school. Reggie Bullock and James Michael McAdoo have not decided yet.
If Wiggins is a North Carolina lean, he could be waiting to see who his teammates will be or how crowded it is at his position.
Wichita State guard Nick Wiggins, Andrew’s brother, put a scare in Kentucky fans when he said (via Yahoo! Sports) that UK would not be the “best fit for him to make his own legacy.” This would suggest a Florida State lean.
But wait! Wiggins threw an alley-oop to Kentucky-bound Julius Randle in the Jordan Brand Classic on Saturday. Maybe he wants to do more of that. Maybe he’s a Kentucky lean.
Or maybe we should just quit speculating.
Maybe, as Wiggins himself said, we should quit listening to sources. He’ll announce when he’s ready to announce.
No disrespect to Mr. Jenkins. I’m sure his “source” is someone who he felt he could trust. I’m sure he was excited to break some news that everyone wants to know. He could end up being right and stick his tongue out at the world. But I’m sure he saw Wiggins’ rebuttal and felt kind of silly. So silly he deleted the tweets and changed his handle.
So, let’s all take a deep breath, and just wait. Add “Andrew Wiggins” to your Google News’ alerts if you must. Watch his Twitter religiously if it’s killing you. My goal is to become one of the first 1,000 on Twitter to retweet Wiggins’ announcement. (I’ve been training my right index finger in preparation.)
Wiggins, meanwhile, can sit back and LOL at the craziness.