Andrew Wiggins Possesses Talent and Confidence to Match Intense Hype
No one should be worried about whether Andrew Wiggins will flop. Instead, we should be prepared to watch the next truly special star of the sport evolve over the next three-to-five years.
Wiggins is the No. 1 high school basketball player in the nation and the last truly coveted recruit yet to announce his college decision.
His substantial talent creates a ton of expectations for him, but elongating his decision on where he'll play college basketball—most likely for one year—adds to the pressure to meet or exceed those lofty expectations.
For most 18-year-old kids, this would be a situation that left them extremely vulnerable to failure, but Wiggins isn't most kids.
Many know he's a 6'8" swingman with All-Star weekend hops, a smooth stroke on his jump shot, advanced handle and top-notch shot-creating ability. On April 16, his wingspan measured at seven feet at the Nike Hoop Summit, per Draft Express.
As a senior at Huntington Prep in West Virginia, Wiggins averaged 23.4 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.4 steals and 2.6 blocked shots per game, per MaxPreps.com.
He had 19 points at the 2013 McDonald's All-American Game and 2013 Jordan Brand Classic.
But beyond the physical talents, Wiggins possesses the confidence and upbringing required to live up to the hype. The young Canadian has been preparing for this for a while.
Wiggins is the most gifted member of an extremely athletic family.
He has two brothers playing college basketball. His brother Nick Wiggins of Wichita State was a reserve for the team that just reached the Final Four in the 2013 NCAA tournament.
His older brother Mitchell Wiggins, Jr. plays for Southeastern University.
His mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, won two Olympic medals in track and field for Canada, and his dad, Mitchell Wiggins, played six seasons in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers.
If that isn't a background that breeds athletic excellence, I don't know what is.
It's not just the awesome gene-pool mix that gives young Andrew an advantage.
With these gifts come the expectation of athletic success on a professional level. With parents who have reached such high levels in their sports, Wiggins has been privy to the guidance required to maintain his mental faculties through the hype that surrounds him.
In a recent interview with B/R's Jonathan Wasserman, Wiggins was asked:
You've been in the public eye for a few years now; are you getting comfortable with all the attention and the national exposure, or do these awards and the media attention add some unwanted pressure?
To that he simply answered: "Not really, I'm used to it by now."
It may seem like a basic answer, but in my opinion, it's quite telling. Wiggins is used to the attention; it doesn't make him uncomfortable, and judging by the way he's performing on the court, it seems as though he embraces it.
Talk has swirled about his decision on a school. Kentucky is in the mix and—surprising to some—so is Florida State. It shouldn't be a shock; Wiggins' father went to Florida State, so that is one connection.
Aside from being his dad's alma mater, the Seminoles' program would also give Wiggins an opportunity to shine and make his own mark.
Kentucky already has a recruiting class for the ages with six of the top-10 recruits in the nation committed to Lexington, per 247Sports.
Even though Wiggins is considered the best high school player in the nation, he would be the most famous member of a spectacular ensemble cast at Kentucky.
At Florida State, he would be the biggest and brightest star by far. It is possible that challenge could appeal to him. Per Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports, Wiggins' brother Nick isn't sure Kentucky is the right fit for him. He said:
They've [Kentucky] got a couple kids coming (back), they got seven or eight dudes that are already signed to come in off the (McDonald’s) All-America team, and I don’t feel like it would be the best fit for him to make his own legacy.
Where would you like to see Wiggins go to college?
We'll see if Wiggins shares his brother's sentiments. It would take a lot of courage and direction to turn away from Kentucky, but I can see the benefits on both sides. The fact that he's even considering Florida State tells me he isn't just interested in following the most popular crowd.
Per 247Sports, Kansas and North Carolina are also still possibilities.
No matter what decision he makes, there will be criticism. Wiggins has proven he has what it takes to absorb the darts from the doubters and answer with his play on the court.
Check out the highlights:
This is a kid that is built to succeed mentally and physically. Barring injury or some other unfortunate happenstance, that's exactly what he will do.
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