What Andrew Wiggins Should Be Looking for in His Choice of School

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2013

April 3, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA;  McDonald's All American forward Andrew Wiggins (22) poses for portraits before the 36th McDonalds All American Games to be played at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The college basketball recruiting world is now completely focused on Andrew Wiggins as people await his college decision. However, choosing a school is not an easy one.

According to 247Sports, the small forward is the No. 1 recruit in the country and has narrowed his choice of programs to Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina and Florida State. Each one offers something different to make a top player want to go there.

However, Wiggins must limit his focus on things that are important.

For a player of his caliber, college will likely just be a one-year stepping-stone to the NBA. We do not have to be naive enough to believe he is choosing a school based on academic programs. He should join a team where he has the best chance to improve his basketball talents for the future.

Looking at each school equally, these are the factors that should play the biggest role in where Wiggins eventually signs his Letter of Intent.


Coaching to Develop His Game

As good as Wiggins is coming out of high school, he is not perfect. His athleticism and scoring ability give him loads of potential, but he still has room to grow as an all-around player.

Spending one year at the college level will allow him to further develop other areas of his game. If all goes according to plan, he will be able to fill up stat sheets in every category in the NBA.

He needs a coach that has proven the ability to get the most of his players and turn them into players that will succeed at the next level. Each remaining option excels at this, though in different respects.

Leonard Hamilton has given less-heralded players a chance to play in the NBA due to great defensive coaching. Chris Singleton and Toney Douglas are good examples of this, although the coach has not dealt with too many 5-star players.

Roy Williams has seen dozens of players get drafted, although the ones that leave early have tended to struggle in the NBA. Guys like Marvin Williams and Brandan Wright have not lived up to expectations since leaving North Carolina.

Similarly, Kansas' Bill Self has done a much better job developing players over the long term. However, while Ben McLemore is expected to be taken in the top five of the 2013 NBA draft, both Xavier Henry and Josh Selby have struggled.

The person that has had the most success at getting great players to succeed is John Calipari at Kentucky. Obviously, he has had more opportunities as an excellent recruiter, but the results speak for themselves.

Wiggins can follow in the paths of John Wall, Derrick Rose, DeMarcus Cousins and others who have successfully moved onto the next level after spending a season with Coach Cal.


Getting Enough Touches

When you are among the top players in the country, a coach is going to find time for you. However, the amount of opportunities on the floor will depend greatly on the amount of talent around you.

Great players usually want to play with other great players, but this tends to be competitive as everyone wants to showcase his own ability. Additionally, coaches want to make sure everyone gets enough time on the court to keep emotions high.

On a team that is competing for a title, a coach will also have a shorter leash when a young player makes a mistake. This could lead to either a loss of confidence or a more conservative style of play after being afraid to mess up.

North Carolina should feature plenty of veteran leaders next season that are certain to remain the focal point of the offense. Even with playing time, Wiggins would likely play more of a secondary role.

Kentucky will utilize mostly underclassmen, although the high-profile prospects are likely to fight for shots as each plans to showcase his talent for NBA scouts.

Kansas and Florida State, however, should give Wiggins plenty of freedom to shine. The Jayhawks lose all five starters from a year ago, and the Seminoles could use anyone who can score on the offensive end.

Either of these teams will allow the player to improve on the court and learn from mistakes as he goes.


Having a Good Comfort Level

Going to college is a dramatic change for many high school kids around the country. While Wiggins has already made one big move from Canada to West Virginia to play at Huntington Prep, there is still a big change when moving on to the next level.

Having familiarity with the people around you can make the transition much easier. This will lead to more success on the basketball court as the player has much more confidence.

The incoming recruiting class at Kentucky should be close by now after spending time together at numerous all-star games over the past few months. Wiggins played in the McDonald's All-American Game, Jordan Brand Classic, Nike Hoop Summit as well as other events.

Along the way, he likely spent time with Kentucky commits Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Julius Randle and others. 

However, it is hard to compare these connections with that of Florida State. Both of Wiggins' parents were student-athletes for the Seminoles, while current teammate Xavier Rathan-Mayes has already committed to the school.

Being with one of these programs would help make his college experience that much better.



Obviously, Wiggins has to make his own decision about where he wants to go. However, these are the factors that should be considered the most while he attempts to end this process.

If this is the case, Florida State and Kentucky appear to have an advantage over the competition.