Andrew Wiggins is an extraordinary prospect. He's the type of player who can make a good college basketball team great or a great one unstoppable. After stretching out the recruiting process, however, he better be ready to handle the immense pressure that comes along with the added attention.
Every day that passes without Wiggins making a decision is another notch up on the hype meter, which is already nearing unprecedented levels for an incoming freshman. After all, if four marquee programs are hanging on his every move, he's certainly a special player, right?
Well, yes. He's the consensus top overall prospect in the 2013 class, according to 247 Sports' composite rankings, and has the tools to become a superstar. Yet, the amount of pressure he's going to face at the next level is unlike anything he's dealt with before.
A lot of that has to do with the extended period of time he's taking to choose between Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina. The four finalists are all awaiting his decision, and a clear favorite still hasn't emerged, reports Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports.
That amounts to four massive fanbases sitting on the edge of their collective seats hoping he makes the "right" decision. The program that wins the sweepstakes is going to expect him to dominate from day one.
He's put himself in the spotlight by waiting longer than the other prospects and must be prepared to handle everything that comes along with that.
It didn't have to reach this point. He could have made his decision a while ago like most incoming freshmen—including his fellow elite prospects—and faded into the sports background for a while.
Instead, he's still being discussed when college basketball recruiting is usually an afterthought, unless people are talking about a player one or two years away. Certainly not months away from a highly anticipated freshman campaign.
Make no mistake, it's his right to take the time to ensure he's comfortable with the choice. At the same time, it comes with the territory that he'll start feeling the heat if he gets off to a slow start come fall.
Before writing off the added pressure as a non-issue, check out part of the report filed by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com during the Nike Hoop Summit:
Andrew Wiggins had somewhat of a quiet showing on the all-star circuit over the past three weeks, not really dominating the competition the way some might expect considering some of the accolades he's garnered. That might be somewhat by design, though, as from watching him closely and interacting with him, it's difficult not to feel like he's deeply fatigued from the three weeks he spent on the road as well as the incredible circus that has surrounded his college recruitment the past few months.
If the process itself wore him out, it's hard to tell what will happen when he goes through a rough patch at the next level, especially early. Expectations are already through the roof and continue to soar as more people become aware of the ongoing sweepstakes.
There are two sides to the game: physical and mental. The physical side of things shouldn't be an issue. He's 6'8'' and a shade under 200 pounds with athleticism that will stand out even in college basketball's top conferences.
He can create his own offense off the dribble and has great range for a forward. And if he's allowed to get out in open space on a fast break it's basically not even worth trying to slow him down. He's also an improving distributor with good court vision.
On defense, his combination of length and athleticism give him a chance to become just as efficient on that end of the floor as he is on offense. He's a bit more raw on defense, though.
The mental side will get tested. As the top prospect, he's started to scratch the surface of what it takes to be a superstar, but it only gets more intense from here. The long decision-making process simply added another layer to it.
Nobody knows for sure how he'll handle the pressure once he finally chooses a school, but it won't take long into his freshman season find out.