Andrew Wiggins Decision: Biggest Selling Point for All 4 Schools in the Running
The guessing game on where Andrew Wiggins will end up has gotten so much play that it's surprising Nate Silver has not used his wizardry to predict where the phenom will end up.
It's almost time to quit speculating and find out where Wiggins will land—he's finally announcing on Tuesday, according to his high school coach.
The accepted belief is that Wiggins is one of the best one-and-done prospects of all time, and that's why his recruitment has turned into the story of the college basketball offseason. Luckily, he hasn't treated us with any quotes about how he could Carmelo-ize any program he chooses, but that is the expectation, especially after months of buildup.
Each school—Kentucky, Kansas, Florida State and North Carolina—has something great to offer.
If the coaches were going to make one last sales pitch, here are a few shots in the dark at what each one would be.
Kentucky: What's Your Ring Size?
So, Mr. Wiggins, would you like to win the title and get as much exposure as possible?
That's what Big Blue Nation can offer. Well, that, and do you like Ashley Judd? Imagine playing in front of the star of Double Jeopardy! (I hope John Calipari has used this line at some point.)
Kentucky is already the consensus preseason No. 1, with a recruiting class that includes six McDonald's All-Americans. Wiggins would give Calipari a seventh (gasp!) burger boy, and UK fans might start booking an April trip to Dallas if they haven't already.
Wiggins has the chance to be the biggest star for what would be the greatest recruiting class of all time. He'd be the Chris Webber of the Fab Five, without that whole taking money from some old guy running an illegal gambling ring saga.
The drawback for choosing Kentucky is that there is—pardon the cliche—only one basketball to go around. Playing time shouldn't be a concern because this is Andrew Wiggins (Canada's gift to basketball) we're talking about. But there are a lot of players on that team who want to prove themselves to scouts.
Calipari is great at getting talented guys to buy into a team concept, but he's never tried to play with so much talent at one time. That should be the one fear for UK fans and Wiggins' family; this has the potential to be a soap opera.
Kansas: The System Works
Let's imagine this is the list of what Wiggins wants:
- Great tradition
- Good talent
- Chance to be the man
- Play for a team that consistently wins
At Kansas, there's no reason to doubt Bill Self—see nine straight Big 12 titles.
Self's offense is more well known for churning out big men, but he's had a good run with talented one-and-done wings lately.
Ben McLemore averaged 15.9 points per game this past season, and Self would have been fine with him shooting more. It also helps KU's cause that McLemore is expected to go first or second in the upcoming NBA draft.
In 2010, Xavier Henry averaged 13.4 points per game and was drafted 12th following his freshman season. Henry has not had much success in the pros, but he's a one-dimensional player who has never really developed any sort of slashing game. Wiggins is much closer to a sure thing.
Calipari or Roy Williams could tell Wiggins that he'd be going to a massive rebuilding project at Kansas, but history is on the side of Self in that regard. He's replaced five starters before, most recently in 2008-09, and he won the Big 12 and made the Sweet 16 that year. He also has a good recruiting class and a few intriguing pieces returning.
Wiggins would be able to put a check next to each of those those requirements above, and he'd also turn Kansas into a team capable of making the Final Four and maybe even compete for the title.
Florida State: Become a Legend
If Wiggins wants the school where he plays to build his statue, he might be able to talk Florida State into it. In fact, I bet Leonard Hamilton would pay for the statue and build it himself. And if Hamilton hasn't thought of this already, you're welcome, Leonard.
The pitch is pretty simple for the Seminoles: Become our legend and what FSU basketball is known for. And, oh yeah, make your parents, both FSU alums, happy in the process.
Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina already have their legends. They already have their banners. They don't need Wiggins to make them must-see TV.
All of the attention given to Florida State would surround Wiggins, and he would have an opportunity to make history at a school without much of a basketball past.
So, Andrew, would you prefer bronze or brass?
North Carolina: Fun and Gun
North Carolina can pretty much offer everything that Kentucky and Kansas have along with the opportunity to play in a really fun system.
Roy Williams is one of the few coaches who can tell you he wants to play fast, and then actually implement the strategy.
Which school is the best fit for Andrew Wiggins?
Wiggins should be sold on the talent Kentucky has because he has played with those guys a lot in the last few months on the All-Star circuit. The Heels could sell Wiggins on the fact that their talent has already proven itself on the college level.
He would play with two players—P.J. Hairston and James Michael McAdoo—who are potential NBA talents and have already been through the growing pains a lot of guys experience in the college game.
UNC also has a spot for a stud wing with Reggie Bullock leaving for the NBA. Put Wiggins on this team, and UNC becomes a top two or three team in the preseason that will be wildly fun to watch.
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