Andrew Wiggins Will Fill Void Left by Ben McLemore at Kansas

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMay 15, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 03: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the East waits during a time out during the 2013 McDonald's All American game at United Center on April 3, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With Ben McLemore headed to the NBA, Kansas had a major void to fill for next season.

The Jayhawks filled that void on Tuesday with the No. 1 recruit in the country, Andrew Wiggins.

Wiggins—who signed his letter of intent at Huntington Prep (h/t alongside family, friends and one reporter on Tuesday—has just about everything you would want in a prospect. He has the versatility, length, fluidity, athleticism and explosiveness to be a threat at both ends of the floor, and the shooting range to complete the package.

The son of former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and former Olympics track star Marita Payne-Wiggins, he averaged 23.4 points and 11.2 rebounds in his senior season at Huntington Prep.

McLemore—who figures to be a top-five pick in the 2013 NBA draft—averaged 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 42 percent from beyond the arc in his freshman campaign at Kansas. In the process, the Jayhawks made it all the way to the Sweet 16 before losing in overtime to Michigan.

The reality is, Wiggins could be better than McLemore ever was. He's being labeled as one of the best basketball prospects to come along in years, particularly because he has an all-around game to back up his jaw-dropping explosiveness. Several draft experts have projected him as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, including ESPN's Chad Ford

Of course, McLemore isn't the only starter the Jayhawks lost this offseason. In fact, they lost all five of their starters, including Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Kevin Young and Travis Releford. Wiggins isn't going to make up for all of that himself.

But not only does Wiggins have the talent to lead Kansas deep into the 2014 NCAA tournament, he can play shooting guard, small forward or power forward, which will allow coach Bill Self to mix and match to find the right combination. Naadir Tharpe and Perry Ellis return, while the Jayhawks also boast 5-star shooting guard Wayne Selden and 4-star recruits Joel Embiid, Brannen Greene and Conner Frankamp.

Wiggins passed up Kentucky to join Kansas. Now the Wildcats have some competition for the national championship.


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