The most high-profile recruitment in the country will come to a quiet and fitting end Tuesday.
Wiggins will quietly and fittingly sign his national letter-of-intent in front of family and friends Tuesday at 12:15 PM ET.
In an era of big to-dos, press conferences and live national television announcements, the unanimous No. 1 prospect in the country--Huntington (W.V.) Prep's Andrew Wiggins--will quietly sign his national letter-of-intent in front of family, friends and students Tuesday at 12:15 PM ET.
The 6-foot-8, 195-pound phenom and Gatorade National Player of the Year will sign with either Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky or North Carolina.
In this day and age of around-the-clock recruiting coverage, it has become increasingly rare that a recruit can keep you guessing all the way to the end. It takes a total commitment to pull it off, but that's exactly what Wiggins has managed to do, reducing everyone's prediction to more or less of an educated guess.
With all four teams still seemingly in the running and not beyond the realm of possibility that not even the four head coaches recruiting Wiggins' are aware of his decision, four 247Sports analysts make their case for each of Wiggins' four finalists:
Case For: First and foremost, Wiggins would be a program changer for Florida State. He would be the most heralded recruit in Florida State basketball history, surpassing Doug Edwards who signed with Florida State in the late 80’s. He would also continue a family legacy at Florida State, following in the footsteps of his father, former basketball player Mitchell Wiggins, and his mother, elite track athlete Marita Payne-Wiggins. His ability to single-handedly elevate the status of a program would receive national attention.
On the court, Wiggins would immediately elevate Florida State’s status as a challenger to win the competitive ACC and compete on the national level in the 2013-14 season. He would add offensive firepower to a team that struggled at times a season ago to get buckets. He would be the centerpiece with a solid returning group for the Seminoles but find more than ample playing time available. He would also play alongside his lifelong friend and teammate, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who has already signed with the Seminoles. Wiggins can help to change a program and elevate its status in a similar fashion to what Michael Beasley did for Kansas State or Chris Paul for Wake Forest.
Case Against: As for why he may opt for elsewhere, it depends on his interest in going to a program that is already considered among the nation's elite. Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina all provide that. With Kentucky, who most believe to be the primary challenger, he would join an astounding group of incoming talent who would likely give John Calipari another squad with a shot to win it all before they are one-and-done. Kansas is a sleeper here with a legitimate shot. Immediate playing time on a very competitive, consistent squad is available as a Jayhawk.
Wiggins' parents were standouts in their respective sports at FSU and many feel he will continue his family's legacy in Tallahassee.
Final Verdict: Ultimately, Wiggins decision will come down to relationships, his comfort level with a program, and how he sees his role for that program in the short time he is likely to be on campus. I believe he will opt to be the face of Florida State's program next year and beyond and continue a family legacy in Tallahassee. Florida State in a tight battle:
Florida State (40 percent)
Kentucky (25 percent)
Kansas (20 percent)
North Carolina (15 percent)
– Chris Nee, Noles247
Case For: The case for Andrew Wiggins to choose Kansas begins with head coach Bill Self and the rapport they’ve been able to establish in a relatively short time. Andrew Wiggins is a quiet kid who likes to blend into a smaller community while still maximizing opportunities to take his place on the largest stage, and no place fits that description than a Kansas program that has quietly won nine consecutive conference championships and routinely plays games big and small on national television while being rooted in a family atmosphere where stars and practice players are recognized and admired, but not hounded or chased.
For his one year at Kansas, while he would clearly be the centerpiece, he would not be the only future lottery pick and would play games against Duke, Georgetown, Colorado, and Florida and in The Bahamas. With Wayne Selden, Conner Frankamp, Brannen Greene and Joel Embiid, he would be part of a top five recruiting class that seems downright tailored to fitting a dominant inside-outside presence at its center. That type of roster seems to line up extremely well for a National Player of the Year chase, without being overburdening, and while allowing him to be the biggest piece in what would become a serious Final Four contending team.
Finally, the x-factor in Kansas’s favor is that Andrew’s older brother, Nick, will be a senior at nearby Wichita State, fresh off a Final Four run. Andrew attending Kansas would allow their parents to see both of their sons play more frequently with less travel.
Case Against: By all accounts, Andrew Wiggins is a quiet, unassuming kid who may prefer a year in relative obscurity (his talent level alone won’t allow for true obscurity, regardless of how badly he may want that) either somewhere where basketball isn’t placed on the pedestal it is in Lawrence or as part of a more talented or more veteran team where he may not be “the man” from Day 1 (again, his talent level alone may not allow him to dip into the background). At any of the other finalists, Andrew could be allowed to adjust more quietly to college and college basketball, whereas at Kansas he would start and clearly be the top scoring option from Day 1. Finally, the x-factor against Kansas is adidas: Andrew has played his high school and AAU career under the guidance of Nike and Kansas is the lone finalist affiliated with adidas.
Will Kentucky add Wiggins as the crowned jewel of its already historic 2013 recruiting class?
Final Verdict: I really think this is down to Florida State or, shockingly, Kansas, as we head into the final hours of one of the quietest recruitments of a prodigious talent in a long time:
Florida State (45 percent)
Kansas (35 percent)
Kentucky (15 percent)
North Carolina (5 percent)
– Aaron Markowitz, Jayhawk Sports Report
Case For: In the few interviews he's done in recent months, Andrew Wiggins said winning a national championship is the first and foremost factor in his college decision and if that holds true, Kentucky would certainly seem to be the choice. Wiggins' would be the crown jewel of the Wildcats' already historic 2013 recruiting class and would elevate UK to the heavy favorite to win the national championship next season. Wiggins has also said previously that he wants to play for John Calipari, who has been recruiting him by far the longest of any coach, first seeing him as a 15-year-old in Germany.
A sure-fire top five NBA Draft pick regardless of which school he chooses, Kentucky is one of the few schools in the country with enough talent to challenge Wiggins on a daily basis in practice and is probably the environment most-suited to further develop his game.
And from a marketing standpoint in terms of long-term future earnings, there is not a more en vogue program in terms of visibility and branding right now than Kentucky.
Case Against: As many have pointed out, there's already a high-wattage of star power already in Lexington and last I checked, still only one ball to go around. That, combined with some of the more overbearing personalities on the roster and UK may not be the best overall fit in that regard.
Wiggins is tailor-made for Roy Williams' up and down style in Chapel Hill.
And for better or worse, Kentucky isn't for everyone. You spend every second of your playing days on the biggest stage and in the largest fishbowl. It's no secret (as evidenced by the manner of his announcement) that Wiggins is not a fan of media attention and may lead him to look elsewhere.
Final Verdict: None of the four would shock me but at the end of the day, I still think it comes down to the original two favorites: Florida State and Kentucky. Based on recent history, still not willing to bet against Calipari in these situations and still give the Wildcats a slight edge. Here's how it breaks down:
Kentucky (35 percent)
Florida State (30 percent)
North Carolina (20 percent)
Kansas (15 percent)
– Chris Fisher, CatsPause
Case For: North Carolina would be the best fit for Wiggins for a few reasons. With it looking like James Michael McAdoo and PJ Hairston will be returning to Chapel Hill, the team will have veterans at the power forward and shooting guard spots respectively, and Wiggins could step right in at the small forward spot and takeover for the departed Reggie Bullock. Wiggins won't be looked to as the number one scoring option and he can spend some time learning from the two former high school All-Americans, while he gets acclimated to the college game. In addition to McAdoo and Hairston, the Tar Heels have a young playmaker at point guard in Marcus Paige and an athletic center in Joel James, who does a terrific job of running the floor. North Carolina's up-tempo, fast-paced playing style would fit Wiggins abilities perfectly. It opens up the floor and allows him to make plays all over the court, thus enabling a smooth transition at the next level.
Case Against: While I could see Wiggins choosing North Carolina, there are plenty of reasons he may not select the Tar Heels. Harrison Barnes was the top prospect in the nation coming out of high school and some feel that he may have underachieved while at North Carolina. Some put that on Roy Williams and many feel that the type of system that the Tar Heels run may not be conducive to what best fits Wiggins' game. The fact that Barnes has progressed well in his first season in the NBA has added to this argument.
Final Verdict: When I first watched the quick video interview with Wiggins discussing the tremendous class that Kentucky was putting together, I actually eliminated them in my mind. I felt that his comments were too pro-Kentucky and that just isn't his style. If he selects them, well then I guess that was just him slipping up of sort and hinting at his eventual decision.
With 24 hours until his decision, I’m leaning about:
Florida State (60 percent)
North Carolina (25 percent)
Kentucky (10 percent)
Kansas (5 percent)
– Tom Loy, Carolina Blue