Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Andrew Wiggins is a Youngster to Know

Andrew Wiggins sees something he likes. (Sholten Singer/Huntington Herald-Dispatch)

There’s no way to nail down whether or not a marvelous college basketball career will translate into a productive professional term. Adam Morrison – he of numerous award nominations and wins during his time at Gonzaga – is proof enough of that. Sure, he coasted through two title runs with the Los Angeles Lakers, but Morrison just finished toiling in summer league and, in all likelihood, will not play a minute in the NBA this upcoming season – significant or not.

Likewise, college recruiters lack a definitive deductive method to find the next Naismith or Wooden Award winner. But considering the summer that Andrew Wiggins is having, it’s worth knowing his name, at least.

The latest addition to the class of 2014 representative’s ledger is a strong showing at Nike’s Peach Jam. Facing some of the toughest prep-level competitors in the country, Wiggins averaged 8.9 rebounds and 21.9 points on 47.8 percent shooting while leading his AAU team, CIA Bounce, to a second-place finish.

In the tournament championship, Wiggins outkicked his averaged and went off for 28 points with 13 rebounds. If the numbers alone aren’t impressive, the Canadian small forward – who plays school ball for West Virginia’s Huntington Prep – did the work against Julius Randle, the No. 2 ranked player in the class of 2013. At 6’8”, 235 lbs, Randle has half an inch and 35 pounds on Wiggins. His size wasn’t an advantage on either end of the floor, as Wiggins also bothered him defensively.

Basketball runs in the Wiggins family. Andrew’s father, Mitch, logged six years in the NBA and has gone on record saying Andrew can’t hold court with his older brothers (Mitch Wiggins, Jr. played at Hillsborough Community College and Nick Wiggins will be a Wichita State Shocker this fall, after two solid years at Wabash Valley (Ill.) College).

Sibling rivalry and paternal direction certainly have places in Andrew Wiggins’ story. ESPN has the rising junior pegged as the No. 1 player in his class, and Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports already has Andrew slated to be the top overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. Still, he's entering his third year of high school and has more to learn. His foul on a three-point shooter with 1.9 seconds left essentially lost his team the Peach Jam title.

He’s quick, athletic, and hyped – but with so much uncertainty, a couple highlight reels are all Andrew Wiggins has to his name right now.

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