Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Andrew Wiggins College Decision: The Waiting Game Paid Off

No. 1 recruit Andrew Wiggins waited longer than everyone else, a strategy that could pay off. (wagesofwins.com)

He made the college basketball world wait until the very end for the most anticipated college basketball recruiting decision of the year. But that's the perk of being the No. 1 player in the class and the most sought-after player in the country.

Other players have known and announced their college decision for months. The NBA Draft deadline came and went. And still, the sport, and more specifically the four schools still in the running, waited anxiously for Andrew Wiggins' decision.

There's not a team in the country that wouldn't welcome Wiggins with open arms, and either Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky or North Carolina will do that Tuesday when the decision is finally revealed. When everyone wants you, you have all the time in the world. Wiggins took his time, waiting longer than every other top recruit, because that's what the benefit of being the best.

While the wait has been agonizing for everyone else involved, Wiggins was smart in his patience. The landscape of a team can change drastically between the regular season in February and May. Kentucky brought in recruit after recruit while more members of its current freshman class returned to school than most believed. Wiggins' wait took Kentucky out of the running, and for him, who most likely wants to be a one-and-done, this is a good thing.

Imagine if he would have committed in February. He would have no idea Alex Poythress, Kyle Wiltjer and Willie Cauley-Stein would return instead of going pro as expected. Maybe other recruits would have gone elsewhere knowing Wiggins' decisions, but if all commitments remained the same, there would not be much room for all the talent, let alone egos. Four of the top 10 players in the Rivals 150 are already heading to Lexington.

Also during this waiting period, he found out for sure that Ben McLemore was leaving Kansas and guys like James Michael McAdoo and PJ Hairston were returning to UNC. Wiggins now knows exactly what he's entering in to. There are no shocking returns or unforeseen transfers or coaching moves. It will be interesting to see if future No. 1 recruits follow Wiggins' strategy.

A pressure is lifted for to recruits finally announcing their decision and ending the media and speculation circus, and sometimes a wait won't be needed. If the top player happens to be a local kid who has known he wanted to suit up for this team since he was in middle school, then go ahead and commit. But for those like Wiggins who seem legitimately torn, what's the rush? 

The wait means more time for headlines and more anxiety from coaches, but the view of a team is so much clearer in May. It's not like people were going to forget about Andrew Wiggins. The wait will make the reward for winner of the Wiggins Sweepstakes taste that much sweeter.

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