Andrew Wiggins' impending college decision could set an all-star precedent.
By ZAC JACKSONFS Ohio
Andrew Wiggins is finally ready to make his college decision, and he'll make it public on Tuesday.
It's taken more time for Wiggins to decide on a college basketball program than he'll actually spend in a college basketball program, but that's moot right now.
What's both imminent and extremely important, though, is that some team is about the land the services of the No. 1 recruit in the high school class of 2013 and likely No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
We've presumed for months that Wiggins' choice will come from a group that includes
Kentucky, Florida State, North Carolina and Kansas.
Based on what little the low-key Wiggins has shared about his thought process, nothing at this point would qualify as a huge surprise. But Wiggins' decision is about much more than a one-season rental or his nine-month stay on campus. Future "super" recruits — and those who influence them — are watching closely.
The Superteam Era is upon us in the NBA, and its run might be a prolonged one. With or without Wiggins, it may be upon us in the college game, too, and specifically in Lexington, Ky.
If Wiggins picks Kentucky and the
Wildcats win the 2014 national title, it may be here to stay.
Though he's by no means a finished product, the uber-athletic Wiggins has been Scout.com's No. 1 player in the class of 2013 since last fall, when he re-classified from the class of 2014. Nos. 3, 4, 5, 10, 18 and 21 in the class of 2013 are already going to Kentucky to play for John Calipari. Nos. 7 and 48 from the class of 2012 and the No. 24 recruit from 2011 are going to be on next year's Kentucky team, too.
Adding Wiggins to the mix would promise Kentucky nothing, but it certainly wouldn't hurt. Little more than 12 months removed from winning a national title with freshmen who ranked No. 1, 6 and 8 in the class of 2011 leading the way and returning sophomore Terrence Jones playing a key role, Calipari has a team that might be ranked No. 1 in preseason polls even if Wiggins goes elsewhere.
With or without Wiggins, every day of Kentucky practice will be like a mini-NBA combine. Every game will be played in front of dozens of NBA scouts. Calipari is a master of selling that, and in the temporary college vacation world of one-and-done talents and NBA dreams — these guys don't pick a school based on biology labs — selling the idea of a superteam is a pretty good way to sell.
Just like the basketball world awaits Wiggins' decision, the best basketball players at any age level are watching the other best basketball players. They've seen it work for LeBron James. They're seeing it work for Calipari. If Wiggins becomes a part of that and then becomes one of four or five lottery picks in June 2014 after winning a national title at Kentucky, well, good luck to everyone else.
This isn't to say Wiggins is certainly going to Kentucky. His parents went to Florida State, and they're reportedly en route from their Toronto-area home to Huntington, W.Va., where their son is finishing high school. Xavier Rathan-Mayes, a fellow Canadian and Wiggins' point guard at Huntington Prep, is also headed to Florida State.
Wiggins going to Tallahassee would be adding a superstar to a less than superteam; it would make a strong ACC stronger, too, and certainly more high-profile. Wiggins isn't the type of kid who craves attention, but he's going to bring a bunch of it to wherever he goes. Kansas and North Carolina already have a slate full of big TV games. What's bigger is that this year's Kentucky class already has more top-10 recruits than North Carolina has landed in the last five years.
Wiggins is the No. 1 recruit for a reason. A lot of them, actually. And if he joins five other top 10 recruits who undoubtedly have been recruiting him hard on the all-star game circuit, the Wildcats will have an all-star team that commands all-star attention.
It might take an all-star team to beat them, too. And future recruits just might build accordingly.