Top 2014 basketball recruit, Andrew Wiggins, might be joining the Jayhawks next season
By Nick Ratliff
Welcome to the Recruiting Trail, where there always seems to be big and exciting news surrounding the Kansas men’s basketball program. Bill Self has already pulled in one of the best recruiting classes he has ever assembled for the 2013-14 season, but news has broken this week that could make it one of the greatest in recent memory, anywhere. Let’s get to the big news.
For a couple of months, one of the biggest questions in basketball recruiting has been whether guard/forward Andrew Wiggins from Huntington Prep in Huntington, West Virginia would reclassify from the class of 2014 to the class of 2013. That news was answered on Thursday, as the former #1 player in the 2014 class immediately became the #1 player in the class of ’13.
Wiggins, who is originally from Ontario, Canada, is widely regarded as the best high school player in the nation for any grade level. So, you might ask, how does this have anything to do with Kansas?
The other giant news that came out this week, even before Wiggins reclassified, was that Wiggins and his camp personally contacted the University of North Carolina and Kansas to tell them to get involved in Wiggins’ recruitment. Previously, it was believed that Wiggins’ recruitment was a two horse race, between Kentucky and Florida State. Kentucky has always been the perceived leader, with John Calipari already having pulled in the top recruiting class in the country. If Calipari and Big Blue pull in Wiggins, next year’s class will hands down be the greatest recruiting class ever assembled.
There are rumors out there, however, that if Wiggins were to reclassify to the 2013 class, which we now know he has, that he would probably not go to Kentucky. The thinking on this is that Wiggins would want to be “the guy” wherever he goes, and with so much talent around him potentially at Kentucky, he would run the risk of not being “the guy”. The other major player in Wiggins’ recruitment is the Florida State Seminoles. Florida State may come as a surprise to people, as they aren’t a basketball powerhouse, but looking deeper it is not a big surprise.
Wiggins’ father, Mitchell, a former NBA player, played his college ball at FSU. Also, the Seminoles already have a commitment from top 25 recruit Xavier Rathan-Mayes, a lifelong friend of Wiggins’. Rathan-Mayes’ father, another former NBA player, played with Mitchell Wiggins at FSU and the families have remained friends through the years. Not much is known of UNC and Kansas’ chances at this point because they just got involved. However, UNC coach Roy Williams and KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend both visited Huntington Prep this week. As the weeks go on, we will get a better feel on those two schools’ chances in the “Wiggins Sweepstakes”.
Finally, some noise on the football recruiting front. Kansas and Coach Charlie Weis will be getting a visit from two highly coveted junior college prospects on the weekend of November 17th. Cornerback Kevin Short from Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kansas, and running back Mario Alford from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Georgia have both been getting considerable attention from many top college programs across the country. Kansas, despite their poor record this season, appears to be in the mix for both. Short, who recently set the career record for interceptions at Fort Scott, has reportedly received attention from the likes of Houston, Mississippi State, Texas Tech and LSU, along with KU. Alford has received attention from Ole Miss, Texas Tech, Arizona, Cincinnati and Georgia along with the Jayhawks. Kansas will have to battle it out with some good programs for these two players, and a good visit can put them in the driver’s seat.
That’s it for the Recruiting Trail this week. Check back in next week for the latest recruiting news involving KU athletics.