Thursday, April 18, 2013

Who Is The Favorite For Andrew Wiggins?

Andrew Wiggins may be the best high school prospect
since LeBron James and has four schools hoping he
chooses them
If you are a college basketball fan, you are probably aware that Andrew Wiggins is the top recruit in the 2013 class.  He may be the best high school player since LeBron James back in 2003.  Not only is he good, he still hasn't made up a college choice yet.  That fact has kept him one of the buzziest names on Twitter and a guy that has four fanbases sweating and fawning over.

The Final Four is (alphabetically) Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina.  And unlike most recruiting that goes on, there really is no read on this at all.  No leans, no educated guesses.  All there has been is speculation and cryptic reading into everything he says.  Still, there is one thing we can do:  guess.

Of the four, here is why I think he will and won't go to these programs and the percentage I have them truly in the running.  Again, we go in alphabetical order.

PRO:  Both his mother and father were athletes at FSU.  His high school teammate and friend is heading to Tallahassee.  Wiggins doesn't crave the limelight, so Florida State wouldn't be as big a spotlight as Kansas, Kentucky or Carolina.  He would be the definite star there and would have an offense that would feature him and his talents.  He'll put up big numbers.  Leonard Hamilton hasn't had the talent that North Carolina or Duke has had, but they have continuously been among the elite in the ACC.  He'd get to face prime competition in a league with North Carolina, Duke, Syracuse, Miami, Notre Dame, Pitt and Virginia in it.

CON:  Of the four schools, FSU is the nowhere near as elite.  The Noles not only didn't make the tournament like Kentucky, they weren't even close.  While FSU isn't as TV-friendly as the other schools, Wiggins would become a really big fish in a really small pond.  And while the Noles have been one of the better programs in the ACC, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh are joining the league and wins will be even tougher. 

COACH:  Hamilton has been an NBA coach and his defensive style fits Wiggins' game.  However, he easily has the worse credentials of the four with no Final Fours and no championships (he was an assistant on Kentucky's 1978 title team). 

CHANCE HE COMES:  26% - Just not as gifted a program as the others and the thinking is that if he went here it would be solely to please his parents

PRO:  Bill Self may be the best coach of the four.  In his visit to Allen Fieldhouse, Wiggins said he enjoyed the atmosphere there the best.  Kansas offers a big-time program that isn't in as big a fishbowl as Kentucky or North Carolina.  The Jayhawks went the furthest last year by advancing to the Sweet 16.  Self is 3-0 against Roy Williams in their current jobs and split NCAA title tilts with John Calipari. 

CON:  Wayne Selden is another big time recruit that Kansas has got and he plays the same position and game as Wiggins.  Kansas loses a lot from this year's Sweet 16 squad and would be starting fresh.  They have a nice crop of freshmen coming in, but Kentucky's is better.  While the Big 12 is a very good league, he may not feel he is getting the push that he has been looking for in his opponents. 

COACH:  As I said, Self may be the best actual coach of the bunch.  I told you his record against Roy Williams and John Calipari.  At their current schools, Self is the lone one to miss the NCAA Tournament.

CHANCE HE COMES:  18% - I think Kansas looks really good to Wiggins, but Selden being there and a roster overhaul may scare him away. 

PRO:   John Calipari can sell a ketchup popcicle to a woman in white gloves.  His short run at Kentucky has included sending guys exactly like Wiggins straight to the top of the NBA draft boards.  The incoming class may be the best in the history of college hoops.  They have commits from the top PG, SG, C and PF.  If Wiggins joins, they'd have a clean sweep and make them the odds-on favorite to cut down the nets in Dallas next year.  Wiggins wants to be able to win in his lone season in college.  Coach Cal's style fits Wiggins with the dribble drive as well as the attention to defense. 

CON:  Would the Wildcats roster be a bit crowded?  Not only did Calipari bring in a large, talented class but the heralded, but underacheiving class from last year has guys coming back.  He doesn't need Kentucky to get to the top of the draft.  Wiggins also shies away from attention which isn't a good thing to be in Kentucky.  His desire to compete against the best won't be quenched in the usually light SEC (his best competition would be in practices).  He may rather be the man instead of just one of the big time recruits. 

COACH:  Calipari's main selling point is that he gets these amazing amount of talents together and gets them to perform at a high level.  Sure, last year puts a dent in that, but the 2012 class doesn't have this kind of talent.  Calipari, like Hamilton, has NBA coaching experience.  Plus, Cal could have yet another No. 1 overall pick this season (Nerlens Noel) to join Derrick Rose, John Wall and Anthony Davis.

CHANCE HE COMES:  28% - Kentucky is hot right now, and the appeal of being part of the most legendary class in history and a shot at a title may pull him in.

PRO:  The Heels could have the top returning team among the four.  As of now, the Heels lose just two players of note and their best NBA prospects would be sticking around.  Not only is UNC the school of Michael Jordan (and Wiggins always wanted to be "like Mike") but it is the school of Vince Carter, the Raptors great and Wiggins is a Toronto fan.  Roy Williams' attacking running style would really showcase Wiggins and allow him to score a ton.  Also, he'd get to face his "rival" Jabari Parker, who is at Duke.  Plus, the competition would be tough with UNC's scheduled to play Duke twice, Kentucky, Syracuse and (most likely) Louisville as well as a top Big Ten team. 

CON:  The Heels have underacheived a bit of late.  They haven't reached a Final Four since 2009.  It isn't known if Reggie Bullock's move to the NBA will help or hurt the decision.  Wiggins "legacy" would be tough to acheive in an arena where dozens of jerseys already hang.

COACH:  Roy Williams is the lone Hall Of Fame coach of the lot.  He has as many NCAA Championships as a head coach as the rest of the group combined.  He has more Final Four appearances as the other coaches do ... combined.  He also is known as the guy who got Michael Jordan to Chapel Hill.

CHANCE HE COMES:  28% - North Carolina has been  darkhorse in this race.  They return the best roster of the four schools and have less of the unknown as the other schools.

These odds change basically every day.  Or with every interview done.  Or every rumor.  Take it as just one person's guess to this entire courtship. 

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