The college basketball world went into a frenzy today when number one overall prospect Andrew Wiggins committed to the University of Kansas. Here’s what you need to know about one of the most talented young athletes in world of basketball.
1. Wiggins Grew Up In An Athlete Family
Wiggins grew up in a family that was filled with athletes. Wiggins’ father is Mitchell Wiggins, a former NBA star, and Canadian Olympic track-and-field sprinter Marita Payne-Wiggins. Older Brother Nicky plays basketball at Wichita State, and another brother, Mitchell Jr., plays at Southeastern University. With such a pedigree, Andrew Wiggins was groomed from a young age to be a star athlete.
2. He is Canadian
Interestingly, Wiggins is Canadian born. He was originially from Toronto, Ontario, but raised in Thornhill. He’s currently a senior at Huntington Prep in Huntington, West Virginia. Huntington Prep may have one of the best high school basketball programs in the country. A number of ex-athletes have gone on to have successful careers in the NCAA, but Wiggins is probably the brightest spot on the current roster.
3. He Won the Naismith Player of the Year Award
Wiggins has a number of accomplishment, but his biggest achievement was snagging the Naismith Player of the Year award earlier this year. He also won Gatorade’s National Player of the Year award, given to the best high school basketball player in the US.
4. Wiggins Led Canada To A Bronze Medal
Wiggins already has played in a few international tournaments (he’s only 18 years old). He played in both the 2010 FIBA Under-17 World Championships and the 2012 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championships, where he led Canada to a bronze medal. Quite an achievement considering Canada’s not know for their basketball team.
5. Wiggins Has Size
What makes Wiggins so talented? Well his size doesn’t hurt. He’s 6’8″ (the same size as Kobe Bryant), lanky like Kevin Durant, but still very athletic. As you can see by his highlight reel, Wiggins can dunk…really well. ESPN’s Myron Medclaf said “He’s a member of that LeBron James genetic pool. The players whom competitors can’t simply overcome with hard work alone. They’re gifted. Unique.”
6. And The Skills Too
Some players have size but nothing else. Not Wiggins; he can the talent and work ethic to become a top-notch NBA player. In his senior year at Huntington Prep, he averaged 23 points, 11 rebounds, and shot 58 percent from the field. Not bad for someone who couldn’t even vote in the 2013 Presidential Elections.
7. He Plays Solid Defense
Another unique quality is his defensive prowess. Similar to Lebron James, Wiggins has honed his defensive game while continuing to work on his offense as well. Business Insider writes:
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress wrote a glowing write up of Wiggins’ defense, “Defensively, Wiggins has all the tools to be a game-changing presence, with his terrific size, length, frame and quickness.”
8. He Still Needs To Work On His Game
Still, like any young athlete, he still has a lot of work to do. BI writes that his ball-handling is still subpar and his jump-shot is still inconsistent. Also, there were instances where he kind of mailed it in when playing against weaker opponents. But, he’s also 18, and can work on those skill at the University of Kansas next season.
9.He’s the Presumed Number One Pick In The NBA Draft Next Year
ESPN’s Chad Ford is probably the leading expert on scouting college basketball talent. He’s so good that NBA teams even listen to him. Ford speaks extremely highly of Wiggins; he says that he would have been picked number 1 this year if he were eligible, and would have been picked higher than NBA stars Derrick Rose (who’s won an MVP award), Blake Griffin, and Kyrie Irving — all former number 1 picks.
10. He’s Been Compared To Some Huge NBA Stars
Ford also said that the only players that Wiggins can be compared to is Lebron James and Kevin Durant — arguably the top two players in the NBA. Business Insider agrees, saying, “There are typically two types of NBA prospects — guys with raw athletic ability but limited skill, and guys with lots of skill but limited talent. Like Durant and James before him, Wiggins has shown that he has both, and the basketball world is enamored.”