ACC Basketball

Bloggers Fighting Over Andrew Wiggins


Everyone loves a good blogger war, right?

Anthony Lenahan at Rant Sports wrote an article titled, “North Carolina Is Best Fit For Top Recruit Andrew Wiggins.” Soon after, Glenn Logan from SB Nation responded. It’s Carolina vs. Kentucky, Rant Sport vs. SB Nation…let’s get it on!

Actually, it’s not really a war, just a friendly chat. So let’s check out those arguments.

Lehahan’s pro-Carolina argument is basically

  • UNC has a rich basketball tradition that Wiggins might want to be a part of.
  • Since Reggie Bullock left school early, Wiggins will get a ton of minutes
  • Playing along side James McMichael McAdoo and P.J. Hairston, he will be competing for a title (unlike Florida State and Kansas)

All three points are accurate. While Wiggins could also win a championship at Kentucky, wouldn’t it be more fun for the kid if he won the championship with the Tar Heels, thus single handily defeating Kentucky, the greatest recruiting class ever? Maybe.

However, if I could play devil’s advocate on one point. Lehahan is right that there is no one on Carolina’s team that can steal minutes from Wiggins, but where exactly does Wiggins want to play those minutes? Does he want to be a shooting guard¬† in college or a small forward or maybe a stretch four? Last year, North Carolina really struggled with a traditional lineup, but when they went small (McAadoo to the five-spot, Hairston to the four), they were a much better team. What are Roy Williams’ plans this year? Will he go big again and try to start Joel James or Desmond Hubert? If so, then that might work out great for Wiggins. McAdoo goes back to his more natural four spot, Wiggins is at the three spot, while Hairston is stuck back in the two spot (with McDonald coming off the bench).

However, if the big boys again struggle in the paint, does Williams go small? Where does Wiggins fit? He’s bigger than Hairston, so he’d be a better fit at the four. Does he want that? I don’t know.

Anyhow, as for Kentucky, Logan’s response was:

  • Wiggins can compete with a truly historic class
  • Kentucky has best shot to win national title
  • If you want to be drafted high, then Caliapri is your coach.
  • Wiggins draft status will be noneffective by his minutes.
  • Wiggins will have better competition in practice

All excellent points. Although point four really cancels out point three. Andrew Wiggins could go play at Kentucky Western and still be the number one draft choice, right?

I think points two and five are the best. For a kid like Wiggins, who is basically just waiting a year to begin a career, winning a national championship is important (it would be for me). Is Kentucky the favorite? Probably, but I don’t know. If last year taught me anything, you can’t just hand championship trophies to a group of freshman in the preseason. Obviously the 2013-14 Kentucky Wildcats will be a lot better than last year’s group, but I warn you, there is a large gap between N.I.T first-round loser and a national championship, so be humble.

As for the fifth point, Kentucky’s squad is going to have an All-Star feel to it, there has to be an appeal to practicing day in and day out with a ton of players who will be drafted in next year’s NBA draft. That really could make any player better and it’s not like Wiggins can’t improve. The kid certainly could improve his ball handling and I wouldn’t call his outside touch perfect.

I think my argument against Kentucky comes in two parts. First, I hated the way Calipari behaved last year. I didn’t see a great coach. I saw a guy use to getting great players and when it came time to actually coach them, teach them, Calipari failed. Maybe if Noels doesn’t get hurt, that’s a moot point, but I just never saw that team improving throughout the season last year.

Second, and this is a strike against both Kentucky and North Carolina, players these days, they DO want to leave their mark. They do want to be special and that even includes unselfish players like Andrew Wiggins. Yes, if Wiggins can win a title with either Kentucky or North Carolina that would be special. However, if he won a title with Florida State, now that would be historic.

In the end, I have no clue where Wiggins is going. I actually have concerns about how long this is taking. The kid is going to be the top-pick no matter where he plays next year, so why is this being dragged out so long? It’s not like he’s making a four-year decision. I’m assuming he’s just waiting for the dust to settle in college basketball and player’s declaring. If this goes beyond May, then I would start to have serious concerns about his mentality and maturity.

Obviously, I have no clue. His brother says he shouldn’t go to Kentucky, but Wiggins did cancel his final in-house visits with FSU, Kanas and UNC. This means John Calipari was the last coach to be at his home. I refuse to ever underestimate how good of a recruiter Calipari is. If I was a head coach and I know John Calipari was the last coach to talk to the player I wanted, I’d be worried. However, I’m putting my money on…FLORIDA STATE.

My reasons are:

  • Less Pressure. The fact is, Wiggins’ game may remind many of LeBron’s game, but unlike LeBron, he doesn’t appear to crave the spotlight, the kind he would have shined on him at Kentucky or even North Carolina. With less expectations comes a stress-free environment.
  • Possible title run. Sure, the Noles wouldn’t be the favorite, even with Wiggins, but playing along side four seniors will certainly allow them to make a run (think Carmelo Anthony’s title run at Syracuse).
  • Historic title run. If Wiggins wins a title at Kentucky, North Carolina or Kansas, it would be just one of many. At Florida State, it would history.
  • Family matters. Both his parents went to and still adore the school.
  • Friendship matters. Xavier Rathan-Mayes (8th rated SG coming in) is headed to FSU this year and from what I’ve read, he and Wiggins are best friends.

All those reasons make me feel that Florida State is the slight favorite. I would put Kentucky second, Kansas third and North Carolina last.

For the record, even Kansas is getting into the conversation, but let’s be honest, no one likes Kansas.



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