I could couch this any number of ways. Andrew Wiggins is different than the rest. His camp doesn’t talk – because he doesn’t have a camp. He has a family. And they’re treating this decision accordingly. When Andrew, or his family, decides that it’s time for people to know how he’s leaning, then they’ll let us know.
But that makes him special in another way. He doesn’t need the same things a lot of other recruits need. He doesn’t need ‘Kentucky’ or ‘Kansas’ or ‘North Carolina’ on his jersey. He might pick Kentucky. He might pick North Carolina. He might pick Kansas. But he doesn’t need them. With many other recruits it’s a race to the top. Having an elite name on the front of their jersey is as important a part of the decision as what is best for their personal and professional development. But Wiggins is different. With three basketball blue bloods on the trail, Andrew Wiggins could choose Florida State and it wouldn’t really surprise anyone. The storyline would be that he’s following in his mother and father’s footsteps – and in a sense he would be – but all the family connection did was open the door for Coach Hamilton and staff. The rest was on them.
The other way to couch this is by acknowledging the reality of recruiting. Recruiting is dirty. Things happen. Rumors will surround this recruitment as much as they do the rest. But they’re just rumors.
And I’m not ignoring these things. I’m just choosing to set them aside. I’m just picking the school I feel has the best chance, and not worrying about all of that other stuff.
This is prediction in the truest sense. Yes, I’ve exhausted my resources trying to gain insight, but no, I don’t have any real knowledge of what he’s thinking. This is a guess, albeit an educated one. It’s a partially built puzzle.
The first school I’ll eliminate is Kansas. Even though it’s a great program coached by the person who I would take over any coach in the game, they got in too late. There are a lot of things pointing Wiggins to the other three schools, and not so much for the Jayhawks.
The second school I’ll eliminate is Kentucky. (And, to be completely transparent, it was almost two months ago that I stated that “I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t end up in the ACC.”) Kentucky is the place to be for elite recruits. It’s a flag on a hill. But that environment next year is going to be an absolute zoo. Wiggins is spending his season prepping for the NBA, and I’d find it very surprising if he wants to do it in that kind of an atmosphere.
Which leaves UNC and Florida State. The Tar Heels might be the best of both worlds. They’re the Kentucky without the craziness. They play in front of a packed house, have incredible facilities, and have a tradition as deep as any. Wiggins would walk past Michael Jordan’s jersey every day. I’m really tempted to convince myself that he’ll pull the trigger for Roy Williams and the Tar Heels. But I just can’t do it. And the reason is Leonard Hamilton. Wiggins trusts him. His family trusts him. NBA scouts trust him. Coaches don’t get many fan points for running exceptionally clean programs. They don’t earn fan points by benching star players for minor infractions. And these things don’t typically pay big dividends when it comes to recruiting either. Until now. This could be the perfect storm. Hamilton has spent a decade building the atmosphere. He’s spent five years selling it to Andrew Wiggins that it would be the perfect place for him to spend a year. In the end, I think he gets it done.