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By LARRY VAUGHT
As the clock winds down on decision time for Andrew Wiggins, the national trend seems to be that he will go to Florida State — and not more traditional powers Kentucky, North Carolina or Kansas. Both his parents went to Florida State and any Kentucky basketball fan should know that Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton is a relentless recruiter.
The insiders at CBSSports.com all favor Florida State. Blogger Jeff Borzello picked Florida State because “the Seminoles have been involved with him the longest time, and the family connection is a huge advantage for Leonard Hamilton. Wiggins isn’t a fan of overwhelming media attention, and he would be able to avoid that somewhat in Tallahassee. Moreover, he would get to be the go-to-guy from Day 1.”
Jeff Goodman said not to count out Kansas, but went with Florida State. So did Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander. Parrish reasoned “that Wiggins won’t really have to share the ball in Tallahassee” as his reason for picking the Seminoles.
The 6-8 Wiggins is the nation’s No. 1 high school prospect. His announcement ceremony will have only friends, family and classmates at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep along with one media member. But word will spread quickly about where the winner of the Naismith, USA Today and Gatorade National Player of the Year awards picks because he is already being touted as the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft — and maybe even the preseason college player of the year.
I’ve got to watch Wiggins several times the last two years. He’s terrific. He could be a playmaking small forward and has incredible skills. He’s also a private youngster who has not let the national spotlight change him on or off the court.
That’s why I hope no matter which school he picks — and I am sticking with Kentucky because of coach John Calipari’s track record with elite players — he deserves to be respected by all. Surely no one will bash Wiggins, who obviously has been torn trying to make this decision, for his choice.
He’s never misled anyone. He’s not made any brash predictions. He’s never played one coach against another. He’s been great with an overflow of media attention and he’s been even better with fans who have flocked to watch him play and then wanted autographs or pictures.
So respect his decision because I admire the way he’s handled his recruitment, including having a small, private announcement ceremony instead of a national TV gala that he easily could have demanded.