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Relationship with Bill Self likely biggest reason that Wiggins opted for Kansas over Kentucky

By LARRY VAUGHT

Over a month ago Huntington (W.Va.) Prep sophomore point guard Nevell  Provo said that teammate Andrew Wiggins had Kansas No. 1 on his recruiting list. That came as a bit of a shock because the logic was that Kentucky and Florida State were the leaders for the nation’s top high school prospect. However, Provo’s proclamation came true Tuesday when the 6-8 Wiggins announced he was going to Kansas and not UK, Florida State or North Carolina.

So why Kansas? Provo said at the time Wiggins had listed the pros and cons of each team on his recruiting list and Kansas was the clear winner. Norrie (Clevenger) Price, a Mercer County native and the host mother for Provo and Huntington teammate Montaque Gill-Ceasar, thinks it might have had more to do with Kansas coach Bill Self and his similarities to Huntington coach Rob Fulford.

“I think he absolutely loved Bill Self. I think if (UK commit) Julius Randle had gone there, there’s no question he would have been at Kansas. He really liked Julius Randle,” said Price after attending Wiggins’ announcement. “Honestly, I believe there was ongoing discussions as late as last night with his parents. He seemed very relieved and happy, so I am happy with him.

“I know he loved Self from prior conversations he had with my husband. My husband loves him (Self), too. His host mom said Bill Self was more like Rob than (Kentucky coach) John Calipari and that is how Andrew is. He is not a flashy kid. He is not about pomp and circumstance. He’s just a humble kid.”

While Price said his decision is likely a major surprise to most picking UK or Florida State to land Wiggins, she says those close to Huntington Prep were not stunned.

“I think those that were not close to the program did not know how much he liked Bill Self,” she said. “I would not have predicted Kansas because no one really had an idea, but it’s not a big surprise to me. I think the longer things went on, it probably hurt Kentucky. A year ago, it was Kentucky and Florida State. The more players Kentucky signed and then going through the all-star games, I just think too many things stacked up against Kentucky in the long run. I think if he had made a decision early, it would have been Kentucky. By waiting, he changed his mind.”

Some are speculating that Wiggins might not have had a warm and fuzzy relationship with twin guard Aaron and Andrew Harrison, two of UK’s six signees he played with in various all-star games. Fulford also coached the twins in the Jordan Brand Classic.

“I don’t think he really knew Harrison twins. I think playing in all-star games with them probably clarified things for him about them when he had a chance to be around them,” Price said. “But the biggest thing, I think, is just that he felt comfortable with Bill Self.”

That’s the same reasoning in part that led to Perry Ellis picking home-state Kansas over UK last year. And it obviously didn’t hurt Kansas that Wiggins’ brother plays at nearby Wichita State.

Kentucky won’t play Kansas, a team that lost all five starters, next season — unless it would be in the NCAA tourney. However, Kansas will play Duke in the opening game of the Champions Classic Nov. 12 in Chicago followed by UK-Michigan State. That could be a Final Four preview and will showcase a plethora of freshman stars.

And don’t believe anything about Wiggins not coming to UK because he didn’t want to attend summer school. He’s planning to spend a month in the Czech Republic playing with the Canadian national team this summer and that’s why he won’t be in summer school with his future Kansas teammates.

“I just know he’s relieved to have this all behind him and had a hard time making this decision,” Price said. “But he really is a great kid and I hope everyone respects the decision he made.”

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/relationship-with-bill-self-likely-biggest-reason-that-wiggins-opted-for-kansas-over-kentucky/

42 comments

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  1. P90XDude

    I have already forgot about Wiggins

  2. Jim Boyers

    I have never liked Bill Self. I think there is just something so slimy and wrong about him. I can’t ever seem to put my finger on it, but he just really rubs me the wrong way. His track record of developing players is lightyears behind Cal, so that wasn’t the draw.

    I just hope that, if UK plays Kansas in the tourney, Bill doesn’t “run out of time” again. It would be a shame for him to lose to Cal twice on such a trivial technicality.

  3. Larry T Clemons

    Does the Kansas Program have any ” Issues ” that may effect the Team this Season >

  4. King Ghidora

    Just the lack of experience Larry T. I think there’s a good chance that early game with Duke will be a loss for Kansas because of the youth of the team.

    I don’t have major problems with Self but there was the Selby thing.

  5. Indiana Tom

    Sometimes things just are not meant to be. I wish this young man the best. The cats have enough players to win it all next year. Great time to be a cat fan!

  6. Larry Pup

    Kansas is a great program. Self is a great coach. Time will tell if Wiggins did or did not make the right choice. UK got it’s share of stars. Let’s see some action on the court come December. Besides, I’m to excited about UK football recruiting to worry about Wiggins.

  7. LindaS

    I said on my FB the #1 player wanted to be the ‘big show’ where he went and he could not do that at Kentucky. Guess he will be the whole show in Kansas, Dorthy left, Toto got old and went to doggie heaven. Tin Man rusted, Scarecrow got too close to his barbque grill and went up in smoke and the lion lost his courage, again.
    He is only going to be there one year but I don’t think he will be as well prepared for the NBA by going there. I do wish him luck and hope he has a tremendous NBA career.

  8. Jeff Trimble

    I think the idea of playing in the same state as his brother made it an easy trip for the parents when visiting to watch both their sons. this may have turned out to be a big plus for Kansas. Kansas should have a good starting five but their bench will be way short of Kentucky’s.

  9. donv

    Wanted him to go to Florida State if not Kentucky. The only thing that Kansas will be missing next year will be a point guard. Ellis was coming on at the end of last year and the center and two guard that played in the all star games were both 5 star players. Kansas will be good next year.

  10. UKFAN197TONE

    How many players did UK sign that were #1 at their positions?

    Another note to add, concerning Wiggins to ku, it’s one less player that will have to be replaced after the draft.

  11. Paul

    Congrats to the kid tough decision for him…My opinion is that he probably would not have fit in well chemistry wise at UK plus Young and Poythress will be just fine…Also not sure his host parents really liked UK and when you probably hear that day in and day out well….Best of luck to him but I think Randle could be #1 in NBA draft next year, because he will lead UK to #9 Kansas maybe final 16 team….

  12. Kokamo Joe

    Let us assume that our recruits and Wiggins are all or more than advertised. If that is the case, the UK will win most of the preconference games and dominate the SEC. They will be a threat to win it all, and they will most likely beat UL in Rupp on December 28th. IMO with Wiggins UK would have been a lock to reach those goals. Without him, UK will be very good, but winning it all will be more of a challenge and UL as well as a group of teams including Kansas may be a challenge.

    Much depends on the actual skill of our incoming kids (and not the hype) and if Calipari can motivate and mold these recruits and returning players into what we hope they will become.

  13. Kokamo Joe

    Re: Prepared for the NBA. Wiggins, and the majority of our recruits will go to the NBA regardless of where they went to school. College for these super recruits is just a brief, but required stop on the road to their dream. Wiggins will get the same love from the Kansas fans that he would have gotten in Lexington and attention will shift away from him, and our super stars just as soon as the 2014 class arrives.

  14. coldspringmike

    Right on Kokamo, after 30 or so college games these kids will move on and we welcome 8 or 9 new ones and start ranking classes again. Not disappointed with not signing Wiggins, one cannot beat five in my opinion.

  15. JV

    Is this the lady who could be heard saying “I’m just glad it wasn’t Kentucky”?

    1. larryvaught

      No, JV. Norrie is a die-hard UK fan.Father played at UK

  16. ukbutthurt

    lots of butthurt UK fans, LMAO, even at the highest of winning for you guys, its never close to what we got at KU. SORRY LOSERS!!!!

  17. ukbutthurt

    lots of butthurt UK fans, LMAO, even at the highest of highs for you guys, its never close to what we get to experience in lawrence, ks every game night!!!

  18. Larry T Clemons

    I don’t read disappointment or discouragement from BBN ( UK FANS )…And as far as what you do in Ks every game night that cause you to have butthurt, well you should keep that personal…we have a family site here,,,be polite and enjoy your new recruit… Enjoy your special experience…

  19. Larry T Clemons

    Sorry LV, feel free to delete above.

  20. UKFAN197TONE

    First time using the internet?

  21. Knows All

    The clear difference was Coach Self. Calm, consistent, and firm. Shall we mention Callapari’s vacating his last season at Memphis? Yes, lets do. You have to count your fingers after shaking Callapari’s hand. The campus in Lawerence is beautiful and theres no place like Phog Allen Fieldhouse.

  22. Kokamo Joe

    Must we seek a reason why Wiggins spurned UK? I was positive that he could not resist the allure of Calipari and UK like many fans and I was arrogant in my belief that good news was coming with his announcement. I was wrong. There are other schools beside UK and there are other coaches beside Calipari. Could it be that Wiggins choose Kansas over Kentucky because he liked Kansas better?

    I find my self drifting toward the idea that our team will be invincible next year. But will it be? Last year we had a worse year than any that we suffered under either Smith or Gillispie. Can any of us remember a more humbling loss than that NIT loss to a no name team in a cracker box gym? We are depending on three members of that team and the man who coached that team to lead us to glory this year. Surely they will be very good, but good enough to go 40 and 0 or win the national championship? I say that it is time to step back and watch this team grow and count our chickens next March and not now.

    And of course, what is in the back of many of our minds. Will we be better than UL? They also have some very good newcomers and some veteran players. How do the teams compare? For instance, will our backcourt dominate theirs? They do have a couple of little guys to go against our 6-5 Harrison twins…but one is a third team All American and the other is the best junior college player in the land. It will be interesting.

  23. barry culver

    I think wiggins will do fine at kansas. Bill likes an under the radar pg on our team Mason. and move tharpe to 2 but tharpe showed some signs that he is a better PG than SG. so kansas should be fine. I think wiggins will make Brannen Greene better, Frankamp better and Joel Embid better.

  24. JonV

    Jayhawk Fan #1: “Oh no! Quick, KU Fans, we have to make fun of the most famous movie set in Kentucky!”

    Jayhawk Fan #2: “Oooh, Kentucky Fried Movie?”
    Jayhawk Fan #3: “No, I know, The People Vs. Larry Flint!”
    Jayhawk Fan #4: “What about Racing Stripes?”

    Jayhawk Fan #1: “Dammit, none of those movies are anywhere NEAR famous enough to work as a serviceable retort! Think harder!”

    Jayhawk Fan #2: “… hmm…”
    Jayhawk Fan #3: “… Slingblade?”
    Jayhawk Fan #4: “Arkansas.”
    Jayhawk Fan #2: “… Forrest Gump?”
    Jayhawk Fan #4: “Alabama.”
    Jayhawk Fan #3: “… I am Sam? Radio? The Other Sister? Rain Man?”
    Jayhawk Fan #4: “Not Kentucky.

    Jayhawk Fan #1: “Dude, all those movies are about people with mental handicaps.”

    Jayhawk Fans #2 and #3 (in unison): “Well… yeah.”

  25. UKFAN197TONE

    I like what you were saying there until 40-0 and the ul part. It’s never in my mind if UK is better than ul and this team will not go undefeated.

  26. Bert

    NIT

  27. Jay

    Player development does not mean hire the most talented player, throw them out on the floor for a season, then ship them off to the NBA with essentially no skills improvement over what they arrived with. That’s the Calipari method. Take a look at how Bill Self’s players have improved. That’s player development. Also, Calipari – two vacated Final Fours and a vacated season. Really classy guy, huh? Nothing like that for Self. Plus, Self has the best win/loss record in all of Division 1 over the past 10 years.

  28. Jay

    The “Selby thing” is misunderstood. Selby talks about it in the book, Beyond the Phog. He points out he was not allowed to practice or play until several (was it 9?) games into the season. His first game he scored 21 and then was injured. The doctors all told him to take the season off to rehab. Bill Self “begged him,” according to Selby, to sit it out and rehab. But Selby says he knew he was a one and done and needed to showcase his skills and thus would not sit it out. Big mistake on his part but people should not blame Bill Self for this, especially when they don’t have a clue to what actually took place. It’s in that book, in Selby’s words. Go take a look.

  29. UKFAN197TONE

    Biased much? You honestly think Calipari has no skills in player development? One name for ya genius…ANTHONY DAVIS. Name ONE player that has his resume, after only ONE YEAR in college, I’ll wait. Before you TRY and find that guy, answer this question: Who thought AD was going to do all that he did that year? (Not counting how he dominated ku in the CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, without scoring in double figures)

  30. Larry T Clemons

    Kentucky Fan realist…..” ALI, THE GREATEST ! “

  31. Larry Pup

    I denote a sense of deep jealousy on you’re part Jay. Cal is No. 1, in recruiting, player development, and has a player’s first mentality. He is poised to coach another great team. UK is poised to potentially hang No. 9. What is your team poised to do Jay?

  32. Ben

    A UK fan that thinks Self is “slimy” but worships the ground that Calipari walks on. Imagine that. I bet you showered Calipari with compliments while he was at Memphis vacating Final Four appearances, too.

  33. KU Fan

    I really can’t say I agree with you about how Cal is such a great developer of talent. He does a trememdous job of showing his players abilities and talent . However These top recruits would go to the NBA no matter where they would attend school.They also have the most potential to make it in theNBA, and we all know how that plays with NBA, they are the first chosen. As far as why he picked KU over UK. No. 1 He liked BillSelf the best! No.2. He doesn’t like all the media hype and all that goes with it. No 3 He was impressed with all the love and respect KU fans showed for the players on senoir night.

  34. Larry T Clemons

    I like Coach Self and I’m happy he got Wiggins over N. Carolina….But be real Jay…Coach Cal, has set a new standard for other Coaches to learn from…

  35. KUfan

    As I see it KU has 2 #1’s and Kentucky has 3 #1’s in their position. And KU has the #2 shooting guard.

    #1 SF Wiggins
    #1 C Joel Embiid
    #1 PF Julius Randle
    #1 PG Andrew Harrison
    #1 SG Aaron Harrision
    #2 Wayne Selden
    #2 C Darki Johnson

  36. MTCAT

    I’m not sure but I think he was referring to this:

    The Courier-Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach caught up with Lesley Thomas, Andrew Wiggins’ house mom, to discuss the status of Wiggins’ recruitment and she told him Marita Wiggins will come down to Huntington “within the next week or so” for the announcement. Thomas, who also took Gorgui Dieng under her wing when he played at Prep, added that she would like to see Wiggins go to Louisville.

  37. MTCAT

    I was referring to Larry’s reply to JV above. I thought I was replying to his post.

  38. Kokamo Joe

    IMO Calipari’s greatest skill are recruiting. He has created the impression that when the best of the best come to UK that they will stay a minimum of time and then move on to the NBA and big bucks. He has connections to big time help with people like World Wide Wes, professionals like James, and numerous rock stars to all to his allure.

    His players come to him bathed in talent. He does not keep them long enough to really develop them and because of the revolving door of top talent he has not and probably will not take kids with less than superior talent and develop them into very good college players over four years. He simply does not have to do that.

    At this time next year we will have had a mass exodus of this year’s talent, our two Kentucky boys will have decided to hang around and enjoy the bench or they will have decided to transfer and we shall be talking about our new freshmen and counting on another deep run in the NCAA tournament and maybe an undefeated season.

  39. Kokamo Joe

    I agree that Calipari is by far the greatest recruiter in the game today, and maybe for all time. I don’t think that he is great in player development simply because he keeps players such a short time. I see a coach like the young man at Butler as a player developer. He takes players that Calipari would never glace at and turns them into very good college players. Note the word college. Calipari’s players are professionally talented players. There is a huge difference.

    Calipari does push the player’s first impression. If that means moving them on as soon as possible I agree.

  40. KUWHO

    umm i dont see anyone crying here your team will suffer without a elite point guard your butt must be hurting from the 2012 title game its not like we needed wiggins UK is stacked 9-10 deep

  41. KUWHO

    embiid is over ranked by espn very raw johnson has a more polished game and is the #1 C per rivals

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