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Andrew Wiggins won Gatorade National Player of Year for lot of reasons; USA Today writer could understand scenario with Wiggins going to UK

Andrew Wiggins, of Huntington St. Joseph‘s Prep. holds the trophy during a press conference after being named the 2012-13 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2013 in Huntington, W.V. Wiggins was surprised with the news by former NBA Champion Alonzo Mourning who earned Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors in 1987-88. Photo/Gatorade, Susan Goldman

Andrew Wiggins, of Huntington St. Joseph‘s Prep. holds the trophy during a press conference after being named the 2012-13 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2013 in Huntington, W.V. Wiggins was surprised with the news by former NBA Champion Alonzo Mourning who earned Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors in 1987-88. Photo/Gatorade, Susan Goldman


There was not one specific reason that Huntington (W.Va.) Prep standout Andrew Wiggins was named the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Instead, Chad Konecky of USA Today says a variety of reasons made it easy for Gatorade to choose him over other talented players this season.

“To get on the radar for this award, it takes athletic ability and performance. To stay on the radar it takes the rest of the resume including academics and character. Then in the end it comes back to athletics,” said Konecky after watching former NBA star Alonzo Mourning — a former Gatorade national winner — surprise Wiggins with the award at school Wednesday.

Konecky says production and impact on the current season are the biggest criteria for picking the national winner. Wiggins is considered the nation’s top recruit and had already won the Naismith Award as the nation’s top player.

“For a guy to play that schedule that Huntington Prep does, which is arguably the toughest in the nation, and lead them to 30 wins, average a double-double on a team with other guys who could produce and do it in about 25 minutes per game was remarkable,” Konecky said. “He has 22 double-doubles. He shot 58 percent inside the 3-point arc. He was always arguably the best defender on the floor. He has great basketball IQ and court vision.

“Take all those things and from an athletic perspective, he had a hell of a year. Throw on top of that he is a B+ student and gives back to his adopted community and they embrace him the way they do and he was an impressive winner.”

Not much surprises or rattles Wiggins, who has no date set to announce whether he’ll play his college basketball at Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas or Florida State. However, Konecky said when Mourning came into Wiggins’ history class, he was startled.

“He is soft spoken and very understated, but you could tell he was excited,” Konecky said. “He doesn’t say a lot, but you could tell this award stood out to him because of everything it takes to win it. He said it was also very big for Canada. He had that sense that being the first Canadian native to win this award was special and he knows how big a moment today was.”

Not big enough, though, to let anything slip about recruiting and whether he would join what is already considered the all-time best recruiting class at Kentucky and give coach John Calipari seven McDonald’s All-Americans in one recruiting class.  He led his team in points, rebounds and steals, averaging 23.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game this season.

“He continues to be relentless with the answer that he is undecided about college,” Konecky said. “But we are getting close to knowing.”

The USA Today writer says he was “leery” of trying to project how good Wiggins — who is already No. 1 on 2014 NBA mock draft lists — might be in college.

“What stands out most to me is that when he decides to go to the basket from 15 feet away or in transition when he gets a step, I have not seen anyone stop him. That will serve him well in the NCAA,” Konecky said. “When you combine his skill set with his sense for the moment and tremendous intensity and desire to win, I would not be surprised if we were not talking about him as much next March as we are Florida Gulf Coast now. He is that gifted.”

Florida Gulf Coast is the No. 15 seed that stunned Georgetown and is now in the Sweet 16. However, put Wiggins at Kentucky and the Cats become an overwhelming favorite to win the 2014 title because they’ll have the No. 1 recruit at every position and the top overall player in Wiggins, a small forward with versatility.

Given that Wiggins seems a cinch to spend just one year in college, winning a championship has to be a priority. Also having a chance to practice against the most talented players daily for one year could help prepare him for his NBA career. Could that not favor UK?

“Kentucky certainly has tremendous appeal, and that is speaking personally, not for Gatorade or USA Today,” Konecky said. “You can find a lot of reasons he could end up there. When you do get him in a moment where he lets his guard down a little bit to the extent he does, he is really composed and articulate. If a compose, thoughtful, articulate guy is surveying his future options, you can certainly make a strong case that Kentucky is where he’ll be next season.”

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  1. Juan4UK

    Certainly one of the hardest kids to read. Every 2 or 3 yrs. there comes a kid that is so close to the vest it is impossible to read. It seems we will not know until he announces it. I wonder if, some of the reason he backed away from UK was Fulford speaking so often as pro UK. I think, that may have lost a little trust from Wiggins. Hopefully, Cal can bring him in.
    Don’t get me wrong, the class we have coming in is enough. But the lesson UK fans know all too well, is that it is best to have the most talent going into the tournament.
    While we have right now, the best class in history– Wiggins addition, probably puts it out of reach.

  2. Jim Boyers

    It is baffling how he is resisting signing with UK.

    UK offers the most national exposure, the only coach who will let him fully showcase his talents and the best (maybe ONLY) chance at a title.

    Just end this already. Sign up Andrew. Come here and win or go to one of those other schools and revel in mediocrity or be stifled by a coach’s “system”. You have all the facts and facts don’t lie.

    BBN is the place for you.

    1. Anonymous

      Like this year NIT, one game and out. Best players in the country and couldn’t win one game in the NIT. Says alot about one and dones.

      1. Karen Sprinkle

        Nope, IMO, says a lot about these players, not an indictment of one and done system.

        1. Larry Pup

          Hey Anonymous, the one and dones are always freshmen, remember that too. Not all of them may be one and done. Like maybe some come back and make the team that much more deep and dangerous. Like a few may on this team you are hitting on. Hide and watch.

      2. GeneT.

        Don’t be a hater from some loser school. One bad year when UK still wins 21 games. That is a bad year at the BBN, but we just win NC. Nine will be fine

    2. Alan

      Just like this year, ( show casing these kids at NIT). Most talented kids in the country and lost the first game at the NIT tournament. Really in the spot light.

  3. Prof. G

    If Wiggins doesn’t go to UK, he will be triple-teamed every time he touches the ball — which will make his teammates look good but probably be very frustrating for him. Plus, if he’s a guy who shies away from the spotlight, he won’t get much chance if he becomes Michael Jackson playing with a team full of Titos. At UK he can be just one of the voices in a world-class choir. Think about it, Andrew.

    1. King Ghidora

      A team full of Titos? That’s a classic Prof. I’ll have to write that one down. :D

    2. King Ghidora

      If Wiggins comes to UK we are going to witness the best team in college basketball history. There only problem will be deciding which 5 star players don’t start. Well there’s that whole 13 scholarships thing.

      What was Alan saying about the one and done system? If UK wins a national title one year and gets the best team in history another but loses the first game of the NIT in a third year and they do that every time for the rest of my life they will roll up the floors in most arenas because UK will own the sport completely. How anyone could imagine what Cal is doing is not fantastic is just beyond me. It will dwarf anything anyone has ever done before including that Weasel Of Westwood, John Woodem.

  4. Mack

    Another website is reporting Coach is in Huntington today for a meeting with Wiggins. Know anything about this report.

    1. larryvaught

      Cal met with Hawkins two days ago, watched Anthony Davis play last night and met with Wiggins today

      1. Anonymous

        Since the Michigan recruiting class that everyone still claims is the best of all time is know as the “Fab Five”, is there any doubt that if Wiggins joins this class they would be known as the “Magnificent Seven”, at least by those of us who can remember the movie? Seven McDonalds All-Americans is unheard of!

        1. King Ghidora

          Te Fab Five was a UK class from the late 1940’s. They won an NIT title (the national championship tournament of the day), 2 NCAA titles back to back, and an Olympic gold medal. Michigan stole the name from UK and they did not win anything.

          This is a UK fan site I believe. Please try to learn about the history of the program before the media steals the thunder of everything the Cats have done.

  5. David

    Wiggins will be the Cherry on top of the cake if he chooses Kentucky. Wow what a class we have now and to add him would be more than anyone could have imagined.

    Work your magic Cal and sway him into the fold.

  6. Larry Pup

    Just a great player. I sure would like to see him in the blue and white. Sounds like a great young man too. It is up to him..


    I hope he picks UK but wish him the very best if not.

  8. Zo

    Simple Mr Wiggins.You play 25 mins.and do what you do.Come here and do what you do in 20 with all-stars and get better.Seems like a cat like yourself would want to be challenged and prepared for the next level.+NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP!You can blend in with no pressure and play off one anothers strengths and weaknesses.Dont think u’ll get championship at other schools next year?

  9. lunchbox

    if wiggens goes to uk its gonna be sumthin people we be talkin about 20 years from now….they could be the best team ever

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