HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Top prep basketball prospect Andrew Wiggins told a small gathering of family and friends at his high school gym yesterday that he will play at Kansas.
Then the Huntington Prep star signed his letter-of-intent and officially became a Jayhawk. No big speech. No bands, live TV coverage or props.
Just the way the Wiggins wanted it.
And just like that, Lawrence, Kan., became more of focal point for the upcoming college basketball season.
“I’m looking forward to getting there and just doing my thing,” Wiggins said.
The 6-foot-8 Toronto native chose Kansas over Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida State. Wiggins said there wasn’t one particular selling point, taking into account each school’s coaching staff, players and program.
“I just followed my heart,” he said.
His addition adds to one of the top recruiting classes in the country.
Despite the loss of Ben McLemore to the NBA draft, four of Kansas’ five recruits are considered to be in the top 50 nationally, including guards Conner Frankamp and Wayne Selden, forward Brannen Greene and center Joel Embiid.
Kentucky already had eight signees in what is considered to be its greatest recruiting class ever.
North Carolina’s recruiting class includes McDonald’s All-American big men Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks.
Then there’s Florida State, the only one of the four schools without an NCAA title.
Wiggins’ parents both attended Florida State, and the Seminoles had signed his Huntington Prep teammate and fellow Toronto native, Xavier Rathan-Mayes.
Wiggins’ father is former NBA first-round pick Mitchell Wiggins. His mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, was a Canadian Olympic sprinter and silver medalist. Older brother Nick plays guard at Wichita State and another brother, Mitchell Jr., plays at NAIA school Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla.
“Florida State was great for mom, it was great for dad,” Mitchell Wiggins said. But he recalled telling his son, “it’s your time. It’s not 20-30 years ago. And Florida State (would have been) a great choice.”