Growing up in a small town outside of Kinston, Mitchell Wiggins once dreamed of playing for Dean Smith and North Carolina. Now, about 30 years later, Wiggins son, considered the best high school basketball player in the class of 2013, has a chance his father only hoped for.
Andrew Wiggins, the 6-foot-7 forward at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, will announce Tuesday whether he will play at UNC, or at one of the three other schools hes considering. Florida State, Kansas and Kentucky are Wiggins other three finalists.
His decision will come at approximately 12:15 during a private ceremony at his school, according to Rob Fulford, Wiggins coach at Huntington Prep. Wiggins signing ceremony wont happen in front of cameras, or at a press conference.
Just classmates, family and friends, Fulford on Sunday night wrote on Twitter.
The understated ceremony isnt a surprise to those who know Wiggins, or to those who have followed his recruitment. He hasnt sought the glare of the spotlight, and has avoided media attention and interviews. As a result, Wiggins hasnt offered many clues or any clue, really about which school might be his favorite.
Ive gotten a real kick out of listening to people talk with authority on this subject, because over the course of the last few months Ive just kind of sat back and watched and was able to find out whos full of it and whos not, said Dave Telep, the ESPN.com national college basketball recruiting analyst. Because anybody who spoke on this with authority really had no idea what they were talking about.
Telep has closely covered Wiggins recruitment from the beginning, and even he admitted on Monday that he didnt have an idea about which school Wiggins might be favoring. Telep ranked Florida State, where Wiggins parents met, as the slight favorite followed by Kansas, UNC and Kentucky.
Speculation has had different schools leading for Wiggins at different points. Florida State, though, has appeared to emerge as the favorite in recent weeks. Mitchell Wiggins played basketball there in the early 1980s, back when the Seminoles competed in the Metro Conference.
Before his time at FSU, the elder Wiggins spent one season at Clemson. During his rookie season in the NBA, Mitchell Wiggins spoke of a game during his junior season at North Lenoir High, and how he had played well in front of Smith, who hadnt yet won the first of his two national championships at UNC.
Dean Smith came and saw me play and I think I had 38 points that night, Wiggins said in a newspaper story published in January of 1984. He never came down and saw me after the game. Later on I found out he didnt think I was good enough to play for him.
His son hasnt endured the same kind of snubs. Originally a member of the class of 2014, Andrew Wiggins, who grew up in Ontario, Canada, reclassified and immediately became one of the most sought-after prospects in the class of 2013.
An inordinate amount of hype has followed Wiggins, who has been lauded as one of the best prospects in years. Regardless of which school he selects, hes likely to enter his freshman season as a preseason All-American.
At Kentucky, he would join a recruiting class thats already considered to be among the best ever. At UNC and Kansas, Wiggins arrival could elevate those teams to national championship contenders. At Florida State, Wiggins might be able to play more of a leading role than anywhere else on his list.
Everybody has different uses for this guy next year, Telep said. At North Carolina, Kansas and Florida State, he kind of becomes their instant face of the program, for lack of a better term. At Kentucky, he becomes part of the most heavily-covered soap opera in maybe college basketball history next year.
Everybody has different uses and different impacts. The bottom line is guys like Andrew Wiggins dont walk onto your campus every year.
Wiggins decision will end a long wait. College basketballs spring signing period began on April 17, and it ends on Wednesday.
Part of the reason why Wiggins has delayed his decision, Telep said, is that Wiggins and members of his family might have had a difficult time reaching a consensus on his decision. Wiggins is also a people pleaser, Telep said, who hasnt been looking forward to saying no to college coaches.
I just dont think he wanted to ever have to make these calls (to say no), Telep said. And I think those few things have really driven why its taken so long.
Speculation has surrounded Wiggins throughout his recruitment. So have questions. Fulford, the Huntington Prep coach, had some fun with the spectacle of it all on Monday, when he changed his profile picture on Facebook to a black background with words, in white, that read, I dont know where Andrew Wiggins is going.
For one final day, it was true. At last, though, the wait will end Tuesday, in a small ceremony that represents a contrast to the hype that has swirled around Wiggins for months.
Carter: 919-829-8944 Twitter: @_andrewcarter