Framing the Andrew Wiggins Hype on the Brink of Decision Day

Posted by Chris Johnson on May 13th, 2013

Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn.

Top-rated prospects are not created equal. Each and every recruiting class features a different No. 1 player with a different skill set and different ceiling and varying amounts of pro potential. You get seasons like 2012, when Nerlens Noel joined Kentucky with every iteration of defensive scouting recommendation and eulogistic praise imaginable. He was a specialist, a defensive savant with a merely “developing” offensive game. Noel would turn out to be an undisputed star and – even after tearing his ACL against Florida in February – maybe the best bet to be taken No. 1 in this summer’s NBA Draft, but Noel’s hype was built more on potential, on unparalleled size-to-position athleticism, on a work ethic that would one day allow him to put everything together into a devastating offensive and defensive force of nature. Andrew Wiggins is not Nerlens Noel, or even Anthony Davis, and certainly not anything like Harrison Barnes, the freshmen preseason All-American that wasn’t, whose under-performance has spawned – and not unjustifiably so – some level of unease about the boundless expectations surrounding Wiggins’ immediate impact at the college level.

The reverberations of Wiggins' decision will be felt throughout all of college basketball (USA Today Sports).

The reverberations of Wiggins’ decision will be felt throughout all of college basketball (USA Today Sports).

When we talk about Andrew Wiggins, we’re not just talking about a No. 1 recruit and a likely top overall NBA Draft pick. Wiggins is one of the distinguished few prospects that – according to pretty much any scout or talent evaluator or Youtube frequenter you speak to – offers not only the potential to lift a college team’s one-year baseline to new heights, but the promise of franchise-altering skills in the NBA. So, basically, think Kevin Durant, or LeBron James, or Tim Duncan. While we’re on the subject, the LeBron comparisons are not completely unfounded. A direct prep-to-pros LBJ parallel was invoked on the cover of Sports Illustrated just last year, with a glorifying cover story and headline that read, “The Best High School Basketball Player Since LeBron James Is…”, featuring a 2013 prospect whose name was not Andrew Wiggins. That illuminating SI edition was a tribute to Chicago high school star and future lottery pick Jabari Parker, written and published before Andrew Wiggins realized he was just plain clowning everyone on the high school level and best be reclassifying to expedite his passage to professional basketball. Now that headline seems sort of outdated, or factually incorrect, because a quorum has been reached: Wiggins is better than “the best basketball player since LeBron James.”

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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 11.08.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 8th, 2010

Just when you figured that the Recruiting Rumor Mill would start to slow down one teenager start makes news by changing his mind about having previously changed his mind while another does so by deciding to go to college early.

  • The biggest news of the week was of course Myck Kabongo deciding that he did want to go to Texas after all. We are going to wait until he signs on the dotted line before we go ahead and write it down in ink. Fool us once. . .
  • Rutgers commit Kadeem Jack, who has already graduated from high school, but opted to take a prep year, has decided that he wants to go to Rutgers sooner rather than later and will reportedly enroll there in January. He tried talking the coaches into letting him play this year, but they talked him out of it and he will play for Scarlet Knights in the fall of 2011 as previously anticipated.
  • Tyler Adams, who made news by backing out of his commitment to Duke, has committed to Georgetown, which shouldn’t be that surprising since Adams attended Georgetown’s Midnight Madness even when he was still committed to Duke.

    Tyler Adams: The Player Who Turned Down Coach K

  • Speaking of Duke they landed a commitment from Quinn Cook, one of the top point guards in this year’s class. Normally this would be bigger next except Duke already has a commitment from Austin Rivers, the top guard in the class. And they also have Kyrie Irving, Andre Dawkins, and Seth Curry, all of whom will have eligibility left after this season although Irving could be gone after this year.
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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 11.01.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 1st, 2010

Although we have been mentioning that some of the recruiting buzz might start slowing down we still saw one big-time recruit commit this week and another back out of his prior commitment.

  • First we will go with the big commitment as Memphis picked up its first commitment of the recruiting season (shocking, right?) when local product and reality TV star Adonis Thomas committed to play for the Tigers. Josh Pastner utilized former Memphis star Penny Hardaway to appeal to Thomas during a video segment aired during their version of Midnight Madness. Thomas announced his decision on ESPNU, which is quite frankly less dramatic than we imagined for a player who went on ESPNU to announce his finalists.
  • Now for the less joyous news (if you’re a fan of the team that previously had a commitment) we will head to Texas where Rick Barnes lost a commitment from highly coveted Canadian (via Findlay Prep) point guard recruit Myck Kabongo who has not provided a definitive answer as to why he has reneged on his earlier promise. As of now he says that he is still considering Texas along with Syracuse, Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina. There has been some talk about Austin Rivers and Kabongo wanting to team up (anybody getting visions of college poor man’s LeBron-Wade in Cameron?), but we will probably have to wait until Spring to find out as Kabongo says he is 60% certain that he’ll sign in the late period. [Ed. Note: Where do these guys come up with these percentages?]

    Kabongo is on the market again

  • Stanford picked up a huge commitment this week when the received a verbal commitment from top 10 point guard prospect Chasson Randle, who decided to head to Palo Alto after considering Illinois and Purdue citing the combination of academics (4.0 high school GPA) and athletics.
  • Indiana might still be waiting on Cody Zeller to decide on where he wants to go, but they were able to pick up a commitment from Hanner Perea, a power forward in the class of 2012 that many recruiting experts consider the most explosive big man in the class. Some of you may remember Perea as being the focal point of Baylor‘s current cell phone/text message scandal, but we have a feeling you might forget that when you see how athletic he is (additional video after the jump).
  • [Ed. Note: Both videos--this and the one after the jump--are of Perea as a sophomore.]

  • Bruce Weber may have missed out on Randle and Anthony Davis, two of the top players in the state of Illinois, but he was able to get a commitment from Mike Shaw, a 6’8″ forward who many expect to improve significantly in college.
  • Last week we noted the apparent hesitance of Jahii Carson to officially sign with Arizona State, but now it appears like he will sign with the Sun Devils during November.
  • Duke lost a commitment from Tyler Adams, a 6’9″ center who the Blue Devils had been interested in to help them add depth on the inside. The decision might surprise some, but not those who have followed the process closely. As RTC interview subject Dave Telep notes the two sides had grown apart to the point that Adams attended Midnight Madness at Georgetown, which is never a good sign for a Duke commit. According to Telep, the two current leaders for Adams are Georgetown and Mississippi State.
  • Speaking of Mississippi State they picked up a big commitment from Rodney Hood, one of the top small forwards in this year’s class, who opted to stay in his home state instead of going to a long list of potential suitors. With Arkansas picking up an outstanding class, Georgia starting to corner the market on in-state recruits, Kentucky being Kentucky, and other schools landing several solid recruits could the SEC be turning the corner and becoming a solid conference again? Read the rest of this entry »
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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 10.25.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on October 25th, 2010

Now that most recruits have made their oral commitments we should start to see the news of commitments start to die down at least in terms of the sheer volume, but that doesn’t mean that a big name won’t commit to a school (still a handful of top 25 guys available) or someone won’t decommit/commit to another school.

  • Quincy Miller, widely consider the last of the superstars in this class, and Deuce Bello, widely considered the most athletic player in this class, both committed to play at Baylor. If Scott Drew can get his players to stay a few years (and the looming NBA lockout could help), he could have a team that features Perry Jones, Miller, Bello, and Isaiah Austin in a few years, which would be one of the most feared line-ups in the nation.

    Miller is the last big chip in this year's class

  • While Miller and Bello stole the headlines for biggest coup of the weekend, LeBryan Nash certainly takes the prize for most effective use of a prop (see below) when he committed to play for Oklahoma State.
  • Fans of Arizona State are starting to worry about Jahii Carson, who previously committed to play for Oregon State, as he is already starting to waver in his commitment to the Sun Devils even citing a freshman wearing his favorite number.
  • Speaking of decommitments. . .Tony Wroten, everybody’s favorite Tweeter, started a minor Internet firestorm when he tweeted asking whether Kentucky commit Kyle Wiltjer had decommited. Wiltjer has not responded, but we haven’t heard any reports to suggest he has not remained committed to the Wildcats.
  • Shane Larkin, son of Cincinnati Reds all-star Barry Larkin and a crosstown rival of Austin Rivers, committed to play for Oliver Purnell at DePaul. Read the rest of this entry »
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