Posted by Taylor Erickson on October 10th, 2013
Everywhere I turned on Tuesday, I couldn’t help but notice it. On the internet, throughout the Twitterverse, in a story on the cover of the local USA Today at the gas station. Andrew Wiggins, next to Wilt Chamberlain and Danny Manning on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated. As if the hype wasn’t already out of hand, setting a present-day Wiggins next to a classic photo of Wilt in his Kansas days doesn’t exactly temper any of these expectations. Instead, it magnifies them. With all the mention of Andrew Wiggins also comes exposure for Kansas. Sure Bill Self has lured top talent to Kansas before, but time after time the past few years, Self has been on the losing end of an elite talent recruiting battle to Kentucky’s John Calipari. Another top prospect, headed to Lexington instead of Lawrence. Don’t get me wrong, Self still brought in exceptional talent, just not consistently the cream of the crop.
But Andrew Wiggins was different.
SI’s Wiggins/WIlt Comparisons are Fueling the Fire (credit: Sports Illustrated)
A year ago, it seemed a foregone conclusion that the top prospect in the last several years would head to the program churning out lottery picks at a record-setting pace. Wiggins is a fan of the famous rapper, Drake, and Drake is a fan of Wiggins. Both are fellow Canadians. Drake is also a familiar face in Kentucky basketball, so it all seemed to make sense. Except it didn’t happen that way. Wiggins broke the mold, committing to Kansas last spring in a small non-televised event.
Within the last few weeks, it was rumored that Kelly Oubre’s recruitment had come down to Kansas and Kentucky — the first real recruiting battle between Self and Calipari since the Wiggins commitment. Oubre attended KU’s Late Night in the Phog last Friday, and this Tuesday, he cancelled an upcoming visit to Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness to commit to Kansas. Another win for Self against Calipari and perhaps a small turn in momentum along the recruiting front in college basketball. In an interview with KUsports.com, Oubre talked about going to Kansas to replace Wiggins after this season. Make no mistake about it, Wiggins’ footprint at Kansas has already made an impact on the way top shelf talent views Kansas. And it doesn’t stop with Oubre. Kansas is in the mix for the ultimate package deal in Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, and are rumored to be one of the leaders for top ten prospects Cliff Alexander and Miles Turner as well.
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