Wiggins Waiting Game Best For Everyone

Andrew Wiggins’ recruitment has been heavily followed and scrutinized. Rivals, Scout, 247, and ESPN all consider Wiggins the best small forward in the 2013 basketball recruiting class.  Unlike many recruits, Wiggins has yet to choose his college destination.

The front runners for Wiggins’ services are Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina.  While there have been few hints from Wiggins as to which school he likes the most, everyone has an opinion on the matter.  Brother Nick says Andrew’s parents would be happy with any of the four schools, but would love to see the younger Wiggins play at their alma mater, Florida State. A seafood restaurant owner claims to have the scoop that Wiggins will join the Tar Heels.  Matt Jones of KentuckySportsRadio.com has sources saying the recruitiment is a three-horse race that doesn’t include North Carolina.

While all these people are talking, Wiggins is not.  His last tweet about his recruitment was on April 12, saying “Lol if you ain’t in my family you know nothing about my recruitment , lol stop with the rumors.”  Needless to say, the rumors have not stopped with that tweet, nor will they until Wiggins’ decision.

Some have suggested that Wiggins has continued his recruitment out of a desire for attention. However, all involved in his recruitment have said that he effectively hates the spotlight.  Before the McDonald’s All-American Game, he told USA Today’s Jason Jordan, “I used to hate [the attention], but I know that it’s gonna be there. I know what these media guys want, so I just try and make it easier to get through, I guess. They spend the whole time trying to trick me into telling them where I’m going.”

The attention-seeking typecast also don’t jive with Wiggins’ decision to cancel in-home visits from Florida State, Kansas, and North Carolina. Some saw it as a sign that Wiggins would soon commit to Kentucky, but three weeks have passed without a decision. Wiggins’ coach at Huntington Prep, however, attributed it to burnout from the stress of all-star games and recruiting pitches as well as travel complications.

So, maybe Andrew Wiggins simply hasn’t decided which college he would like to attend, even as the deadline for signing a national letter of intent (May 15) nears. As we witnessed this week with another Florida State recruiting target, Wiggins taking time to make his choice may not be such a bad idea.

Matthew Thomas, a five-star linebacker from Miami’s Booker T. Washington high school, signed with Florida State on National Signing Day, choosing the Seminoles over Miami, Southern California, and Georgia.  Thomas’ announcement was televised to a national audience on ESPN as part of marathon coverage of the day’s proceedings by the family of networks.

This week, Thomas expressed his desire to be released from his national letter of intent and seek a transfer to Georgia or USC.  He told the Miami Herald that he wanted more time to make a decision, but felt pressure to sign with a school on National Signing Day due to the slated ESPN announcement.

Looking back at his recruitment, it’s understandable why Thomas would have had questions.  Florida State assistant coach James Coley had heavily recruited Thomas before accepting the same position at Miami.  Miami had rescinded a scholarship offer to Thomas’ teammate at Booker T. Washington, four-star offensive lineman Denver Kirkland, just a week prior.

Kirkland’s scholarship was allegedly rescinded out of his desire to have a signing day announcement like Thomas.  For some players, there is extra pressure to reach an early decision rather than risk being passed over for more talented players willing to sign.  Apparently, Kirkland was an example of this.  While any of Thomas’ suitors would have likely been willing to show more patience towards a can’t-miss, five-star prospect of his stature, Thomas had no reason to believe that after seeing his teammate’s dilemma.

Now, Florida State finds itself in the unenviable position of dealing with Thomas’ potential departure.   The first step, of course, will be to persuade Thomas that he is simply experiencing cold feet at the altar.  Beyond that, they are faced with a lose-lose proposition.  Release Thomas, and they lose a top linebacker who could have had a significant impact on their program (as well as encourage future Florida State commitments to know they can back out).. Hold him to his national letter of intent, and they are perceived as villains as Thomas would either try to appeal the NCAA Eligibility Center for an NLI release or sit out this season while exhausting a year of eligibility, as well as next season per transfer protocol.

Ultimately, Wiggins will make a decision, sending one fan base into a cheering frenzy and three others into fits of rage.  Some may criticize the amount of time he is taking to reach that decision and use that as evidence of character flaws.  However, for both school and player, it is far better to allow Wiggins the time and space to find the school that is right for him rather than make a rash decision that he regrets.


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