I am already convinced that John Calipari has a monopoly on blue-chip recruits. But if he’s able to somehow snatch Andrew Wiggins from the anxious palms of Florida State, Kansas, North Carolina, and Ohio State, I will be very surprised. The 2013-14 Kentucky Wildcat roster would be, in my honest opinion, too much for opposing college teams to handle.
Today, Wiggins officially decided that he would reclassify and enter the 2013 class instead of staying an extra year in high school. I thought it’s was great decision that needed to be made because it was evident that he needed to play college ball immediately; he is a man among boys in high school gyms. His coach, Rob Fulford (Huntington Prep), echoed this sentiment in a statement to Scout.com, “He (Andrew) didn’t need to be in high school another year.”
In recent days, there has been a growing concern about whether Wiggins would attend the University of Kentucky. The commitments of James Young and the Harrison twins, all of whom are at the top of the class of 2013, have created a logjam at the wing positions. In response to James Young’s commitment, Wiggins opened up his list of schools that could recruit him. Initially the top two candidates that had the best chance at getting Wiggins were Kentucky and Florida State, the Alma matter of both Wiggins’ parents. However, Wiggins’ decision to have an open recruitment has reportedly left the door ajar for Kansas, North Carolina, and Ohio State. Roy Williams wasted no time trying to get Wiggins to attend the University of North Carolina, as he met with the talented star early this week.
Even with the Harrison twins and James Young headed to Lexington, I believe that Wiggins needs to and should commit to play for John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats. It is in his best interest to be coached by Coach Cal, and to constantly be playing against the best players who will challenge him every day in practice. Having the best players challenge Wiggins is paramount because of his a tendency to get “complacent” and coast. When it comes to Calipari-run practices, laziness and half-hearted effort are not tolerated. Moreover, Calipari will not think twice about placing Wiggins on the bench for another talented and qualified player. Former Kentucky players ranging from DeMarcus Cousins to Marquis Teague to Terrence Jones were all at the top of their individual recruiting classes, but can testify about Cal’s no no-nonsense approach and his dislike of the “high-school-cool” attitude. There is not another coach in the country who can make Andrew Wiggins better understand how great of a player he is and the untapped potential he possesses than John Calipari.
This is not a knock on the Florida State program at all. If Wiggins’ decides that he wants to go there because of familial ties, by all means, he should go. However, I believe the talent at Florida State pales in comparison to that of the 2013-14 Kentucky Wildcats. John Calipari’s record as a coach who turns his top-flight talent into NBA-ready players is unmatched. As great a coach as Roy Williams is, I think he has trouble molding uber-talented players into one, as evidenced by last year’s under-performing Tar Heel team. Bill Self and Thad Matta are both terrific coaches and have a solid track record in preparing NBA talent, but Coach Cal is on another level.
Personally, I don’t think that James Young would threaten Andrew Wiggins’ starting spot at the Small Forward position. As of now he appears be an excellent sixth man—a la Doron Lamb and Darius Miller—who can score in bunches when needed. I also believe that spending two or three years at Kentucky would benefit Young in terms of his NBA potential. Therefore, going against Wiggins and Aaron Harrison in practice every day will only help him with his development.
There is a very good chance that Julius Randle or Aaron Gordon will also commit to UK, putting the class in rarefied territory. If Wiggins and either Randle or Gordon join the Harrison twins and James Young in Lexington, I believe that team will go down as one of the best teams ever.
Highlights of the aforementioned players: