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Kentucky Basketball: Andrew Wiggins Sets The Date

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Word has come that Andrew Wiggins will choose his college Tuesday, May 14th, at 12:15. We examine the positives and negatives of each of the schools reported to be on his list.


The word has finally come that Andrew Wiggins will announce his college choice Tuesday, May 14th around 12:15 PM. No big press conference, no hat-picking, just his family and one member of the media, according to reports.

As to the whys and wherefores of waiting until the penultimate day of the signing period, I have no idea. The reporting has been that Wiggins is genuinely conflicted about which school to pick, and given the ones on his list, I suppose that is understandable. On the other hand, he really can’t go wrong with any of them, even Florida St., as almost everyone acknowledges that whatever school he chooses will be no more than a one-year stopover, anyway.

Who will he choose? From Wiggins’ perspective, there are no bad choices, really. Every one of the schools on his list can provide him with a good college experience and every one of the coaches can help him prepare for his likely next step of moving to the NBA. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons from each school, and for those of you visiting fans of other schools, keep in mind that I am a Kentucky partisan and should not rationally be viewed as "objective."

Kentucky Wildcats

Reasons to be confident:
  • John Calipari – Calipari is, quite simply, the best recruiter in college basketball.

  • Kentucky has become the preferred school in the nation for players who only expect to spend a year or two in college.

  • Opportunity to be a member of, and play with, the best recruiting class in NCAA history bar none.

  • Joining what is already acknowledged to be the consensus #1 team next year, and the favorite to win the NCAA Tournament in 2013-14. Wiggins will only make UK more of a favorite.

  • The style of play at Kentucky fits Wiggins’ game to a "T."

  • At Kentucky, Wiggins will be competing against future NBA players every single day in practice.

Reasons to worry:
  • If Wiggins wants all the press clippings, Kentucky is not the place to come. He will be one star in a virtual galaxy at UK. If he underachieves a little, he could get muscled out of the spotlight by his own teammates.

  • The pressure to win every game at UK with be enormous next year, and it will be less crushing at every other school on his list.

Kansas Jayhawks

Reasons to be confident:
  • Bill Self is an outstanding coach who always gets quality players. He is a terrific recruiter, perhaps the second or third-best in the college game.

  • Kansas is a blueblood program that is almost always at the top of every player’s list.

  • Wiggins will be the star at Kansas, but not so much that he would feel all the pressure himself.

  • Kansas’ style fits Wiggins game very well.

Reasons to worry:
  • Kansas is not considered to be among Wiggins’ top two, but since that top two is pure speculation anyway, that may not matter.

  • Wiggins would be expected to carry a lot more of the load himself at Kansas.

  • North Carolina and Kentucky look more attractive on paper.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Reasons to be confident:
  • North Carolina is a blueblood school, has a great location, social setting and a large media presence.

  • The ACC is the most prestigious when it comes to basketball among the three conferences that contain Wiggins’ top four schools.

  • The pressure to win every game will be present, but tolerable.

  • The addition of Wiggins would make UNC a contender for the NCAA Tournament title.

  • North Carolina’s style fits Wiggins as well as Kentucky’s.

Reasons to worry:
  • Kentucky has been on Wiggins longer, and when Calipari is the recruiter, that matters even more than normal.

  • Roy Williams does not have the track record developing pros that Calipari does.

Florida St. Seminoles

Reasons to be confident:
  • Both Wiggins’ parents attended Florida St., and the ACC is a great conference to play in.

  • Leonard Hamilton is an extremely good recruiter, underrated and dangerous. He has a track record of surprising people with the players he’s able to get.

  • At FSU, Wiggins would be "the man." He would be expected to carry the team offensively and get most of the press attention.

  • The pressure to win would be very low compared to the other teams on this list. Wiggins could enjoy his college experience and compete at a high level without a lot of a fan pressure.

  • Outstanding location, weather, and social setting.

Reasons to worry:
  • Florida St. is manifestly a football school, not a basketball school. Fan support for basketball is only average, and perhaps a little below average.

  • FSU’s basketball facilities are inferior to the other schools on this list.

  • Leonard Hamilton’s grind-it-out style does not fit Wiggins’ game well.

There is one negative for every school other than Kentucky that deserves special mention – John Calipari.

Calipari is far and away the best at recruiting the top talent in the land, and nobody else is really even close. It’s hard to say whether he is the Nick Saban of college basketball, or if Saban is the John Calipari of college football. Either way, Calipari very rarely misses a player he wants badly, and he is particularly motivated after the tough year Kentucky had last season.

With that said, Wiggins is not your typical college player. He hails from Canada even though he goes to school in the USA, and he is not the "alpha dog" most of the players that come to UK are. He may be uncomfortable in such a setting, even if it may, in fact, be the best for his development.

So that’s it. Tomorrow, we’ll all know Wiggins college destination, and the pieces for next year will be set.