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Wiggins Frenzy Mounts; News At 12:15

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The speculation about Andrew Wiggins really took off late in the afternoon and by around 10:00 a.m., we should start hearing the first sirens in the Bluegrass State as Kentucky fans excite themselves into aneurysms. It'll get worse if they don't get him.

It's really an unusual situation because Wiggins, unlike most of his contemporaries, is clearly not interested in extra publicity: he's just going to do it privately with friends, family and classmates,  and then let everyone else know.

This reminds us of a precedent, and that was the recruitment of Albert King.

King came along before ESPN was much use, much less any sort of social media. But he was a kindred spirit.

King was a fairly quiet kid, who was dubious of most of the attention and who lashed out at people who crossed perceived lines.

There was no ESPN, not as we know it today anyway; ESPN got started in the fall of 1979, after King had enrolled at Maryland.

King was part of a celebrated class: he and Gene Banks were seen as the top two recruits and some guy named Earvin who ended up at Michigan State was right alongside them.

King, whose brother Bernard was a superb NBA player, was good at Maryland and in the NBA, but never lived up to the hype. As it turned out, he had other interests: he wanted to run restaurants.

Thousands of kids see their NBA dream crushed every year; King sort of got through basketball to get what he really wanted: franchises.

Anyway, he struck us as a logical parallel. Everyone agrees that Wiggins has the potential to be a transcendent player and we're not saying he can't be one. But it is worth mentioning that some guys would prefer to own restaurants or, like the late Brian Williams (aka Bison Dele) or football's Ricky Williams, enjoy their sport but many other interests as well.

As you probably know, Wiggins is down to Kentucky, Kansas, UNC and Florida State. So where to?

Like we have a clue. His recruitment has been contained in one of Herb Sendek's day-tight compartments. He's done a tremendous job of keeping it to himself.

That said, there are a few interesting points to consider:

  • Dave Telep committed to nothing when he observed this, but it is interesting that he didn't see a big connection between Wiggins and Kentucky's big-timers at the McDonald's game.
  • Telep also wonders how an apparently reserved kid would deal with Kentucky's fish-bowl environment. That's a very smart thing to consider.
  • Not only did his parents go to Florida State, but Leonard Hamilton recruited his best friend, who could spend next season with him.
  • We've seen no particular argument for UNC though Telep, again making a smart point, said that everyone but UNC had been the frontrunner, and that could work to UNC's advantage.
  • Don't forget that his brother plays at Wichita State, two hours, give or take, from Lawrence. Jeff Goodman is betting on Kansas, saying that he's heard that among the coaches involved, Wiggins likes Bill Self best.  It's also a smallish town (87,000) and the most remote of any of the finalists, which might be a bit of a buffer. Lexington by contrast holds over 300,00 souls, Chapel Hill sits at 57,000 or so but is part of a major urban area in the Triangle. Tallahassee checks in at 181,000+. But who knows what he's going to want beyond basketball? It's not even clear what he wants from a coach and team, or even if he's absolutely determined to be in the NBA as soon as possible. Tim Duncan stuck around four years. Stranger things have happened.