Monday, May 13, 2013

Andrew Wiggins' decision due, finally, Tuesday


CHAPEL HILL — Andrew Wiggins will announce his college choice on Tuesday. Few people might be happier about it than Dave Telep, the ESPN.com national college basketball recruiting analyst. Telep has covered Wiggins’ recruitment from start to finish but even he admitted on Monday that he has no idea where Wiggins will go.

Wiggins, the 6-foot-7 forward from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, has been down to his final four schools for a while now: Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina. He hasn’t offered any indication about which of those four schools he’s favoring.

There has been plenty of speculation. Wiggins’ parents met at Florida State, where his dad, Mitchell, played basketball. At Kentucky, Wiggins would join a recruiting class that’s already being described as perhaps the best ever. At North Carolina and Kansas, he’d immediately elevate those teams to national title contenders.
According to Wiggins’ high school coach, Rob Fulford, the drama will end on Tuesday at around 12:15.

That’s when Wiggins will sign with a school. There won’t be a press conference or cameras. Just a ceremony with friends and teammates. It’s not a surprise Wiggins would do things that way, Telep said.
Telep stayed up late on Sunday night trying to handicap where Wiggins might wind up. He gives Florida State a 35 percent chance, Kansas a 25 percent chance and UNC and Kentucky and 20 percent chance.

But really, he said with a laugh, he doesn’t know. Here are his thoughts on a variety of topics related to Wiggins’ recruitment:

Andrew Carter: So Andrew Wiggins will make his choice tomorrow – what has been your reaction to all the speculation out there that has this school leading for him, or that school?

Dave Telep: I’ve gotten a real kick out of listening to people talk with authority on this subject, because over the course of the last few months I’ve just kind of sat back and watched and was able to find out who’s full of it and who’s not. Because anybody who spoke on this with authority really had no idea what they were talking about.

AC: How rare is it for a guy like this to keep things so close to the vest for so long?

DT: I think this whole thing is a microcosm of a few things. I’m not convinced everybody on his family is on the same page. I’m very convinced that he has a hard time saying no, and (is) appreciative of the relationships that have been built. And he’s a people pleaser, and I don’t think he wants to – I just don’t think he wanted to ever have to make these calls. And I think those few things have really driven why it’s taken so long.

AC: The fact that he’s making this announcement without any kind of fan fare, without cameras and a lot of media – what does that say about Wiggins?

DT: It’s totally consistent with who he’s been. You know, we had him on (ESPN) a couple of times – he was never that excited to do it. The most time I’ve had with him is when we set up in advance a 20-minute interview in Charlotte, and it was really enjoyable. We had a great time talking about things, and I felt like I really got to know him. And he loosened up and he opened up and we could talk about a lot of different things. But right after that was over, he just kind of went back to being Andrew and was all quiet again.

I really respect how he’s handled this. I think people look at this and the people who don’t know will say this is a kid that’s dragging out the process. This is just a kid who has had difficulty making a decision, for whatever reason. He really has never sought (attention). Andrew Wiggins could pick up the phone right now, and say I want to decide on ESPN, and we’d rearrange our schedule to get it done. That phone is not ringing, and nobody’s sitting by the phone waiting for it. I thought all along that he’d pick up the phone one day, call and commit and throw it out on Twitter and he’d be done with it. The way he’s doing it is totally how I would have expected him to.

AC: Do you think it will leak out tonight or tomorrow morning before the announcement?

DT: Well, I don’t think he cares. At that point, I don’t think he would care. It certainly could leak out. But there’s a zero percent chance I would ever write anything until hearing the words from either Andrew or somebody sitting right next to him at that point. Somebody’s going to jump the gun and get this thing wrong, you mark my words.

AC: We’ve heard lots of comparisons about Wiggins, from people saying he’s the best prospect since this guy or that guy. LeBron James' name has come up. What’s your reaction?

DT: Those words – the best prospect since LeBron, it’s not even a fair tag and I don’t think it’s accurate. People forget about a guy named Greg Oden, because his NBA career hasn’t worked out. And they are totally dismissing what Dwight Howard was as a high school player. I think so many people are living in the moment.

It’s not fair – Andrew is not LeBron James. I don’t think he’s ever going to be a LeBron James impact guy like that. He’s the most talented prospect in the class this year, and that’s certainly noteworthy. He has a significant upside … but I think the enthusiasm has to be tempered, in terms of who he is in terms of his impact over the last decade. He’s a really good player. He’s the best prospect in this class. He’s not LeBron James. And no one that I’ve seen since doing this since 1997 has been in that same tier as LeBron James.

AC: His arrival would mean different things for different teams but in a general sense what will his decision mean to the school he selects?

DT: Everybody has different uses for this guy next year. At North Carolina, Kansas and Florida State, he kind of becomes their instant face of the program, for lack of a better term. At Kentucky, he becomes part of the most heavily-covered soap opera in maybe college basketball history next year. Everybody has different uses and different impacts. The bottom line is guys like Andrew Wiggins don’t walk onto your campus every year. And the amount of media attention and on-the-court attention he’s going to receive is going to be, for whatever program he picks, very uncommon to deal with.

Thanks to Telep for his time. And now, the wait continues for one final day …

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