The Andrew Wiggins saga has finally come to an end. Truthfully though, had the media given him some sort of privacy, it wouldn’t have been a saga at all. Wiggins is just a player who wanted his privacy and desired to take his time to make his college choice without all of the constant media scrutiny, and today is the day that everything will finally reach it’s conclusion. Starting from the beginning, we’ll tell you how things got to where they are today.
I co-directed a SLAM Magazine camp in October of 2009 when Canadian grassroots coach Ro Russell told me about this 6’6 8th grader that he had who he thought was the top player in his class. Reluctant to put a middle school player in an event that had the likes of Reggie Bullock, CJ Leslie, Montrezl Harrell, Dez Wells, and PJ Hairston, I still took Russell for his word and allowed his 8th grade prodigy in the camp. With a buzz growing about the dominant performance he was putting on in the back gym, a crowd began to convey from the main court to check out the intriguing Canadian. The rest is history, as seen by this Hoopmixtape video with 4.5 million views.
Wiggins then spent his 8th grade season playing for Russell at Christian Faith Center Academy in North Carolina. Playing alongside Kansas recruit Braedon Anderson and Texas recruit Kevin Thomas, he thrived despite playing against mostly 19 year olds. After averaging around 20 points per game at CFCA, he became homesick and made the move back to Canada for his freshman season.
Going back home to Toronto, he spent his freshman campaign at Vaughn Secondary School. Our friends over at Flagrant Fouls were there to cover most of his games. It was here that people really began to understand how special a talent Wiggins was and by the time he made his debut in the Nike EYBL with CIA Bounce, the buzz was already there.
Wiggins showed off downright special athleticism for an absolutely loaded CIA Bounce squad. Unquestionably the top freshman in the country, ESPN actually had Trey Lyles ranked ahead of him in the 2014 rankings at one point. While Andrew has never been known to be one to pay attention to the media, something got under his skin and he solidified himself as the undoubted top player in the class of 2014 on the 2011 grassroots circuit.
Making the move to Huntington Prep for his sophomore campaign, a star was born. Even though the Huntington faithful didn’t quite come out the way they did to see O.J. Mayo, scouts were flocking down I-64 to get another glimpse at Wiggins. CityLeagueHoops was at just about every Huntington game during his sophomore campaign and simply put, there were things that he was doing on the court that no other player in high school basketball could imagine doing. The debate was posed as to who had the most NBA potential out of Shabazz Muhammad, Jabari Parker, and Andrew (who were all ranked #1 at the time) and the answer was easy: Mr. Wiggins.
What turned out to be Andrew’s junior/senior seasons was a frenzy, to say the least. He started things off by announcing that he was going to reclassify to 2013, given that the Canadian education system requires five years of high school compared to the United States’ four. A National schedule in gyms that were packed with crazed UK fans followed. Huntington Prep had one goal on their mind, and that was to win the ESPN Rise National Championship. Finishing 30-3 with a loaded schedule, they should have easily qualified. However, the grey areas in the RISE rules kept Huntington out, yet let others in similar situations in. It was a disappointing end to Wiggins’ high school career, but anyone who had the chance to see him didn’t leave the gym disappointed at all.
Here’s a video timeline of Wiggins evolution, moving from his senior year to the beginning:
Andrew going into his senior season, showing off his total game
Wiggins bringing LeBron and Carmelo to their feet at the 2012 LeBron James Skills Academy
Andrew’s sophomore season mix
Wiggins leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that he’s top player in 2014 (summer going into soph year)
Andrew’s freshman season mix via Flagrant Fouls
Andrew Wiggins 8th grade highlights via Hoopmixtape