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Canadian basketball phenom Wiggins takes show to Kansas

Canadian basketball phenom Wiggins takes show to Kansas

UPDATE (Tuesday, May 14, 2013): Wiggins officially accepted an offer from Kansas University where he will join head coach Bill Self and a talented squad coming off of a March Madness Sweet 16 appearance.

Rowan Barrett, Canada Basketball’s Assistant GM and Executive VP of the Senior Men’s Program had this reaction: “I think it was pretty hard for him to loose with the choices that he had. In Kansas, he went with a coach…who has a tremendous track record of putting players in the position they need to be in offensively.”

Eighteen-year-old Thornhill, ON, native Andrew Wiggins (@22wiggins) has been tagged as the number one NCAA basketball prospect by everyone from ESPN to Rivals.com, and by many as a future NBA superstar.

Tomorrow, he will officially begin his journey by accepting an NCAA Division 1 scholarship to either Florida State (@Seminoles_com), Kansas (@KUathletics), Kentucky (@KentuckyMBB) or North Caronlina (@UNC_Basketball).

Wiggins also represents tremendous opportunity for Canada Basketball (@canbball) heading into the 2016 Rio Games and beyond – especially considering his Olympic bloodlines: his mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, is a double silver medallist who competed in track and field for Canada in 1984 and 1988.

Regardless of his collegiate destination, we look forward to seeing more of Wiggins wearing the maple leaf on the global stage.

The Wiggins ‘Final Four’:

Florida State 

The Wiggins family has deep roots with Florida State. Both his mother and father, Mitchell, attended the university. Mother Marita was

Marita Payne-Wiggins (front) competes at the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles. Photo: Canadian Olympic Committee

the NCAA 400 meter champion in 1982 and 1984, and Mitchell – a former Canadian national team member as well – competed and was a star for two seasons for the FSU basketball team before turning pro. Playing for the Seminols would give Wiggins the opportunity to be the central figure of the team and test himself against bigger programs.

Kentucky  

The University of Kentucky already has the #1 recruiting class of 2013 (according to ESPN), thanks to several five-star recruits committing to the team for the fall. Aside from defending NCAA champions Louisville, Kentucky is also the current preseason favourite to win the 2014 title thanks to their new crop of talent and the many returning athletes from last year’s squad. This choice would allow Wiggins to be pushed to his limits against the best competition in practice every day. A big selling point is also coach John Callipari – a man with a reputation for turning athletes into pros after just one year of college play.

North Carolina 

Be like Mike? That’s the question for Wiggins as he has the opportunity to sign with Michael Jordan’s storied North Carolina Tar Heels. History has its appeal, as does the school’s schedule of high-level opponents to test Wiggins. NC is expected to be competitive next year and could make a deep run into March Madness with Wiggins as their leader, plus head coach Roy Williams has two NCAA titles under his belt (2005 and 2009).

Kansas

Want to talk about deep Canadian roots at a school? The first basketball coach at the University of Kansas was James Naismith – literally, basketball’s inventor. The team is coming off an appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament and is poised to do well again. Head coach Bill Self is a great motivator who knows how to win. Wiggins would turn into the focal point of the offence and would likely take on the scoring duties of the NBA-bound Ben McLemore.

Wiggins is expected to make his announcement by 12:15 p.m. EST.

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