December 5, 2012

Wiggins plays defense on court and in recruiting

A popular saying in football is that the best offense is a great defense. Often times, the same can be said on the hardwood. The class of 2013's no. 1 ranked prospect, 6-foot-7 wing Andrew Wiggins, would agree with that expression.

Friday night at the Marshall County Hoopfest the Huntington (W.Va.) Prep sensation found himself being slightly outplayed early by Memphis (Ten.) East guard Nick King.

King was hitting deep three-pointers, laughing about it and then telling Wiggins about it on the other end of the court. While having fun is the ultimate reason why players play basketball, having that much fun at Wiggins expense is the purest form of playing with fire.

Wiggins woke up, and woke up in a big way, by blocking King's next three shot-attempts, all jump-shots, and dominating the game on the offensive end in finishing with 29 points (Video Evidence) in a Huntington Prep win.

After the game, Wiggins told Cats Illustrated that he is able to make defense his specialty.

"When I rebound and when I defend, that's how I get into the game mentally," said Wiggins. "That's what gives me momentum. Then I can score a bucket or dunk it."

When asked about King, the soft-spoken Toronto native quietly but confidently told us what we all know, Wiggins can be near impossible to score on when he wants to be.

"I had to respond," Wiggins said. "Defense is what I'm good at; I can defend well so I made him take tough shots to score. I think he only had four points in the second half."

By Cats Illustrated's count, King had 12 of his team high 18 points in the first quarter, before Wiggins angrily switched over to the Memphis bound wing in an attempt to shut him up.

While this year's Wildcats team is still struggling to find their defensive identity, especially when faced with the enormous pressure that comes with following one of the great defensive teams in UK history, Big Blue fans that came out to see Wiggins were refreshed to see a high school superstar who is so focused on the defensive end.

As per usual with Kentucky fans, they let their voices be heard.

"The crowd was crazy, that's the most people that I've played in front of in a long time," said Wiggins. "They enjoyed our team and we tried to do our best to entertain them.

"It's always encouraging to hear fans chanting my name. I know that they're going to love and support me."

After two games of at least 25 points, and a plethora of high-flying dunks, Wiggins left the crowd like any great showman does, he left them wanting more.

With three games in the state of Kentucky down, the final Marshall County game should be Wiggins' last trip to Kentucky until he makes an unofficial or official visit to Lexington sometime after the season, something that he has said he intends to do.

While Wiggins is taking his time with a decision, the recruiting process is something that he has absolutely no escape from, as he continues to be called not only the best amateur player in the world, but in the minds of some, the best high school prospect since LeBron James.

"I'm so ready for the recruiting process to come to an end, even though I have no idea where it is that I want to go," said Wiggins.

"Everyone always is asking me where I'm going, so it will be a joy once I can finally just let the world know."

Just days after the Marshall County Hoopfest, Wiggins and his parents took a visit to Florida State to check out the campus, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"I like Florida State," Wiggins said, "I liked to see everything that happened there with my parents, who are both alums. It would be a joy to go there, I mean they have great weather. They also have great people, coaches, education and they make their players better.

"Florida State doesn't always get the best player in the nation, but they develop guys for the NBA."

After finishing that visit, Wiggins is rumored to want to check out North Carolina and Kansas in addition to Kentucky; although the five-star small forward does not like to confirm any recruiting plans on the record.
For now, it seems that Florida State will be Wiggins only in-season visit, as he told Cats Illustrated that he plans on waiting for warmer weather to visit any other schools.

Drawn to the history of Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina, Wiggins says that those three schools are all fairly similar in their appeal to him.

While most people think that Kentucky and Florida State are the only schools that really have a chance to land Wiggins, the primary source on this disagrees.

"That's people's opinion, they love to put their two cents in," Wiggins said. "But I don't pay attention to all of that. I haven't discussed anything with my parents about who I really am interested in.

"My parents just want me to go where I'll be happy. They told me to go to school for me, not for anyone else."

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