“It’s just a blessing,” Wiggins said after the presentation in Hollywood. “I kind of don’t realize at first it’s such a big deal. I think it will hit me more afterward.”
Wiggins joined such storied past winners as LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Kevin Love. Wiggins said his goal has been to play in the NBA “ever since I was on earth.”
His father played professionally overseas, and Wiggins recalled watching him play when he was a small boy.
At Kansas, Wiggins wants to help deliver the Jayhawks a national championship.
“I think I can give the fans what we want,” he said.
“It’s so much more physical,” Wiggins said of college basketball compared to high school in an interview with Rivals.com. “Everybody is hungry. Coming in as a freshman, you are taking someone’s spot. You are taking someone’s minutes. They (returnees) are going to fight for those minutes. On the court, you have to bring it every day. If you are not playing hard, not playing well, you’ve got to work harder. The style of play .. there are more pick and rolls.”
He said everybody on the Jayhawk team contacted him after his commitment to KU in May.
“At KU, the brotherhood is so tight,” Wiggins said.
"It's good to see your little brother be successful," Nick says. "Especially (as) he's following in your footsteps. He worked hard. He deserves all the praise. There's going to be haters out there, he knows that. He's very mature for his age. He knows how to deal with all that."
The media. The spotlight. The fans. The burden of being a very big man in a very small community. The weight of an old, storied tradition cast upon shoulders so young. The lure of the pros.
"Naw, he doesn't speak (about) any of that," Nick says.
"It's not hard at all. It's expected, you know? It's expected."
…"We're together all the time," says Nick, who last hooked up with Andrew over Independence Day weekend. "It was me and my older brother (Mitchell), he used to follow right behind us in the gym. He was always in the gym ... since we were in eighth, ninth grade, when I was in there, he would be playing with bigger guys. Once he got to high school, he'd seen it all. He was kind of advanced among kids his age.
"My family was very comfortable with both of us going to school in Kansas. I don't want to say (me being at Wichita) had a strong effect on him, but I would say it had a little bit of an effect on him.
"Obviously, when my parents fly down to see him play, they don't want to travel far to see me play. (Kansas coach) Bill Self, him and my mom, they're really close. They had connected well. He's just a good coach. I met him before. We just had a cool vibe."
Comfortable with scheduling a salty Shockers team, well ... not so much.
"I think (Self) is threatened by (the idea of) losing," Nick says.
"Of course, I'd love to play them. I'd love it to be the first game of the season, our first non-conference game. Andrew would like to see that, too. I mean, he would be excited for it."
And big bro laughs again.
"I don't know if he'd want to see it -- that Wichita State Shocker defense, that isn't a high school game."
Who'd guard him?
"I would want to. Cleanthony (Early) could guard him, too. They're just about the same height."
We may be staring at genetic perfection. Wiggins is the son of an Olympic sprinter and a former NBA player. That's the Olympus of genetic attributes. The high school career of this Canadian standout was a ride through Toronto and Creedmoor, N.C., culminating in a stint with Huntington Prep.
Wiggins was named the national high school player of the year; the award in my mind was given to him both because of his outstanding senior season and because of who he's likely to become.
This is not the best prospect since LeBron James, as he has been billed. We tend to forget about Dwight Howard, Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. Wiggins is, however, in the next cut. From purely an athletic standpoint, the kid has few, if any, peers. His game is predicated on being able to elevate, burst by his defender and use his extraordinary length and wingspan to his advantage.
…If there's a single area that needs to be addressed, it's in his mental makeup. Wiggins is competitive, but hasn't sharpened his finishing instincts. He's more of a great prospect than great player in that sense.
…The most legitimate question concerning Wiggins doesn't even involve the physical aspect of the game. It's how he'll handle the pressure of playing in the fishbowl of Lawrence, Kan. Wiggins is laid-back -- even shy -- and was protected by those around him throughout the recruiting process. Now he'll be thrust into the spotlight, and it'll be interesting to observe his mental toughness, especially when he struggles.
There are some who have questioned his motor, and while there have been times he has coasted, Self is one of the master motivators in the country and should help bring out the best of Wiggins.
Wiggins isn't LeBron. He won't put up the gaudy numbers that Kevin Durant (25.8 points, 11 rebounds per game) did in his lone season at Texas. He'll be inconsistent at times, and it may take him time to grow into the alpha dog role, but once he does, it'll be clear why just about everyone who has seen Wiggins has him pegged for stardom -- at the college level and beyond.
…While Wiggins' athleticism is extraordinary, even for an NBA prospect, it's hard to imagine he will have the impact that James or even Durant has had in the NBA. But even comparing him to two future Hall of Fame players gives you an idea of the expectations that lie ahead for him.
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