Joe Dooley — who has worked as an assistant coach at Kansas University during the entire 10-year Bill Self era — says it’s going to be extremely difficult to say goodbye.
“(It was) quite a run. Being part of 300 wins in a 10-year period, 15 of 20 (Big 12) championships, guys growing up and getting better, the friendships we made with other staff members, players and community members. There’s no better place (than KU),” Dooley said Wednesday after agreeing to a five-year contract to take over as head coach at Florida Gulf Coast University.
“Tanya (wife), Max (son) and I will always be proud to have been Jayhawks,” the 47-year-old Dooley added.
Dooley — he was named the top assistant coach in the country in 2010 by foxsports.com — has always said it would take a “special situation” to leave KU.
“My wife and I and coach Self came up with criteria — to go to a place where you could win, work for a great administration and to top it off a place with great quality of living,” Dooley said. “Fort Myers (Fla.) is attractive to live in and recruit to. All those things told me it was a great fit.”
Still ... “this is bittersweet,” added Dooley, who replaces new USC coach Andy Enfield, who led the Atlantic Sun Conference school to a berth in the Sweet 16 of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. “We have unbelievable memories here. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Dooley — who according to the Fort Myers News-Press will be paid $225,000 a year (he made $300,000, plus use of car and country club membership at KU) annual salary, not counting media money and incentives — has extended offers for assistant coaches Marty Richter and Michael Fly to remain with the program along with director of operations Joey Cantens, the paper indicated.
“Joe certainly gave us 10 years of excellent service. I’m sad to see him leave, but happy for he, Tanya and Max. They deserve this opportunity,” KU coach Self told the Journal-World.
“He’s had several opportunities where he could have made a move but this one just felt the best for him and his family. Joe has meant an awful lot to our program in the last 10 years and a big reason why we have been successful. Although we hate to see him leave, it’s one of those situations that you are so happy for him and know that he will be ultra-successful living on the beach in Florida. He’s been so instrumental in not only coaching our guys but also with the development and skill improvement of our players. All of our players have enjoyed playing for him, knowing they were going to get his best effort every day.”
…Self said he was in no hurry to name a replacement for Dooley.
“I really don’t know what I’m going to do, obviously sit on it awhile, get input from Kurtis (Townsend) and Norm (Roberts, assistants) and see what direction we are going to move. I do have some individuals in mind in case there ever was a potential opening. I’m at the preliminary stages on doing anything,” Self said.
If Self wanted to, he could ask the NCAA for an emergency recruiter during the rest of the spring period, such as director of basketball operations Doc Sadler.
“I don’t know if we’ll need that. We only have basically 10 days left (in recruiting period),” Self said, “and three guys can be on the road. We have a limited number of total days we can be out so I don’t think that will be a factor,” Self said of being shorthanded.
“It’s not bad timing. Most of our recruiting was done in the fall by signing five guys. We’re in the process of trying to bring in a couple more guys. I don’t know if there’s ever perfect timing, but the timing is fine,” Self said.
4/17/13, 2:10 PM
I’m also appreciative of all that Bill and Cindy Self have done for us and the great players and fans at Kansas ...
It’s been a great 10 years and a great experience at KU for me and my family.
There’s only one emotion FGCU’s hiring of Joe Dooley as its men’s basketball coach should elicit from the Eagles players, fans and supporters.
Total, complete, absolute elation.
A program precious few outside of Southwest Florida and — let’s be honest, not all that many inside of — knew or cared much about one month ago just got its coach from the University of Kansas.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk Kansas.
Phog Allen Kansas.
Wilt Chamberlain Kansas.
Even the last fan on the FGCU bandwagon, the one who enjoys “Chris Feeler” and his loopty-loop slam dunk shots, knows the Jayhawks are one of a handful of college basketball bluebloods.
Kansas may not have invented basketball, but the man who did, Dr. James Naismith, was its first coach. He started the program in 1898, just 32 years after the first person settled in Fort Myers.
This cradle of college basketball is a coveted destination spot for coaches.
…As for the Eagles’ fans and supporters, both new and old, they should all be excited that FGCU basketball has not only reached the big time, but has a chance to stay there.
Not because its coach is a millionaire married to a model, or its players are exciting dunkers or its campus has a beach.
But because the Eagles’ future is so bright, a coach as accomplished as Dooley wanted to be a part of it.
Now that’s a Cinderella story.
Excited for Dooley’s opportunity, but a bit sad at losing not only one of his top assistant coaches, but a close friend.
“He’s done just about everything you can do as a basketball coach in a program,” Self said in a phone interview with The News-Press. “But it’s time. He’s had opportunities to move to get other jobs, but this is the one he felt most comfortable with. He told me all along this is the best opportunity he’s seen come his way. He’s so excited about it.”
“You’re going to get a guy who’s unbelievably well-connected,” Self said. “You’ll get a guy with a lot of personality that’s extremely tough. Works guys the way they deserve to be worked to put a great product on the floor. You’ll see a guy that’s tremendous at making relationships and guys love playing for him.
“He’s an excellent skill development guy and he’s a basketball junkie. He watches more basketball than anybody. He gives me more ideas than anybody that we can potentially implement to help our team. I’ll miss his ideas.
“But more than anything I’ll probably miss his friendship. We’re colleagues but we’ve also become very close. That is one reason why it’s not bittersweet, I’m just so happy for (Dooley’s wife) Tanya and (son) Max and himself to have this opportunity.”
“He’s a fun loving guy; he’s hilarious,” Self said. “His personality is very dry. He’ll say some things that you will stop and think about and say ‘That’s some funny stuff.’
“But he’s not one of those outwardly guys that are trying to be the life of the party. He always fit in but he has a great presence about him, when he walks into the room everybody’s going to know it.”
With FGCU athletic director Ken Kavanagh naming Kansas assistant Joe Dooley as the new coach on Wednesday, Canzano is hoping it lends a bolt of energy.
“It’s awesome,” said Canzano, who was prepared to offer Enfield $50,000 off a home to stay and will offer $50,000 off a home he’d build for Dooley. “I’m glad they moved quickly.”
One person excited about the hire is Chris Welling, a member of FGCU’s booster board. He’s a Kansas graduate and has followed the program closely.
“I did joke I’d wear a Kansas shirt to the next meeting, sure,” said Welling, who earned his pharmacy degree from the school in 1996. “I’m in good standing. I’d wear it over or under my FGCU shirt. I tell everyone I like to cross dress.”
Calling it a “great hire,” Welling said the Jayhawks’ success the last 10 years speaks for itself.
“It’s one of the best in the country, they’ve averaged 30 wins a season,” he said. “He was a good aide to coach (Bill) Self.”
This FGCU basketball team has talked openly and lovingly in recent weeks about being a “family.” That family dynamic was just altered and not in a small way.
We saw last month how everyone at FGCU handled success. Now we’ll find out how they handle disappointment.
For his part, Joe Dooley could not be doing any more to keep the family together. He has offered jobs to both Richter and Fly. Most incoming coaches want to hire their own staffs. Andy Enfield retained no one at USC. One assistant is sometimes kept but rarely two (Dooley also wants to keep popular Director of Basketball Operations Joey Cantens). Both Richter and Fly have been pros long enough to know this gesture is more than an olive branch.
If that’s not enough to satisfy the players, Kansas (like FGCU) plays an up-tempo style which Dooley has pledged to continue. Dooley has previous head coaching experience (four years at East Carolina, winning record, one trip to NCAA tournament), is a big-time recruiter and is popular with his former players (players at different schools talk to one another all the time).
From a basketball perspective, this is a stunningly good hire. It is bold but it does come with risk.
Which when you think about it, is how FGCU plays and why they’re in this situation to begin with.
Dooley is eminently qualified and Ken Kavanagh has a great track record when making this hire.
The basketball program seems poised to pick up where they left off but that depends on which team Dooley will be coaching.
He signed on for Dunk City not Transfer City.
Straight Flexin who u got? We got @A_Hudy #KUCMB @AndrewWhite03
Students at the University of Kansas will benefit from a new center to be built on Naismith Drive, thanks to a leadership gift from KU alumni Paul and Katherine DeBruce, of Mission Hills.
The three-story center will provide much-needed dining and meeting facilities for students, faculty and visitors on the south part of campus. Moreover, it will become the permanent home of James Naismith’s original "Rules of Basket Ball" and will be connected to the northeast corner of historic Allen Fieldhouse.
The facility, which will be named the DeBruce Center, will be funded solely from private gifts and is estimated to cost $18 million. KU Endowment is working to complete funding for the 31,000-square-foot center; construction is expected to begin this year.
Paul and Katherine DeBruce graduated from KU in 1973. Katherine earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and Paul earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
“Katherine and I are excited and lucky to be a part of this new facility at KU,” said Paul DeBruce. “Our years on the Hill helped provide a foundation for each of us to be successful and give back to our community. Part of that experience was academic, but a lot of it included the many friends we made there and the fond memories of attending basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse. We hope the new center will be a place on campus that students and faculty will want to come to and enjoy. It will be a meeting place for friends and a place to further honor KU traditions.”
The building’s centerpiece, Naismith’s original basketball rules, will likely be located on its second floor, where the building will connect to the second-floor concourse of Allen Fieldhouse, Seuferling said. Surrounding the rules, and lining the walls of the walkway into the Fieldhouse, will be other exhibit materials celebrating the history and tradition of KU basketball, he said.
“The rules will serve as a prominent beginning for the exhibit space, and obviously a big tourist attraction,” Seuferling said.
The exhibits in the Booth Hall of Athletics at the Fieldhouse’s east entrance will expand up some stairs into the second-floor concourse, he said, where they will connect with the DeBruce Center’s walkway.
Planners also envision a small theater that will show videos on KU basketball history, as well as a retail space for KU memorabilia and clothing. Elsewhere in the center will be restaurant and dining space, a possible coffee shop area and meeting and event spaces.
Ever notice that it’s the off-Broadway players who are the biggest hits with the Allen Fieldhouse faithful? It’s usually not the guys who lead the team in either scoring or NBA dollars earned, rather the ones who hustle their way onto the floor and play supporting roles. Kevin Young was that guy on this year’s Kansas University basketball team.
Just watching him play, it’s obvious he doesn’t think he’s special. And he comes across the same way in conversations off the court.
Young’s appearance in the Douglas County Fairgrounds livestock arena Wednesday did nothing but grow the popularity of the senior from Southern California. It was quite the sight watching the long, slender basketball player doing battle in the Rubik’s Cube with an Olympic shot-put medalist whose shoulders look as wide as the lane on a basketball court. It was easy to tell the shot-put celebrity from the basketball player. About three of Young’s arms could fit into one of Hoffa’s.
Hoffa was able to defeat KU senior basketball player Kevin Young in the celebrity Rubik’s Cube-solving competition. Hoffa, who has completed the Cube in a personal-best 38 seconds, needed a minute, 25 seconds to solve the Cube.
“Once I saw his cube, I knew I wasn’t in any trouble. If he had a Chinese or well-lubed Rubik’s Cube, I knew I’d be in trouble,” Hoffa said. “I take it seriously. Mine is a competition cube. The cube he has is 9 bucks; this is a $26 cube.”
Young said he had a lot of fun competing before a crowd that KU officials estimated at about 1,000.
“When he pulled his cube out of a case, I was, ‘Oh,’” Young said with a smile.
“I got a new cube and a shirt for this,” added Young, who bought a Rubik’s Cube hooded sweatshirt and T-shirt for the event. “It’s impressive on his part. He’s legit.”
Cole Aldrich Basketball Camp June 24-27 (K-8th grade) Olathe, Kansas. More details at ColeAldrich.com
Seniors Carolyn Davis, Monica Engelman and Angel Goodrich each held center stage Wednesday night at the annual Kansas women's basketball year-end banquet in the KU Union Ballroom, as the three 1,000-point scorers finished their collegiate careers as the winners of the coveted Ms. Jayhawk Award.
After a highlight video to start the event, Kansas Director of Athletics Sheahon Zenger welcomed the crowd of 300 or so and congratulated the Jayhawks on their second-straight NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 run. Head coach Bonnie Henrickson then addressed the group of staff, team and supporters before handing out the team awards.
Davis and Goodrich joined sophomore Asia Boyd on the stage as members of the AD Honor Roll, while Goodrich was highlighted for her Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors. Davis and Goodrich were also recognized for their All-Big 12 efforts with Goodrich being named to the first team and Davis claiming her third-straight honor with a second-team plaudit. Goodrich was also recognized for being named to the WBCA All-America honorable team, the WBCA All-Region 5 squad and being selected in the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Tulsa Shock with the 29th overall pick.
Henrickson finished the award portion of the ceremony by presenting the Ms. Jayhawk Award, the evening's top honor. The award is bestowed each season to the player, or players, that encompass what it means to be a Jayhawk. It is a reflection of a player's high-character, high-motor and competitive drive.
"We saw you bring the swagger back (to Kansas women's basketball)," Henrickson said as she addressed the seniors. "We saw you change the program. We have seen you triumph. We have seen you cry; and we have seen you overcome - all three of you. We watched it with you. Shared it with you and struggled with you, but now we watch you hang diplomas on your walls. For each of you, we cannot wait for bigger, better and brighter."
Big 12/College News
It’s official. Marcus Smart is putting off his NBA career for at least one year to return to Oklahoma State for his sophomore season.
To say his decision was unexpected would be an understatement. Smart was more or less assured of being a lottery pick had he turned pro. Instead, he is staying in school for what is sure to be the most anticipated Oklahoma State basketball season in recent memory.
Smart’s return will make such an impact that many now consider Oklahoma State the favorite to win the Big 12 next season.
With that in mind, here is a look at how I would vote if my preseason Big 12 basketball poll was due today:
1. Oklahoma State
Smart, Le’Bryan Nash and Markel Brown were three of the most talented players in the Big 12 last season. Just think what they could accomplish together next season. The Cowboys return the Big 12′s Player of the Year in Smart, a talented forward in Nash and one of the conference’s most underrated scorers in Brown. And the only key contributor they lose is Philip Jurick. Some will doubt Oklahoma State because of underachieving coach Travis Ford, but the Cowboys have to be considered the preseason favorites with so much returning talent.
If the Jayhawks want to extend their Big 12 championship streak to 10, they will have to do it with a new starting five. Though talented reserves Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe return, Kansas will lose the bulk of players who helped it reach the Sweet 16 last season. It won’t be an easy rebuild, but there is a reason the Jayhawks were projected by most as the preseason league favorite before Smart announced he was coming back. They are bringing in an impressive five-man recruiting class, which is ranked second nationally. Five-star recruits Wayne Selden and center Joel Embiid will join Brannen Greene, Conner Frankamp and Frank Mason. Kansas is also still in the hunt for Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 rated recruit in the country. Bill Self has guided young teams to conference titles before, but there is no way to tell how so much new talent will jell until the season starts.
3. Kansas State
Angel Rodriguez, Shane Southwell, Will Spradling and Thomas Gipson provide a nucleus. If incoming guard Marcus Foster is as good as advertised and Wesley Iwundu can play meaningful minutes as a freshman K-State will finish near the top of the Big 12 standings.
It’s hard to predict how good Baylor will be without knowing whether Cory Jefferson and Isiah Austin are coming back. If both big men return, the Bears will have one of the most formidable front courts in the nation and should be able to compete for a higher finish than fourth. If one or both turn pro, Baylor will have to learn to play without them and point guard Pierre Jackson. A strong recruiting class will join Rico Gathers and Brady Heslip, regardless. So the Bears will be talented. But they were talented last season, too, and had to settle for the NIT.
5. West Virginia
The Mountaineers were downright bad in their first Big 12 season, but with Bob Huggins in charge I expect that to change. West Virginia is losing three transfers, but is replacing them with three top 150 recruits.
Somewhere Oklahoma State University team owner T. Boone Pickens has to be smiling. Kansas' run of Big 12 titles, which stands at nine consecutive, should be over.
Smart was expected to be top five pick in the 2013 NBA draft had he elected to enter. This is a major coup for Okie State and coach Travis Ford, and for college basketball. Not many guys of Smart's caliber stick around for two years.
He is by far the best player returning to the Big 12 next season. The 6-foot-4, 225 pound freshman from Flower Mound led the team in scoring with 15.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He set a conference freshman record for steals with 99.
The two things he needs to clean up: 3 point shooting (38-for-131) and ballhandling (139 assists to 111 turnovers).
Oklahoma State finished third in the Big 12 last season and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament against Oregon. This should be a Sweet 16 team next season, at least.
Along with Smart, Okie State should return Markel Brown (All-Big 12 second team), Le'Bryan Nash (All-Big 12 third team), Michael Cobbins (honorable mention) and Phil Forte (team record for 3s by a freshman).
If this team does not win this conference, T. Boone will not be pleased.
K.J. Bluford, a 6-2, 185-pound shooting guard from Northeast Community College (Nebraska), signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Iowa State for the upcoming 2013-14 season, Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg announced today. Bluford is considered one of the best shooters in junior college hoops, drilling 205 3-pointers in his two-year career. A second-team All-Region XI pick in 2013, Bluford averged 17.8 points and made 113 3-pointers at a 38.8 percent clip.
Junior college standout point guard Kenny Chery has signed a national letter of intent with NIT champion Baylor.
Chery, a 6-foot guard who played the past two seasons at State Fair Community College in Missouri, signed Wednesday. Three post players signed with the Bears during the early period in November.
Chery, from Canada, averaged 16.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 26 games last season, when he made 45 percent of his 3-pointers.
Grant Jerrett has declared himself eligible for the NBA after one season at Arizona.
A 6-foot-10 freshman, Jerrett announced Wednesday that he is leaving the Wildcats to pursue his lifelong dream of playing professional basketball.
Part of a heralded recruiting class by coach Sean Miller, Jerrett averaged 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in 34 games, including two starts. He had a high of 15 points against Oral Roberts and had 10 rebounds against UCLA.
DraftExpress Early Entry Tracker
CBS NBA Draft Early Entry Tracker
Derby Classic (Frankamp scheduled to participate)
4/18 Night of the Future Stars (3pt and dunk contest)
LIVE online feed (H/T jayhawk42000 on jayhawkslant.com)
4/19 Derby Festival Basketball Classic
AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE ALL-USA PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Andrew Wiggins | G-F | Huntington (W.Va.) Prep | 6-8, 205 | Undecided
The facts: Averaged 23.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists this season, leading team to 30-3 record and a No. 7 ranking in the USA TODAY Sports Super 25. Son of former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and Marita Payne-Wiggins, a two-time Olympic track silver medalist for Canada. Grew up in Toronto but played at Huntington Prep the past two seasons.
My game in song: I like that song that Cityphil made for me (Andrew Wiggins). He was rapping about me and talking about my team.
MORE: Wiggins has his own country song, too
Favorite teachers: Mr. (Sean) White for art. I can be myself around him. We make jokes. In Canada, it was Mr. (Constantine) Gymnopoulos. He was my basketball coach, but he also taught phys ed.
Most embarrassing: I scored on my own basket when I was in a game in fifth grade.
Most used phone app: Instagram on Twitter.
People don’t know that I: Play a lot of video games, mostly Call of Duty.
Underrated virtue: A passion for others.
MORE: Wiggins adapts to attention as college decision nears Good read: Trapped Between the Lash and the Gun (by Arvella Whitmore). About a boy who finds a watch that takes him back in time and he lives the life of an African who is a slave in America and it shows him how fortunate he is. He gets back into regular time and he didn’t want to join a gang, so they beat him up or shoot him, I can’t remember. It was a while ago when I read it, but he survives. It was an excellent book.
What I miss most about Canada: Not being with my family and friends and that environment.
AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE THIRD TEAM
Joel Embiid | C | The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.) | 7-0, 230 | Kansas
Averaged 13.0 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.8 bpg.
4/17/13, 7:05 PM
Gotta run the floor like a cheetah, be physical in the paint like Amare, rebound like Reggie Evans, pass like Marc Gasol, block like Ibaka!!
Just kicked @KATis32 ass in FIFA 6-1
White Team – Dante Exum, Sergey Karasev, Tomas Dimsa, Mouhammadou Jaiteh, and Livio Jean-Charles.
Black Team – Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Dennis Schroder, Karl Towns, Nikola Ivanovic, and Gabriel Deck
Although the score went back to 0-0 after each quarter the White Team won the scrimmage 68-51 when the totals from each quarter were added together (Exum and Schroder both scored 2 points in the first quarter conveniently canceling each other out). Below are stats from the scrimmage which was watched by a throng of NBA scouts.
Livio Jean-Charles – 19 PTS, 8-12 FGs, 0-1 3FGs, 5 rebs, 2 assists, 1 TO, 1 blk, 2 steals, 3-3 FTs
Andrew Wiggins – 17 PTS, 7-16 FGs, 2-7 3FGs, 3 rebs, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1-2 FTs
Mouhammadou Jaiteh – 15 PTS, 6-10 FGs, 9 rebs, 3 TO, 1 steal, 3-3 FTs
Karl Towns – 14 PTS, 7-12 FGs, 0-1 3FGs, 3 rebs, 1 assist, 1 TO, 1 blk, 1 steal
Tomas Dimsa – 14 PTS, 5-8 FGs, 4-6 3FGs, 3 assists, 2 TO, 1 steal
Sergey Karasev – 13 PTS, 5-11 FGs, 3-8 3FGs, 5 rebs, 3 assists, 1 TO, 1 steal
Dennis Schroder – 11 PTS, 4-9 FGs, 2-3 3FGs, 5 assists, 2 TO, 3 steals, 1-2 FTs
Dante Exum – 7 PTS, 1-4 FGs, 0-1 3FGs, 6 rebs, 2 assists, 4 TO, 2 steals, 5-6 FTs
Joel Embiid – 4 PTS, 2-3 FGs, 2 rebs, 1 TO, 4 blocks, 1 steal
Gabriel Deck – 4 PTS, 2-5 FGs, 5 rebs, 2 assists, 1 TO
Nikola Ivanovic – 2 PTS, 1-7 FGs, 0-4 3FGs, 2 rebs, 1 assist, 1 TO
Self next week will conduct an in-home recruiting visit with Jahlil Okafor, the No. 1-ranked player in the Class of 2014, according to Rivals.com. Okafor, 6-foot-10, 280 pounds from Chicago Whitney Young High, has visited with Ohio State coaches. He’s also considering Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina, Illinois, DePaul, Arizona, Kentucky, Baylor and others.
I remember when I interviewed former North Carolina standout and current NBA rookie Harrison Barnes, the No. 1 prospect in the 2009 recruiting class per RecruitingNation, following an AAU tournament. He was the most mature young basketball player I’d ever encountered. His responses were measured and substantive, much like his maneuvers on the court.
He was ready.
And then we found out that he wasn’t Michael, just Harrison.
Talented and fluid but raw in some areas of his game.
The doubts soon followed. I was in San Juan, Puerto Rico, when he went 0-for-12 in a loss to Minnesota during a nonconference tourney. I talked to NBA scouts who’d attended the event. Just months into Barnes’ freshman campaign, they wondered if he had the necessary edge to compete at the next level.
That’s how quickly things can change.
That’s the scrutiny Wiggins will face in 2013-14.
His contemporaries have already made their decisions. His delay is a message, whether he realizes it or not.
“I’m that good, that legit. So I’ll make the world wait.”
I understand the philosophy and respect his right to take his time. It’s a huge decision.
But he should know that the pressure is growing. Every day.
Wiggins can’t be a good player next season. He has to be an All-American, a star. That’s the only status that will justify the early praise.
Anything less than that will be considered a disappointment. Is that fair? Doesn’t matter. It’s the reality.
I know it seems like a lot to put on the shoulders of a teenager. But that’s college basketball in 2013.
He’ll be applauded when he finally makes a choice. He will not, however, have a grace period to prove his worth.
If he goes to Kentucky, he’ll have to be the best player in a recruiting class that’s already been labeled as “the greatest of all-time” without him.
If he goes to Kansas, he’ll be expected to lead the Jayhawks to their 10th consecutive Big 12 championship and second Final Four bid in three years.
If he goes to Florida State, he’ll be asked to turn the Seminoles -- who went 9-9 in conference play last season -- into ACC contenders and lead them deep into the NCAA tournament.
If he goes to North Carolina, he’ll have to be the next great Tar Heel and take the program to Dallas.
Again, Wiggins is not naive. I’m sure he gets all of this.
But the reality, once it materializes months from now, could surpass everything he’s predicted about his collegiate experience.
I’ve watched Wiggins play multiple times. He is a special talent.
Next season, however, he’ll have to confirm the rankings and ratings that place him one step above a class that features a multitude of one-and-done athletes.
So I hope he enjoys this.
Whenever he makes his choice, the news will warrant headlines throughout the country. He’ll elevate the projections of the team he picks. He’ll be lauded as a game-changer.
But he can’t answer this pressing question until next season: Was Wiggins worth the wait?
I hope he’s ready.
Next week, Wiggins will also have visitors as coaching staffs from his finalists plan to stop by.
“They all called and said they were going to swing by and give it one last crack at it,” Huntington coach Rob Fulford said.
Kentucky was already in town two weeks ago for face time. North Carolina arrives Monday, followed by Kansas on Tuesday and Florida State on Wednesday.
Even after the visits, it’s not like Wiggins will go into hiding to make his decision. Those visits simply mean that Wiggins, who doesn’t like the attention, will have each piece of the recruiting process fully out of the way.
“After Wednesday, we’ll shut it down and let him have some peace,” Fulford said. “He hasn’t given us any indication [he’s ready].”
ESPN Insider ($)
At last week’s Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn, Wiggins shared very little information, and nothing new, on his recruitment.
“He talked to a few of the national media, but he really did not talk to anyone locally,” said Rob Fulford, Wiggins’ coach at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep. “He talked to USA Today and one group from Canada, but he refused Sports Illustrated. He just didn’t want to do a lot of interviewing. It’s the same questions about wanting to know the timetable for a decision and where he’s going. He doesn’t know.”
Yet the speculation never stops. Fulford was sitting at dinner when Keith Jenkins, the editorial graphics producer at ESPN, tweeted the decision was Florida State.
“I texted Andrew across the room and said he needed to tweet out something to stop this from blowing up so I could enjoy my dinner,” Fulford, who was one of the Jordan Brand coaches, said.
Then there’s the theory that Fulford might get a job on Rick Pitino’s staff at Louisville and bring Wiggins with him.
“If the position was offered to me at Louisville, I would take it. But that’s not saying Andrew is coming there,” Fulford said.
But what about speculation that Wiggins will make his college choice during the Nike Hoop Summit Saturday?
“He’s not said anything about the 20th to us. I am not saying he might not do it at the Hoop Summit. But I until I hear it from him, it doesn’t exist in my mind,” Fulford said. “He has been too busy to really worry about it. These kids have funs at these games. It’s not like they are sitting around talking about him coming to Kentucky or North Carolina.”
Fulford says he knows Wiggins, and others playing a third straight week, have to be tired.
“I am wore out and I did not play. We spent a lot of time in traffic,” Fulford said. “Andrew flew out of New York Sunday about 6 p.m. and texted me when he landed in Portland at 11:56. He had weigh-in and measurements at 9 the next morning and then two practices. They are doing a lot.”
But one thing has not changed during all this time. Don’t believe the speculation about Wiggins or what any so-called source says.
“I have old everyone from day one, and apparently some people do not want to listen, if the information does not come out of Andrew Wiggins’ mouth, there is no accountability period. I keep saying that and have all year,” Fulford said. “Everybody says, ‘I got a source.’ No you don’t. The only source for this is Andrew.”
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