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Top prep prospect Andrew Wiggins follows his heart to Kansas

May 15, 2013|By Chuck Schilken
  • Andrew Wiggins smiles alongside his mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, after announcing his commitment to Kansas.
Andrew Wiggins smiles alongside his mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, after… (Sholten Singer / Associated…)

Andrew Wiggins caused quite a stir Tuesday when he finally decided what college he was going to attend -- and, therefore, which basketball team's hopes for a national title would be lifted into the stratosphere.

Fans of the four schools the Huntington (W.Va.) Prep star had named as his finalists -- Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida State -- had gotten themselves whipped up into a frenzy during the days leading up to Wednesday's deadline for recruits to sign with NCAA Division I schools.

But when the time came for the nation's top prep basketball prospect to actually make his decision public, there was no hoopla at all. No live TV coverage, no speeches, no array of team hats to use as props.

And that was the way Wiggins wanted it. He revealed his school of choice to a small gathering of family and friends in the gym where he played high school ball and then signed his letter of intent for Kansas.

“I didn't really want to open it up to the public,” Wiggins said. “I knew it would be jam-packed in here. I wanted people who appreciated me and people I appreciate to be here watching me. I wanted a lot of people I knew.”

The choice might have been somewhat of a surprise because both of his parents attended Florida State, which also has signed high school teammate and fellow Toronto native Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

But Wiggins had given no indication as to which way he was leaning, never making a verbal commitment and taking his time to make the right decision.

Kansas Coach Bill Self said Wiggins “did exactly what we said he was going to do. He told us he was going to take his time. He was going to process everything."

In the end, Wiggins said, his choice came down to one thing.

“I just followed my heart,” he said. "Kansas had my heart. So that's where I wanted to go."


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