The nation’s top junior hoops recruit could be graduating high school a year ahead of schedule.
Huntington Prep super-prospect Andrew Wiggins is considering reclassifying from the class of 2014 to the class of 2013, according to Adam Zagoria. Were he to make the leap, Wiggins would vie for the top spot in the 2013 recruiting rankings, competing with current class notables Jabari Parker (Simeon Vocational H.S.), Julius Randle (Prestonwood H.S.) and Andrew Harrison (Fort Bend Travis H.S.).
The coveted prospect told CatsPause.com that he was “not going to [reclassify],” but still left open the possibility that he could change his mind during the school year, as did Kentucky-bound big man Nerlens Noel earlier this year. Noel, formerly a top three prospect in the class of 2013, chose in February to move up a grade, supplanting Shabazz Muhammad as the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2012.
Like Noel, the 17-year-old Wiggins would reclassify for the sake of pushing up his projected entry into the NBA from 2014 to 2013 (Wiggins is as close to a sure-fire one-and-done talent as there is). Though a year older than most of his classmates, the reigning West Virginia High School Player of the Year would still need to complete some additional summer coursework to graduate a year early.
According to his high school coach Rob Fulford, Wiggins and his family plan to sit down with Fulford over the next few weeks and decide one way or another whether to go through with the reclassification. If he does decide to forgo his senior season and attend college one year early, Wiggins would cause a seismic shift in the recruiting landscape.
A 6-foot-7 wing, Wiggins is perhaps the most athletic wing in all of high school basketball, irrespective of grade. Some talent evaluators even believe Wiggins is the best high school player remaining, better than the senior Parker, senior Randle and each of the Harrison twins.
Wiggins also told Zagoria he has a list of his top five potential college destinations—North Carolina, Duke and Syracuse, among them—but that two in particular stand out: Florida State and Kentucky.
Duke, in particular, would be affected by Wiggins changing classes. In addition to being earmarked as a top five finalist for Wiggins, the Blue Devils are serious players in the Parker sweepstakes as well. Wiggins’ reclassification could prompt Coach Krzyzewski to choose which player to court more aggressively. Concurrently recruiting two players who wouldn’t coexist at Duke—Parker and Wiggins play the same position—would be a waste of time and resources for Coach K, especially with more pressing needs on his recruiting docket.
North Carolina is in a similar boat as its Tobacco Road nemesis. Though the Tar Heels are lukewarm at best on the Parker front and much stronger in the Wiggins chase, head coach Roy Williams too would have to choose which player is more worth the effort. Perhaps the next play for Williams would be to leave one scholarship open for both players, available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Both Parker and Wiggins are one-and-done talents. Were they to remain in different graduating classes, the two could theoretically choose the same school in successive years (Parker for the 2013-2014 season and Wiggins for the 2014-2015 campaign). But if Wiggins joins Parker in the class of 2013, that possibility goes out the window. Teams jockeying with Duke and Carolina for either of the two star wings would then gain a nice recruiting boon, as both schools would effectively have to back off in the recruitment of one of the pair.
In the war of attrition that marks the recruiting game, advantages like that are pivotal.
One such school that would benefit from Wiggins’ reclassification is Florida State. The Huntington native has ties to Tallahassee in his bloodline, which makes the Seminoles a viable contender in his recruitment. Both of Wiggins’ parents—his father Mitchell, a former NBA player, and mother Marita, a former Canadian track star—attended FSU.
Kentucky, meanwhile, has pursued Wiggins the longest. UK head man John Calipari watched Wiggins play with Team Canada two years ago and has accelerated his full-court press on the high school star ever since.
Whether he follows in his father’s footsteps or pursues the modern lure of playing for Coach Cal at Kentucky is still a long way away from being determined. Before Wiggins can choose a school and don a hat on an ESPN-U special, he’ll have to settle on a graduation year first.
Topics: Andrew Harrison, Andrew Wiggins, Class Of 2014, Coach K, Duke, Florida State, Huntington, Jabari Parker, John Calipari, Julius Randle, Kentucky, Leonard Hamilton, North Carolina, Reclassification, Reclassify, Recruiting, Roy Williams, Syracuse, West Virginia, Wing