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Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Eyes on Wiggins as signing period starts

By Dave Telep



This week, as the spring signing period begins Wednesday, national letters of intent for uncommitted No. 1 prospect Andrew Wiggins (Thornhill, Ontario/Huntington Prep) arrive at his school. One of them will one day get his signature.

There’s no point in asking which one. Nobody knows. If they tell you they know, call them out. They don’t know.

Andrew Wiggins
Heading into the signing period, No. 1 recruit Andrew Wiggins is the lone uncommitted player in the ESPN 100.
The letters from Kentucky and Florida State are already there. The same paperwork from Kansas and North Carolina is en route. No other LOIs are expected to arrive. We know the final field.

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].”

Call him what you want -- a game-changer, landscape alterer or impact player. Andrew Wiggins is the lone big timer left on the board for the 2013 class. He’s the guy we’re all waiting for to decide.

Where’s the drama?

In recent years, we’ve had some active springs in senior class recruiting. In 2009, elite recruits John Wall, Xavier Henry and DeMarcus Cousins kept us on edge 'til the very end.

From that point on, high school seniors discovered one of the little secrets of recruiting: The longer you wait, the more attention you are going to receive. Ever since 2009, we’ve had some dramatic spring moments, capped by last year’s one-two punch of Nerlens Noel and Shabazz Muhammad announcing on live TV.

But this year, we entered March with only six remaining uncommitted prospects in the ESPN 100: Wiggins, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Rysheed Jordan, Keith Frazier and Kendal Yancy-Harris. Once Randle toppled for Kentucky in late March and Gordon followed with his choice of Arizona in early April, we lost our flair for the dramatic in the 2013 class.

Wiggins is the only remaining uncommitted player in the ESPN 100. This year’s spring signing period is pretty much toast even as it begins.

Demetrius Henry
Three-star power forward Demetrius Henry will play for South Carolina next season.
The five best remaining

So the elite players, save for Wiggins, are all off the board. Whom does that leave as the best available uncommitted 2013 recruits?

Power forward Junior Etou (Arlington, Va./Bishop O’Connell) could decide any day now. Two weeks ago, we were told to watch out for Xavier and Washington.

Power forward Demetrius Henry (Miami/Faith Baptist) had a good visit to Miami last weekend. South Florida and South Carolina provide the competition for the Hurricanes.

Point guard Jaren Sina (Lake Hopatcong, N.J./Gill St. Bernard’s) visited Alabama last week and had others in for home visits. His final four are Alabama, Seton Hall, Northwestern and Indiana. The Hoosiers may receive the next visit.

After those three, there’s a mishmash of guys left on the board. Power forward Lennard Freeman (Washington, D.C./Oak Hill Academy) seems likely to be a year away from contributing in college. He could go the prep route or could wind up at NC State, Villanova, Pittsburgh or UAB.

Finally, guard Shane Rector (Bronx, N.Y./South Kent) was once committed to Rutgers. Now he’s open, and you can expect to hear Minnesota and Missouri in the mix.

Final thoughts

Spring is a dangerous time to be a recruit. There’s a slew of guys who are getting recruited to levels higher than their abilities. In some cases, recruits will sign with schools where the head coach has never seen the kid play in person.

That’s dangerous for all parties. It’s the nature of the beast, however, and it’s why the most important recruits of the spring are the guys presently in your program. Retention is just as important as addition in April.