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Andrew Wiggins is carrying the baton

5/2/2012

We talk a lot about genetics on this blog and how some players are simply more fortunate than others. Andrew Wiggins (Toronto, Ontario/Huntington Prep (W.Va.)) is the son of a former Florida State basketball standout.

Mitchell Wiggins, a native of Kinston, N.C., played collegiately at Florida State. He averaged 23 points a game during his career at Florida State and was part of the USA’s 1982 silver medal team at the world championship.

“He’s a great person,” Andrew said of his father. “He influenced me and taught me how to play basketball. To this day I still can’t guard him but he can’t guard me either.” Now that makes sense.

However, neither of them could catch up to Andrew’s mother.

Marita Payne-Wiggins was born in Barbados but is Canadian and until further notice, she’s the best athlete in the family. Marita ran track at Florida State and has an Olympic gold medal. In 1984, she was part of the top 4x400 relay team in the world.

You think Andrew Wiggins has some advantages athletically? The No. 1 player in the Class of 2014 is Canadian and that means while he laces them up on U.S. soil for Huntington Prep in West Virginia, the U.S. will probably have to play against him in the Olympics one day. First things first.

Last weekend, Kentucky sent its entire staff to watch Wiggins. The week before, he averaged 17 points in his 2012 EYBL debut and Florida State was at every one of his games. Syracuse and North Carolina are programs that follow him and he likes them as well.

“I watch a lot of college basketball but I don’t think about where I’m going to play,” Wiggins said. “I look for exciting plays, see what the top players on each team do and what they do best.”

The CIA Bounce standout isn’t merely a scorer. He’s a player and that means he doesn’t dominate with shot attempts. He is a unique athlete with a gift to create within the team concept. At the same time, his exceptional athletic ability allows him to transition from the perimeter to the rim, where he makes big-time plays look easy.

Take his highlight dunk in Hampton last week for instance. PG Tyler Ennis (Brampton, Ontario/St. Benedict's), who plays with Wiggins on CIA Bounce said he’s seen him do some freaky things before, but nothing like the dunk he had last weekend. “He went up and was going to dunk it but the guy moved and he went and dunked it on the other side,” Ennis said.

To hear Wiggins replay the dunk, it sounded more pedestrian when clearly it wasn’t. “There was a screen coming for me and I rejected the screen. I kind of twisted my body up in the air and contorted it.”

Either way, it won’t be Wiggins' last highlight.

Florida State would prefer to keep it in the family and sign this kid in the fall of 2013.

“They’ll always be in my recruitment because it’s always nice to follow in my parents footsteps,” Wiggins said.

Some footsteps leave big footprints. Wiggins’ footprint could wind up being larger than the ones he’d follow.