- Adam Finkelstein
It’s “What If” week in the world of college basketball as we consider a series of hypotheticals that could have changed the face of college basketball as we know it. From a recruiting standpoint, we’re looking back at decisions from recent years that could have gone in much different directions.
So what if ...
Andrew Wiggins had gone to Kentucky?
He was the top-ranked player in the ESPN 100 and widely perceived as a generational-type talent. Yet when he went on national TV to announce his commitment, not even Bill Self knew what he was going to say.
How would things have changed had Wiggins announced for Kentucky instead of Kansas on May 14, 2013? Well, for one, expectations at Kentucky would have been at an all-time high. The Wildcats’ class likely would have been anointed as the best in history and Big Blue Nation would have accepted nothing less than a national championship and maybe even an undefeated season.
We will never know if Wiggins would have been enough to push Kentucky to last season’s national championship. What we do know is that Wiggins’ Achilles’ heel over the years has been his reluctance to embrace that alpha-male mentality that goes along with being a true star. Kansas needed him to be a primary scorer, and so while there was some pressure, there was also patience as he gradually asserted himself more during the course of the year.
The dynamics would have been different at Kentucky, where he would have come in with bolder personalities such as Julius Randle and the Harrison twins. Would that have reaffirmed Wiggins’ tendency to defer, or motivated him to defend his territory right away? There’s no way of knowing, but it certainly would have been interesting to find out, especially for those NBA executives who spent the year trying to project Wiggins’ future.