NCB On The Trail: Andrew Wiggins

#AskCoachB: Future for Kansas

March, 31, 2014
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Freshman center Joel Embiid has yet to officially announce his NBA draft decision, but it looks like fellow freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins will do so on Monday. The school released a statement that the 6-foot-8 freshman from Canada will make an announcement at 3 p.m. ET. When you have an announcement set up, it usually means you are going somewhere, not staying.

Looking ahead to 2015, Naadir Tharpe will be graduating next year, which makes point guard an absolute need in the 2015 class. Everyone will also be keeping tabs on returning wing Wayne Selden and incoming freshmen Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre next season.

The Jayhawks' needs in 2015 could be many depending on which players declare for the NBA draft next year. Here is an early peek at their wish list in 2015. On the perimeter there's Malik Newman, Jalen Brunson, Jalen Adams, Antonio Blakeney, Montaque Gill-Ceasar and P.J. Dozier. Dozier, who has been sidelined with a knee injury this year, will be back and has already shown the talent to be a high-major prospect.

The main targets for the frontcourt are ESPN 60 No. 1 Ivan Rabb, Diamond Stone, Stephen Zimmerman, Chase Jeter and Carlton Bragg.

This is an early, fluid list of recruits Kansas has targeted. There is a very good chance this list will change after the spring evaluation period.

#AskCoachB: Talking Tyler Ennis

December, 9, 2013
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I agree, as I absolutely loved Tyler Ennis in the high school ranks. What I respected most about his game was the poise in which he played with and how he led.

As a freshman he is doing an outstanding job leading the Orange to a top-5 national ranking in an unassuming fashion. Over nine games he is playing 31 minutes per game, and he is making the most of those minutes.

He serves as Syracuse’s primary ball-handler, making decisions and scoring when needed. His assist to turnover ratio is 5:1, which is tremendous . He is nailing the 3-point shot at a 42 percent clip, which is impressive since the college 3-point line is a foot further than then the high school line (20-foot-9 vs. 19-9).

It’s obvious that Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, and Aaron Gordon are elite players and difference makers as freshmen, but Ennis is definitely in the conversation as a top-10 freshman.
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.



Much has been said about Andrew Wiggins and comparing last year’s top player to LeBron James and Kevin Durant out of high school.

No one that I have seen in my 20 years in college coaching, except Kobe Bryant, has been as athletic, cerebral or skilled as LeBron James.

As far as Kevin Durant goes, he was very good out of high school, but he was not even close to the player he is today as one of the NBA’s best.

Unfortunately, some are comparing Wiggins to James and Durant as NBA players which is absurd.

Wiggins brings NBA athleticism to the college game. He finalizes plays in the open floor and in traffic as well as anyone in the country.

When he is in attack mode he is always trying to get closer to the rim and is an exciting player who can make a highlight at a moment’s notice. His jumpshot is improving from the mid-range but needs more work and from behind the arc where he is streaky at best. Because he is most comfortable and confident when he finds his way into the paint, he creates fouls and gets to the free throw line for points.

All that being said, comparisons are natural, but when the names of LeBron James or Kevin Durant pop up that is unfair.
The ACC, SEC, Pac-12, Big East and AAC all held their annual media days this week, with the Big 12 and Big Ten scheduled to follow suit next week. That means we’re seeing a variety of preseason coaches' polls identifying the top teams, players and freshmen in each conference.

From a recruiting perspective, one of the most interesting aspects of the preseason polls is finding the discrepancies between our final ESPN 100 rankings and coaches’ expectations just a few months later.

[+] EnlargeTyler Innis
AP PhotoFreshman Tyler Ennis will likely play big minutes at point guard for Syracuse.
The reality is that player rankings and preseason polls are projecting two different things, so sometimes the highest-ranked players coming out of high school aren’t the ones coaches expect to make the most immediate impact as college freshmen.

Our ESPN rankings are based on three weighted criteria: NBA potential, projected college impact and high school productivity. Preseason polls are only relevant to the second and have a narrower lens since they’re only considering the upcoming season and not the entire scope of a college career.

The other major difference between final recruit rankings and preseason college polls is the presence of variables. Opportunity and fit, both with style of play and current personnel, are exceptionally important when assessing how impactful freshmen can be in their debut season but aren’t relevant when calculating final rankings coming out of high school.

With those variances in mind, here’s a look at five college freshmen whose immediate impact should exceed their final ESPN 100 ranking in the Class of 2013.


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Kentucky should be just fine 

September, 12, 2013
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Six months ago, John Calipari seemed virtually invincible on the recruiting trail. He was riding a wave of momentum fueled by his 2012 national championship, incredible recent success in the NBA draft, and being on the verge of delivering one of the top recruiting classes in the history of college basketball.

But then, unexpectedly, a few breaks went against Kentucky. Top-ranked Andrew Wiggins capped the 2013 class by picking Kansas, and then Calipari lost out to his former mentor, Larry Brown, as his top point guard target of 2014, Emmanuel Mudiay (Dallas/Prime Prep Academy), picked SMU last month.

So have Calipari and Kentucky lost a step?


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Editor's note: This story originally ran on Feb. 28. With Andrew Wiggins' college decision on tap for Tuesday afternoon at 12:15 p.m. ET, here is a complete breakdown of his game from RecruitingNation's Paul Biancardi.

By now, you probably know that Andrew Wiggins (Thornhill, Ontario/Huntington Prep) is an extra-special prospect. The best high school basketball recruit in the country, Wiggins is the kind of player who doesn’t come around very often. He’ll make an immediate impact in college and then likely go on to a long, successful NBA career.

It’s no wonder some of college basketball’s best programs -- he’s down to Kentucky, Florida State, North Carolina and Kansas -- are salivating at the chance to get him on campus.

But what exactly makes him such an amazing prospect? Here’s a full scouting report of his game, complete with strengths, areas for improvement and what his ultimate potential could be.

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No. 1 recruit Wiggins set to announce

May, 13, 2013
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The top-ranked senior and only uncommitted ESPN 100 prospect is finally ready to make his decision.

Small forward Andrew Wiggins (Thornhill, Ontario/Huntington Prep) will announce his college choice at 12:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday at a small event at his high school. Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford tweeted Sunday night that Wiggins will not hold a press conference ceremony but will instead sign in front of classmates, family and friends.

Wiggins, who will decide between Florida State, North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas, was named the 2013 Gatorade National Player of the Year after averaging 23.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists per game this season for Huntington Prep.

Wiggins is named Naismith Award winner

February, 25, 2013
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Senior small forward Andrew Wiggins (Thornhill, Ontario/Huntington Prep) was named the 2013 Naismith Trophy winner as the top boys high school basketball player on Monday. The award is handed out by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

The 6-foot-8 Wiggins is the top-ranked player in the ESPN 100 and is averaging 23.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.4 steals and 2.1 blocks for Huntington Prep this season. Other finalists for the award were seniors Jabari Parker (Chicag0/Simeon) and Aaron Gordon (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty).

Wiggins was named along with Lone Peak (Utah) head coach Quincy Lewis, who received the award as the top boys high school coach.

"The strong performances of Andrew and Quincy this season stood out for our voters among the thousands of players and coaches throughout the country," said Eric Oberman, Executive Director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. "The two are very deserving of the Naismith Awards, demonstrating the talent and will to succeed that we've come to expect from past award winners."

Wiggins remains undecided on his college plans and is considering Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina.

ESPNU's RecruitingNation to look at surprise classes 

February, 21, 2013
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ESPNU's RecruitingNation program on Thursday will take a look at some of the surprise recruiting classes in 2013.

ESPN's Director of Recruiting Paul Biancardi will break down the hauls of LSU, Memphis, Connecticut, Iowa State and Butler. The former coach will also look at the games of the top two players in the 2013 class, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, and where each could improve.

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McD's rosters and new rankings highlight RecruitingNation 

February, 14, 2013
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The McDonald's All American game rosters will be announced live on ESPNU on Thursday during a special program airing at 5 p.m. ET.

ESPN's National Recruiting Director Paul Biancardi and host Matt Schick will break down the rosters and look ahead to the annual showcase, which will be played on April 3 at Chicago's United Center.

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Hoophall preview on ESPNU RecruitingNation 

January, 16, 2013
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ESPN's National Recruiting Director Paul Biancardi will preview this weekend's Spalding Hoophall Classic on ESPNU's RecruitingNation on Thursday.

One of the marquee events during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, this year will feature 25 players in the ESPN 100. Biancardi will breakdown the games of No. 1 Andrew Wiggins and No. 2 Jabari Parker along with No. 7 Aaron Gordon, No. 8 Noah Vonleh and No. 12 Dakari Johnson. ESPN and ESPNU will televise six games on Sunday and Monday.

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