- Paul Biancardi, Basketball Recruiting
From my time as an assistant coach at Ohio State, I had the opportunity to evaluate LeBron James at St. Vincent/St. Mary High School in nearby Akron. Watching him for his first two seasons in high school and over the summers, it was obvious he was headed for stardom.
In the fall of his junior season, we were playing in the Maui Invitational where dozens of NBA scouts and executives always show up to evaluate. I was in a discussion with one NBA scout who gave me some very good advice upon his evaluation of James:
"Stop sending him mail," he said. "You are wasting your postage budget." At that time, sending mail was a big part of the recruiting process.
"And don't waste your gas money, either. He is coming right to the league."
James finished his senior season as the consensus No. 1 player in a strong high school class. The NBA scout was right, and the rest was history considering James went on to become the top pick in the 2003 draft, won an NBA championship and is now known as the world's best player. Fast-forward to now.
Over the past few years I have witnessed the emergence of Andrew Wiggins, ESPN's No. 1 ranked player in the class of 2013, who is headed to Kansas. Originally labeled as the top player in 2014, he decided to reclassify back into his original class and leapfrogged the entire group. That shows his potential. It's likely he'll be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, just as LeBron was in 2003.
Their paths are clearly similar. But who was better coming from high school and why? Let's take a look at how Wiggins stacks up to James.