If Andrew Wiggins chooses to attend Kentucky, he would round out one of the most impressive recruiting classes in recent memory. But if the opinion of Wiggins’ brother, Nick, is any indication perhaps the younger Wiggins does not want to be part of such a massive, high-powered class.
“They’ve got a couple kids coming (back), they got seven or eight dudes that are already signed to come in off the (McDonald’s) All-America team, and I don’t feel like it would be the best fit for him to make his own legacy,” Wichita State guard Nick Wiggins said, as reported by Yahoo. “But in the end, he’s going to make the best decision for him.”
If Wiggins commits to Kentucky, it would mean coach John Calipari secured commitments from four of the top five players in the country, according to Rivals.com, and seven of the Top 20. But where would all of the minutes and shots go?
Alex Poythress has already committed to returning to Lexington, as has center Willie Cauley-Stein. Poythress and freshman Julius Randle will battle for minutes, and the freshman duo of Andrew and Aaron Harrison will dominate minutes in the backcourt.
Wiggins would still be the focal point, as he’s the most highly touted prospect to come out of high school in some time, but there will be other stars looking for shots. Calipari & Co. proved with their 2012 national championship that getting the majority of the shots isn’t necessary to be a top pick. Wiggins is likely a lock for that top pick anyway.
But is Kentucky where he wants to call home? Would the college experience be different at North Carolina, Kansas, or Florida State?
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Much is made about the ball when it comes to how the sport of basketball is played and rightfully so, as the ball is the most important piece of equipment. Different brands have different characteristics, and with college basketball programs being able to pick the ball they use for home games there are adjustments to be made during the season.
Wisconsin will play at No. 2 Maryland Saturday, meaning that in the days leading up to the game the Badgers needed to get used to the Under Armour basketball. The brand became a conversation point in the aftermath of Maryland’s win over No. 4 Iowa last month, with the Hawkeyes (while not blaming the ball for their loss) made note of the differences between the Under Armour ball and the Nike ball they use for their home games.
Thursday Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes offered up his observations on the basketball while also pointing out (albeit sarcastically) the goal of intercollegiate athletics.
“It’s definitely different,” Hayes said. “Personally, we don’t like it too much. I don’t like the Under Armour ball whatsoever. But that’s the way this amateur sports league is set up. We’re supposed to be having fun, but all the money is in these basketballs that colleges play with. But it’s an amateur sport, we’re just here for fun. It’s not really that serious. So I guess any ball should be OK.
“Maybe we should have a universal ball like the NBA. You don’t go to the Clippers’ stadium and play with a Nike and then go to Golden State and play with a Rawlings. But in this amateur sport of college, where money isn’t the goal — it’s the student education and experience that you get — we play with a million different basketballs.”
Hayes makes a good point here, and in regards to the NBA all hell would break loose under similar circumstances (remember the leather vs. microfiber composite controversy in 2006?). If these games are solely about fun and the college experience, wouldn’t having one ball used by all schools better fit that mission? This isn’t the biggest of deals when it comes to “amateur” athletics, as different basketball brands have been used for years.
But Hayes was able to take this situation and work it into the discussion of the goals of intercollegiate athletics. Is it about the experience? Or does the ability to profit, be it through a minor move such as using a particular ball or the more impactful step of moving from one conference to another, take precedence? Given the shifts that have occurred in college sports in recent years, it’s quite apparent that the search for additional revenue streams has won out.
Hayes did note that neither he nor his teammates would make excuses, saying that the team would simple “have to get used to” the unfamiliar basketball according to the Wisconsin State Journal. In the end, this was a good use of sarcasm by Hayes to make a greater point about the collegiate athletics machine he and his teammates are but minor parts of.
It goes without saying that sports can inspire some interesting promises, from players and coaches guaranteeing victory to fans making statements that hinge on the outcome of a particular game or play (see: tattoos celebrating a team’s triumphs before they’ve even won the game in question). For one Marquette fan, the need for Providence’s Kris Dunn to miss a free throw during Wednesday night’s game (which Marquette won in overtime) inspired him to make a promise that he intended to keep.
Jamey Schilling took the approach of yelling that he’d pay Dunn $10 if he missed the free throw. Sure enough Dunn missed the shot, and Schilling made good on his promise. But with players themselves unable to receive such funds due to NCAA rules, Schilling sent the check to the Providence athletic department.
Schilling’s gesture did not go unnoticed by Marquette either, as the school sent him a gift card to use in the Marquette Spirit Shop.
H/T For The Win