Earlier today, we reported on Bill Self’s speculation about the summer plans of Andrew Wiggins. The season’s biggest recruit is from Canada, and has the opportunity to represent his home country on the FIBA U19 team. Self believed that Wiggins would give at least part of his summer over to Team Canada.
Turns out Self was wrong.
According to the Basketball Canada website, Wiggins has chosen to focus on getting ready for his freshman year of DI basketball, and will forego his berth on the Junior Men’s National Team.
Wiggins’ decision may be a disappointment to Canadians in the short term, but the long-term outlook for Team Canada may actually become more attractive if Wiggins spends extra time in the Bill Self talent development pipeline. Wiggins and several other talented Canadian stars will make for a super-tough squad in the upcoming Olympic games.
Rowan Barrett, executive vice-president and assistant general manager of Canada Basketball’s Senior Men’s program, commented that, “at 18 years old, Andrew has a long basketball career ahead of him. Andrew’s decision to prepare himself this summer for the upcoming season is a decision we acknowledge. Our team will miss Andrew this summer, but we remain focused on Andrew’s long-term development and our organizational goals for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and beyond”.
Wiggins could still play for the senior team later this summer. As our own Scott Phillips pointed out earlier, Canadian citizens with NBA skills like Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson are becoming more and more common, which could lead to a truly dangerous Canadian hoops squad in 2016.
Eric Angevine is editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.
Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.
Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.
Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.
Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).
In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.