Andrew Wiggins is the biggest name in high school basketball right now. Standing 6’8”, Wiggins is an elite player with rare athleticism. The consensus #1 prospect in the nation has been, understandably, drawing comparisons to LeBron James. If you haven’t gotten a chance to see Wiggins, take a deep breath, and check out the video below from ballislife.com. It has become apparent the two front-runners for signing him are Kentucky and Florida State. FSU may come as a surprise to those that don’t know much about Wiggins. While many factors weigh into a decision like this for the projected 2014 #1 draft pick, I believe there are several key reasons why Wiggins will ultimately choose Florida State over Kentucky.
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His father, Mitchell Wiggins, is a former NBA shooting guard and alumni of FSU. In his Junior year, he recorded the second highest scoring average in school history. After his two seasons with Florida State, Wiggins was drafted No. 23-overall in 1983 by the Pacers. Wiggins played six seasons in the NBA and averaged 10 points per game over his career. He was inducted into FSU’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994.
His mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, is a former Canadian Olympic track runner and is also an alumnus of FSU. During her four years at FSU, Payne was a 21-time All-American. Before she was even a senior, Payne-Wiggins became the fastest female ever in the Western Hemisphere in the 400 meters with a time of 50.06. In 1984, she won two silver medals for Canada at the Summer Olympics. In the same year, she set a school and Canadian record for the 400 meters with a time of 49.91 at the NCAA Championships. She was inducted into FSU’s Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1991.
In addition to his family ties to FSU, Wiggins childhood friend and teammate, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, has signed with Florida State. Rathan-Mayes is a 6’4” shooting guard and is currently the 28th best high school prospect in the nation, according to Rivals. Xavier’s father, Tharon Mayes, is also a former basketball player at FSU. What’s even more special is that Tharon Mayes played with Mitchell Wiggins in 1991 on the Philadelphia 76ers. In an interview with ESPN.com, Xavier said “It’s crazy… (Our fathers) playing together and they played on the 76ers together, as well. Me and Wiggins growing up together and playing on the same AAU team, now on the same high school, and maybe going to college together — that’s pretty special.”
The appeal of FSU is clear. Instead of being one of many great players at Kentucky, Wiggins can create his own legacy at Florida State. He and Rathan-Mayes can follow in their parents’ footsteps while elevating FSU into the national spotlight. Something this basketball program hasn’t seen in a long, long time. The draw of reviving Florida State, playing alongside his best friend, and being the man on campus should, and I believe will, cause Andrew Wiggins to sign with Florida State. Of course, the eye candy at FSU isn’t too bad either.