Today turned into a huge day for Bill Self and the Kansas basketball program. Andrew Wiggins, The number one recruit in the country, and the player who is touted as the best high school player since Lebron James, is coming to Lawrence. Wiggins made his decision official at a small ceremony with family, friends and teammates late this morning.
Bill Self already had a great class coming in. The Jayhawks had one of the fastest rising recruits and the top center in the country in Joel Embiid. Kansas also had a shooting guard that had been climbing in the rankings in Wayne Selden. On top of that Kansas has three very solid four star commitments in Conner Frankamp, Brannen Greene and Frank Mason. Kansas already had a foundational class along with a few potential game changers depending on how things shake out. Now, with Wiggins as the icing on the cake, Kansas without a doubt has the pieces to build for the future and play for right now.
Wiggins reclassified from the 2014 class to the 2013 class earlier this year and immediately became the most sought after recruit and the number one recruit in the class. Initially it was believed that Wiggins would join Kentucky with Florida State standing an outside shot in the battle for his services due to family connections. But early on in the process Wiggins reached out to a few additional programs that he was hoping to take a look at, Kansas was one of those.
After taking several visits, including one to Lawrence, it became clear that Kansas was in the mix. How much of a chance they had was questionable but there were comments surfacing that Wiggins was very comfortable with the Kansas players and Bill Self as a coach. It still seemed like a longshot but it was something. As the Spring all star circuit wound to a close it appeared that Wiggins had also sparked a bit of a friendship with both Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden. Another little piece pointing in favor of the Jayhawks but hardly a certainty.
Back and forth the rumors went, all the while Wiggins remained low key and under the radar. Wiggins has always been quiet about his recruitment which is refreshing in the 'look at me' environment that is college basketball recruiting. Yesterday it seemed likely that Florida State would be the choice, then Kansas appeared to gain some momentum and finally Kentucky. The bottom line in this one is that only Andrew Wiggins and those close to him knew what his final choice was going to be.
When that time came, Wiggins chose Kansas and the Jayhawks are now right in the thick of the college basketball conversation despite losing all five starters including four seniors and one top five NBA draft pick. The Jayhawks will return Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe who played major minutes in the rotation last year. Beyond that we're going to see a host of new faces and Andrew Wiggins will now be front and center as one of those players.
As Kansas fans know expectations can be a tricky thing with the one and done type of player. Wiggins is billed as a big time talent, one of the biggest. Now he'll have the opportunity to come into a program and make his mark which will hopefully include a 10th straight Big 12 title and potentially more.