HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Top basketball prospect Andrew Wiggins will play his college basketball at Kansas.
The 6-foot-8 Toronto native signed a letter-of-intent Tuesday, choosing the Jayhawks over Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida State.
The ceremony ended the frenzied pursuit of the Huntington Prep star, who averaged 23.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game this season.
Rather than turn his announcement into a spectacle, Wiggins wanted a private signing ceremony with family and friends where he attends classes at St. Joseph’s Central Catholic High School in Huntington.
Initially rated as a 2014 prospect, Wiggins shot to the top of recruiting charts when he decided last October to reclassify into his original high school class of 2013. The four major recruiting services rated Wiggins as the No. 1 overall recruit.
Wiggins had kept quiet on his intentions. He had yet to even make a verbal commitment and delayed his signing until almost the very end — Wednesday is the deadline for recruits to sign with NCAA Division I schools.
Interest grew in recent weeks. As one fan put told Wiggins in a Twitter post, “You’re driving 4 schools and 4 fan bases absolutely insane.”
Wiggins’ game did the talking. He has the ability to make shots from all angles and distances, blow past defenders to the basket and reach the rim at eye level. Wiggins was the recipient of this year’s Gatorade Boys National Basketball Player of the Year and Naismith Foundation national awards. He has been called the best prep prospect since LeBron James.
Wiggins participated in several postseason all-star games, most recently playing for the World Select Team at the Nike Hoop Summit April 20 in Portland, Ore.
Wiggins cited fatigue from the Oregon trip for canceling scheduled visits from North Carolina coach Roy Williams, Kansas’ Bill Self and Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton. Wiggins instead talked to them by phone. Kentucky coach John Calipari had visited Wiggins in Huntington on March 28.
Rob Fulford, Wiggins’ coach at Huntington Prep, has said he tried to stay out of the player’s decision, other than explaining to him what to look for in a program.
“What I do during the recruiting process is make sure you understand the style of play, coaching styles and can you see yourself playing for this team, this coach and these teammates,” Fulford said. “Because that’s mainly what it boils down to. Don’t worry about buildings. Everybody has a nice practice facility.”
While mulling his decision, Wiggins had to sort out family matters and figuring out who he might have to share the court with.
His Huntington Prep teammate and fellow Toronto native, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, signed with Florida State in December. Both of Wiggins’ parents attended Florida State.
His father is former NBA first-round pick Mitchell Wiggins. His mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, was a Canadian Olympic sprinter and silver medalist. Older brother Nick plays guard at Wichita State and another brother, Mitchell Jr., plays at NAIA school Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla.
Kentucky already has eight signees in what is considered to be its greatest recruiting class ever.
Despite the loss of Ben McLemore to the NBA draft, four of Kansas’ five recruits are considered to be in the top 50 nationally.
North Carolina’s recruiting class includes McDonald’s All-American big men Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks.
Besides Rathan-Mayes, three other Huntington Prep teammates signed at Division I schools: Moses Kingsley at Arkansas, Dominic Woodson at Baylor and Travon Landry at Tennessee.