Jared Fialko

Could "Air Canada" land in Chapel Hill?

Posted April 4, 2013

The college basketball season is effectively done with for the Triangle. For the third straight year, none of the ACC's "Big Four" from North Carolina made it to the grandest hoops stage the NCAA offers. Not much to talk about until fall practices open up in six months, right?  Save for one very important "decision," and I hesitate calling it a "decision," because that just springs images of this ego trip:

High school basketball's top free agent, Andrew Wiggins has narrowed the field down to four: North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, and Florida State. The odd-man out appears to be FSU, but his parents attended school there, so most people assume he's just keeping them in the running for show. While most major recruits have already signed the line, the consensus No. rated prospect and Gatorade Player of the Year continues to milk every second before putting pen to National Letter of Intent paper. By all accounts, he's not doing it for show, either.

From what my former colleagues in West Virginia, who cover his insanely talented team, and my friend, Wiggins' current head coach of Huntington Prep School, Rob Fulford tell me, it's quite the opposite.  

Wiggins is, by nature, a very quiet, shy, humble, kid. He's not braggadocious. He doesn't mug for the camera. By all accounts, when Wiggins decides his collegiate future, it will be the "anti-decision." I wouldn't be surprised if he sent hand-written letters to apologize to the coaches he turns down.

As punctuated by his stint in the Windy City during this week's McDonald's All-American Game festivities, Wiggins' meek demeanor does not carry over on the floor, whereas the 6-foot-7, 205-pound small forward from Toronto, Ontario's incredible athletic ability permeates the air. I present to you, Exhibit A of why he's already been nicknamed "Air Canada" and "Maple Jordan."

Here is Wiggins' latest offering in Monday's dunk contest:

(Pauses to pick jaw off floor).

Suffice to say, it received a perfect score. Better than that, actually, from Anthony Adams. The former NFL star and judge for the exhibition apparently thought "10" wasn't good enough. So, Adams simply held up every piece of paper with a number printed on it to express his grand approval.

Wiggins followed up the slam show with a solid performance in Wednesday's McDonald's All-American Game. He tallied a team-high 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting. His East squad never really stood a chance though, as the West held a double-digit advantage for most of the evening en route to a 110-99 victory.

The shining star, no doubt Arizona-commit Aaron Gordon, who lead the way with 24 points and six nasty jams. It would've been seven, if the contest's most valuable player didn't get overly enthusiastic on this attempt - or was it just the rim playing some incredible D?

Here's where Wiggins may have tipped in his hand towards the collegiate direction he may be headed though.

One of the most anticipated matchups of this high school shindig was Wiggins squaring off with the hometown hero, Jabari Parker, who led Simeon High to four state titles. Afterwards, Wiggins told the Associated Press, "Me and Jabari are friends. I look forward to playing against him in the future. I know I will be seeing his face a lot at the next level and level after that."

Where will Parker be balling in October?  Inside Cameron Indoor Stadium. Who squares off against the school from Durham twice every year?

Of course, that's still just speculation until Andrew makes his "anti-decision" which he believes will come around May 14 or 15.

As for how other future Triangle prospects fared in Wednesday's McDonald's All-American Game:

Jabari Parker (Duke): Not the most impressive night for the crowd favorite. Parker netted 10 points on 4-of-13 attempts from the floor and collected eight rebounds before fouling out.

Anthony "Cat" Barber (NC State): "Cat" didn't practice on Tuesday due to soreness in his back, but it didn't show when the lights came inside the United Center. Barber tallied 11 points off the bench and threw one nifty over-the-shoulder alley-oop dish to Chris Walker later in the game.

Isaiah Hicks (UNC): Saw few minutes on the court, but looked decent enough while out there. Shot 2-of-6 and wound up with four points, two rebounds and two blocks, including one rejection of MVP Gordon.

Kennedy Meeks (UNC): Spent the least amount of time on the court of anyone.  Finished 0-of-3 shooting, including an embarrassing air-ball from beyond the arc. His weight still seems to be a concern, however, he ran the floor quite nicely in the limited minutes he had.

Currently listening to: AWOLNATION, "Kill Your Heroes."


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  • StunGunn Apr 4, 2013

    Sure hope he picks Carolina!

  • wjuliang Apr 4, 2013

    Probably a one and done or two-fer but would help UNC for sure.

    I think FSU and Kentucky are out. FSU just to honor his parents and UK has 6 McD's already.

    Leaves Kansas and UNC. He would be instant PTP with the heels. But we'll see. I believe his dad grew up in Kinston's projects like Reggie Bullock so there may be some connections there too.

  • randdjacobs Apr 5, 2013

    Wiggins would be an asset to any team, but, the question is: "Can UNC succeed with Wiggins under Roy's coaching?" Talent doesn't always equate to success, especially with Roy.

  • CAROLINA43 Apr 5, 2013

    Wiggins gets the immediate 'green light' if he chooses UNC, just as Harrison Barnes did. I'm not about to start comparing the two and breaking-down their stats, it's irrelevant. "Talent doesn't always equate to success"; that can be said of ANY coach or in any profession for that matter.

    GO HEELS!!!

  • vile garbage Apr 5, 2013

    Done deal! Welcome to Chapel Thrill young man...

  • BlueDevils00 Apr 5, 2013

    Well, he did come to Chapel Hill to see UNC get blown out by Duke a month ago so... not the best impression. I'm also not sure why the author dismisses FSU so quickly. He's let it be known that FSU is a major player in his recruitment. Not to mention, he'd be seeing Duke just as much next season if he went to FSU. Definitely can't count out Calipari or Kentucky-- there's no telling how much money they're willing to throw at him. Kansas looks like the only 2nd tier choice right now. I still think in the end, he picks FSU. Both of his parents and his aunt went there, his best friend Xavian Rathan-Mayes is already signed there for next year, and he's known Leonard Hamilton since he was a little kid.

  • vile garbage Apr 5, 2013

    View quoted thread

    One things for sure, he won't be playing for Duke.

  • vile garbage Apr 5, 2013

    View quoted thread

    I'm sure Roy explained the reasoning for the lack of returning players from the previous year as well.

  • TarHeels 23 Apr 5, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Roy has TWO national championships so it appears talent does equal success.

    Now Gott wasn't able to get much success from his talent this year but then again not convinced he really had that much talent afterall.

  • Leave it to Beaver Reruns Apr 5, 2013

    I've been saying for a while I think Carolina lands this kid. If they do, it could be another chance at a natty. Also should make for fun UNC/Duke games next season.




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