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Mike Maniscalco

Recruiting shows the uglier side of fans on Twitter

Posted May 16, 2013

Andrew Wiggins Pic

Think back to when you were making your college decision. Odds are thousands of people weren’t anxiously awaiting the word on which place of higher learning you would be off to. Unless, of course, you were a highly touted athlete with a fan base eagerly awaiting your arrival to deliver yet another national title to their school.

The latter is the case of Andrew Wiggins, the extremely talented basketball player from Huntington, WV.

Wiggins had narrowed his list down to the University of North Carolina, Florida State, Kentucky and Kansas. The small forward, ranked by almost everyone as the No. 1 high school recruit in the nation, chose the Jayhawks.

There were no magic tricks or Skype shows or marching bands. He made the decision at a private ceremony at his school, Huntington Prep, and that should be the end of the story until he hits the floor at Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.

But recruiting has become a much more public and much more vicious event than in years past. It is no longer schools and boosters trying to sway a high school player to ‘their’ school, it is everyone with a Twitter or Facebook account, praising the talents of the player and how good he would look in the uniform with their favorite colors. It can be a bit overwhelming to be sure and making a decision that you know is going to disappoint people is hard enough to make without the public scrutiny.

In Wiggins' case, both his mother and father were tremendous athletes at Florida State, so there is letting mom and dad down. North Carolina is the school that spawned Michael Jordan and countless basketball greats. Kentucky, well not many recruits have said no to John Calipari lately. Wiggins had to decline the invite to play at those schools and I’m sure it was tough to tell those coaches 'no'.

This should not be taken that Twitter and Facebook are evil. In fact, both of those sites are useful tools to connect with the world, friends and stay on top of information.

However, when a teenager decides to go to a school not of a follower’s choice, it becomes a vile place that shows a dark side of fans that really should never be exposed.

The hate and venom thrown at Wiggins by the fans of the universities he passed on is stomach turning. I am pretty sure that if I cited specific examples on this website, I’d get fired.

For Wiggins, a day that should be one of the happiest of his life turned sour if he decided to check his twitter feed. His timeline was filled with people wishing terrible things to happen to him. Why? Because he didn’t choose their school? That is crazy.

Doesn’t it seem just a bit creepy that people feel the need to call a teenager names or hope that he suffers a catastrophic injury or worse just because he didn’t come to their state to play basketball?

What does it say about the person typing that kind of message? That behavior takes me back to the great William Shatner skit on 'Saturday Night Live' where he admonished fans at a Trekkie convention to “Get a life!”. And to the people who say it is just a joke, or shouldn’t be taken seriously, why bother to write that? It makes you and, by default, the program you were touting as the place to be look oafish.

Just think back to the most important choice you had to make in your life and how you would feel if complete strangers wished you the worst, and not in the most polite terms. I highly doubt that you would find it amusing, and I am sure your family would be more than upset to have someone tell you that you should suffer harm or that you have made the biggest mistake of your life.

So the next time you are about to hit send on that Tweet, just think if you would want that sent to you. If the answer is 'no', then do the smart thing and hit cancel. Maybe I am aiming too high with that thought, at least based on what I read on Andrew Wiggins' Twitter feed.

35 Comments

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  • bernardjaysr May 16, 11:37 p.m.

    I hope but nothing but the best for Mr.Wiggins.
    So he want be playing "My Heels" but just maybe
    he will playing for MJ next year.
    And with the #1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft
    the Charlotte Bobcats select........

  • Gunnstigator May 16, 8:52 p.m.

    Go take a tour of a hospital for mentally and physically handicapped people in Guatemala Like I... View More

    — Posted by Deacons

    You're so right, Deacons. REAL life - not living through the athletes who play for the team we pull for - can slap us back into reality sometimes. You don't need to go to Guatemala for a reality check; all you have to do is watch the 6:00 news to see the real world. When I see what some people have to deal with, I realize how unimportant sports really are.

  • Hokies94 May 16, 7:37 p.m.

    I read the first two pages and that's enough. How can anyone write anything negative about a young high school student that didn't pick your school? I thought he would select FSU because of his parents. Maybe he wanted to make his own way and make his own decision. The social media has hurt loads of people, and they keep on using it. The twitter, facebook, and all others has caused more harm than good in my humble opinion.

  • heelsforever May 16, 6:44 p.m.

    Mike knows all fan bases have these silly little people. MOST of us know it too. But there are some who will come to these boards looking for any opportunity to throw mud at rival fans knowing full well that they are calling the kettle black.

  • braves309 May 16, 5:40 p.m.

    Okay let me back up and say, I was not implying to just UNC fans, I know it came across that way. But I mean it for any fanbase how low can you go? Bashing this guy, who I think has a great head on his shoulders. I don't know him personally, but from what i have read about him he seems like a very nice kid. I wish him nothing but the best at Kansas.

  • 903 crybaby May 16, 5:06 p.m.

    REDRGE, you really are missing the point. It was fans from all three schools Why look for more... View More

    — Posted by Mike Maniscalco

    Pretty clear cut that UNC is the one getting slammed here, on this response board.

  • Deacons May 16, 4:57 p.m.

    Go take a tour of a hospital for mentally and physically handicapped people in Guatemala Like I did 2 weeks ago and you will realize (if you have any character) there are a lot more important things than where someone chooses to go to school and play a sport.

  • Mike Maniscalco May 16, 4:48 p.m.

    REDRGE, you really are missing the point. It was fans from all three schools Why look for more than what there is, it wasn't one post it was a lot. Anytime a kid picks a school now, the fans of the universities that didn't get picked go on the offensive, no one school is to blame than others.I would have written this if I worked in California. Pretty clear cut.

  • mike honcho May 16, 4:40 p.m.

    The kid made his decision, grow up and move on. Beating this kid up on twitter only shows how immature some people really are.

  • 903 crybaby May 16, 4:39 p.m.

    So, Mike Maniscalco are you saying that it was a Carolina Fan? That's what you imply by creating it on this forum. There's no Kentucky or FSU (not Fayetteville State U), sometimes those get confused, fans on here. If it was a Carolina Fan, he no Carolina Fan. In fact, he's not much of a human being.

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