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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.

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  • NCSU84 May 16, 11:55 a.m.

    Yup, Some of those UNC fans at it too. The high and mightycome down to earth after being spurn by Wiggins. Shame on them and the other univs not getting Wiggins....

  • PackisBack May 16, 12:12 p.m.

    This guy has never read the forums on here!

  • Dookbballskidmarked May 16, 12:34 p.m.

    I have seen nothing from UNC fans but plenty of garbage from ABC'ers about it.

  • FE_ORA May 16, 12:35 p.m.

    I have seen nothing from UNC fans but plenty of garbage from ABC'ers about it.

    — Posted by Dookbballskidmarked

    You're not looking very hard. Stay klassy Kerliner!

  • kingoftrolls01 May 16, 12:39 p.m.

    ^This one had his baby blue blinders permanently attached to his face.

  • kornfan2448 May 16, 1:30 p.m.

    Some fans, from all fan bases, just make it too personal. At the end of the day, it's a game and that's it. If a player not choosing to attend and play at the university or team you cheer for causes you to feel any hatred or resentment towards that individual to the point you have to bad mouth them, then you clearly have your priorities out of whack.

  • arfamr1008 May 16, 2:31 p.m.

    I personally look forward to UNC stomping a KU with Wiggins this year

  • kmorsreturn May 16, 2:38 p.m.

    I have seen nothing from UNC fans but plenty of garbage from ABC'ers about it.

    — Posted by Dookbballskidmarked

    yeah, you didnt look. we already talked about this and a link was provided....so yeah, nice try. Heck they boo their own players on Senior Night, imagine what they say when they get turned down over and over again.

  • NCSU84 May 16, 2:49 p.m.

    I personally look forward to UNC stomping a KU with Wiggins this year

    — Posted by arfamr1008

    lol

  • kikinc May 16, 2:51 p.m.

    This is what happens when people feel all big and strong because they can hide behind a computer screen. A similar thing happened when Rodney Purvis announced that he was transferring to UCONN. The racial epithets and slur words written on his Twitter feed were disgusting. Write what you want, but when all that comes out is filth, don't be surprised if people feel you're an imbecile. Things may get a heated on here, but at least there's a filter!

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