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Kentucky Basketball: Why Andrew Wiggins' Decision Stings

April 3, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA;  McDonald's All American forward Andrew Wiggins (22) poses for portraits before the 36th McDonalds All American Games to be played at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Nick NafpliotisCorrespondent IMay 14, 2013

When Andrew Wiggins announced yesterday that he would be attending the University of Kansas, his decision took me a bit by surprise.

I'd like to say that I predicted Wiggins wasn't going to choose the University of Kentucky. But like most of the national media, I got his final destination completely wrong. I was fairly certain that if Wiggins wasn't going to UK, he would decide to attend Florida State University this fall.

His family ties to the school and the fact that he had canceled his visit with Kansas back in April made it seem apparent that his decision had come down either the Wildcats or the Seminoles. But according to Keith Morehouse of WSAZ Sports, Wiggins' father declared after his son's press conference today that the final two schools were Florida State and Kansas.

Now to be fair, I agree with my esteemed Bleacher Report colleague Bobby Reagan that the Wildcats will be just fine without Wiggins next season. A phenomenal recruiting class combined with a larger number of returning veterans than is usual for a John Calipari team still make the Wildcats a heavy favorite to win the NCAA title.

But like most of the Big Blue Nation, I had been of the opinion that the best high school basketball player in the country (and one of the best high school prospects of this entire generation) was trying to decide between being a big fish in a small pond in Tallahassee or heading to Lexington to join one of the greatest collections of freshman talent ever assembled.

Instead, he picked a team in Kansas that will always contend with Kentucky for the NCAA crown. It showed that despite his enormous success on the recruiting trail, John Calipari and the allure of playing for the Wildcat basketball program can be beat head to head without the help of having any family ties to a school.

Maybe Kentucky fans (and myself) had just gotten too spoiled while celebrating commitment after commitment from the best prospects in the country. Or perhaps Andrew Wiggins just wasn't able to jell with the other members of UK's 2013-2014 recruiting class; the recent Vine video scandal certainly didn't help things (per Matt Lombardi, CollegeSpun.com). 

But even though John Calipari and the University of Kentucky continue to win the college basketball recruiting war, losing this battle means that the fight to build a singularly dominant college basketball program is still far from over.


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