Andrew Wiggins’ reaction when he was named 2012-13 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year during a surprise visit from Alonzo Mourning this morning was more fitting of the kid who grew up playing basketball in Canada than the teenager who has become famous at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep.
In the middle of a yawn during class, Wiggins nearly leapt from his chair.
“Zo walked in and, yeah, I stopped yawning,” said Wiggins, who moved to the U.S. after his freshman year. “I really owe thanks to my teammates and coaches and this whole community that’s made me feel so welcome over the past two years. This is big for Canada and it’s big for me. This award definitely stands out.”
The Gatorade Player of the Year award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court. Wiggins is now a finalist for the Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year award.
Wiggins, who checks in at 6-foot-8, 215 pounds, averaged 23.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists per game this season, leading the Express to a 30-3 record and a No. 7 spot in the USA TODAY Super 25 national rankings. He is rated the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2013 by ESPN, Scout.com and Rivals.com.
The Gatorade award is just the latest and greatest honor for Wiggins. A two-time Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Wiggins won the Naismith Boys High School Player of the Year award and was a finalist for the national Morgan Wootten Player of the Year award as a senior.He has been selected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic and the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Wiggins has maintained a B average while completing his high school curriculum at St. Joseph’s Central Catholic in Huntington. In addition to participating in multiple charity fundraiser initiatives, he has volunteered by visiting patients at the Cabell Huntington Hospital for children. He has also donated his time to free basketball clinics for low-income Huntington youthand the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation.
Wiggins, who earlier this school year reclassified from the Class of 2014 to 2013, remains undecided on a collegiate destination.
Wiggins became West Virginia’s first high school athlete to earn national Gatorade honors in the award’s 27-year history. California has produced more national Gatorade winners than any other state with 59. Texas (27), Florida (19) and Illinois (15) are next.