The father of Huntington (W.Va.) Prep junior Andrew Wiggins, considered the nation's best high school basketball player, told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday that "it is time" for his son to reclassify and play college basketball next season.
"It's time [for him] to show that he is the best in college right now," Mitchell Wiggins said in a telephone interview. "I think he is ready for the next step. Academically-wise he is doing great. Maturity-wise he is doing great. He has a lot of talent. He is ready for the next step, and everybody knows it is time. It's Andrew's time. Next year is coming soon, and he is ready."
Mitchell Wiggins said his son, a 17-year-old who was born and raised in the Toronto area, will publicly announce the decision to attend college next season when he is comfortable to do so.
Andrew Wiggins, a 6-foot-8 (and still growing) small forward, has been under considerable scrutiny in recent months once it became clear that he had the chance to graduate after his junior year. Rob Fulford, Wiggins' high school coach, said Wiggins needs just one English credit to graduate and that he achieved a 3.13 GPA during the first nine-week grading period this fall.
Fulford has told Wiggins that he should reclassify and play college basketball next season.
Said Evan Daniels, the national recruiting analyst for Scout.com: "He is as close to a complete package as I have seen in a high school prospect."
Those close to Wiggins – and Wiggins himself – know that he is ready to play college basketball. The reason Wiggins has been reluctant to announce his decision is because he enjoys being a kid, living with a caring host family --- Scott and Lesley Thomas --- in Proctorville, Ohio, and he is reluctant to embrace the spotlight.
Neither Fulford nor Wiggins' host family communicates much with Mitchell Wiggins, but Andrew Wiggins made clear to USA TODAY Sports that he will rely almost exclusively on conversations with his parents while making a decision on which college to attend.
Kentucky and Florida State – the school his parents attended --- have been steadfast in their recruitment of Wiggins. Mitchell Wiggins, who played professionally in the NBA and overseas, praised Kentucky coach John Calipari's program and said he has great respect for assistants Kenny Payne and Rod Strickland. Mitchell Wiggins also said he is a proud alumnus of Florida State and has been impressed with how Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton has built that program.
Andrew Wiggins said that much of the public assumed Kentucky was the team to beat for his services because "basically, Calipari gets anybody he wants." But Andrew Wiggins emphasized that he is "wide open."
North Carolina Coach Roy Williams on Tuesday traveled to Huntington, W.Va., via private plane to meet with Wiggins and watch him practice. Coaches from Kansas and Ohio State were also scheduled to visit this week.
"Everything he does he bounces off mom and me," Mitchell Wiggins said. "But Andrew is going to make his own decision."