Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

UNC Recruiting: The Andrew Wiggins Saga

Remember the show LOST? Most people do and most people not only remember it, but have since rewatched the entire series on Netflix (guilty as charged) in order to recreate the magic that was so organically real the first time you embarked on the adventure. LOST was a great show because the characters were compelling, the scenery was captivating and the plot just kept you glued to your seat longing for more. The real beauty of the show was that there was so much mystery involved and millions of sub plots that were tied together, but weren’t revealed how until several seasons later. Until that time, you as the viewer remained lost (ironic) and found yourself constantly guessing as to what the possible answer was by overly reading into every small clue in hopes that it would confirm your theory. Does this remind you of anything? The summary I just gave you is identical to the entire recruiting process of Andrew Wiggins.

I’ve never been more stressed about a potential recruit and his decision than I have been with Wiggins. I guess that’s the effect of being dubbed the next Lebron will do to people. Ever since the Huntington Prep forward reclassified to the 2013 class, he’s had coaches and fans in a frenzy as everyone scrambled around to try and will the kid to pick their school.

Wiggins was highly sought after by pretty much every school in the country while he was still listed as a member of the 2014 class, but when he moved up a class, not very many schools could still accommodate him with the scholarships they had available. It was widely considered by most that once Wiggins reclassified, that it was a two team race between recruiting powerhouse Kentucky and Florida State vying for his services. While a lot of fans still view this as being the case, Wiggins was very public early on that he wanted other schools to pursue him and that he was open. The only two coaches that accepted the challenge were Bill Self of Kansas and our very own Roy Williams.

Once we started recruiting Andrew, I was hopeful, but wasn’t very sure that there would be any traction. One one end, UNC was competing against John Calipari, who somehow someway, seems to get every elite prospect to come play for him and on the other end, was Leonard Hamilton and Andrew’s parents who were both athletes at Florida State. The thought of Andrew as a Tar Heel was nice, but I never saw much continuity for North Carolina.

Then the visits started happening. Andrew honored each of the four programs recruiting him by taking an official to each one. He said the same things every time about how much he enjoyed himself and how he thought each program was great. Of course, we all read into what he said so much that we were almost convincing ourselves that we knew exactly what he was thinking. The only problem was, we had absolutely no idea. Never has a recruit been so reserved when it comes to their recruitment which I find shocking. Andrew has been on record saying that the recruiting process stresses him out and he’s just ready for it to be over. However, if it stresses him out so much then why not be vocal about or commit somewhere? Things just don’t add up.

A couple weeks ago, Tar Heel fans were almost certain that Wiggins was going to come to Chapel Hill. Once Julius Randle committed to UK and their current freshmen, outside of Nerlens Noel, announced they were returning to school, Carolina as the destination of choice seemed like a foregone conclusion and I was beginning to buy in myself. I was hearing good things coming from inside the Carolina program and that the staff was very confident in themselves and their chances landing the superstar to be. Even UK fans seemed to begin thinking that UNC was the leader. Then the video incident occured.

A couple of days ago, Andrew was asked about UK’s current recruiting class and how they are considered the best of all time. Wiggins said that if he were to join them, then they would be the best team in the country undoubtedly (hard to argue there). Shortly after, star UK wing Archie Goodwin retracted his commitment to return to school shortly after their NIT exit and declared to go to the NBA. Naturally, the buzz around Chapel Hill faded and everyone got back on the UK bandwagon. As for me, I’m done reading into it.

Everyone reads into what is tweeted or said, but at the end of the day no one knows what Andrew Wiggins is thinking other than himself. I now fully support the notion that if it’s meant to be, then it’s meant to be. I would really love it if he did come to Chapel Hill because it would give our Tar Heels a great opportunity to win now, but if he doesn’t I’m ok with it. People are going to try and hang on every word he says and analyze it over and over again until they find some form of clarity whether it’s valid or not, but if you do that, you’ll only end up LOST and confused. I have faith in Roy and his staff and I have faith in what the University of North Carolina has to offer and at this point, that’s good enough for me. And hey, even if it seems bleak, everyone thought Harrison Barnes was going to play for Duke. Just saying.

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Tags: North Carolina Tar Heels

  • coachj

    I have always given it about a 10% chance and now feel it is about 1%. My problem is this: do we really want him. One year of “potential” while screwing up our roster rotations, versus developing and giving playing time to 3-4 year guys that will eventually win us a championship.

    Who sits? Someone will have to redshirt, maybe even two. At the very least a couple will have to waste a year of eligibility getting scrap time. Simmons would be and obvious redshirt candidate. But would Meeks consider a redshirt? Would James? Would Hubert? How do you find time for Meeks, James & Hubert. How do you find time for Hicks, Johnson and Wiggins?

    Wiggins won’t stand for “Marvin Williams” PT. I am sure that Johnson won’t be happy if his minutes are limited once again. It gets even worse if McAdoo stays. In the end, the writing is clear on the wall: no way Wiggins comes here. And if he does, bet someone transfers.

    • Guest

      sorry to be blunt, but this is a pretty dumb comment lol. When you can get a player of this caliber, you get him no questions asked. Especially on a team with an early 2nd round exit and a disappointing year. I would agree with you if we were coming off of our 08 season and Wiggins was class of 09, but we clearly need game changing talent to compete for a Nat’l championship, and if you didn’t see that this year then I dont know what to tell you lol. Wiggins is a small forward, so with your argument the post is crowded, with or without Wiggins. I do understand if Bullock & Hairston came back & Wiggins starts at the 4 this could set some guys back (if 1 of them leave he’ll start on the wing so your argument is completely irrelevant then). But Roy said during an ACC (or NCAA I don’t remember) tourney press conference word for word “I don’t give a crap about you as an individual during the game, I care about our team winning.” All those guys you named I’m sure Roy loves them off the court, but on the court they gotta get a hell of a lot better, no questions asked. If they transfer, so be it, it’s the best thing for them. We did ok without the Wear twins & Larry Drew lol. I hope he keeps Joel James happy because his potential has him listed on some draft boards and he could be a beast, but other than that you gotta prove something. Not only would he be a starter the day he stepped on campus, he would be the go to guy in the half court, which would relieve pressure from Bullock and even Hairston. Plus, the way MP is gonna come along as a scorer is scary. Wiggins is the missing piece to a possible championship run next year, so why are you so concerned with years after that?

    • Justin Rebar

      Well let them transfer. If they are scared to compete then go somewhere else. Do you really want him to go to UK, because I dont. Im so tired of UK.

  • Jamie Lowe

    Kentucky as of right now has 17 players on next years team. Why would Wiggins want to join that crowded house? Wiggins says he looks forward to competing against Jabari Parker next season. I guess he can do that at FSU but will anybody really care? That leaves UNC as the logical choice. So I guess he will pick Kansas.

    • RM Clark

      The writer gives very sound advice to everyone, including UK fans, KU fans and I guess even FSU fans.

      In terms of UK they don’t have 17 players on next years team. You can’t go by any roster that is posted on the internet. 5 guys on the ESPN roster for UK are practice players that don’t travel on road trips. Many of them won’t be back anyway because they won’t be needed. When Noel announces in a few days he’s leaving, with Goodwin and Harrow leaving and Mays Graduating that gives them 5 returning scholarship players. They are currently bringing in 8 (Randle, Young, Lee, 2 Harrisons, Willis, Hawkins, and Johnson) That’s 13 which is the limit. However Polson is a preferred walkon and has only been on scholarship because one was available. He will also graduate in May as will Hood so those slots could be open. There will be room for Wiggins. The question for UNC is how bad does he want his legacy in college to be a National Championship and what does he feel his chances of that are at UNC. If UNC returns everyone plus Wiggins, they will be in the mix.