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.

Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

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.