Kansas lures top prospect Andrew Wiggins to Phog

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 15, 2013 at 8:31 pm •  Published: May 15, 2013
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Wiggins revealed his choice at a small ceremony at his prep school. Self didn't even know he'd won the recruiting derby until he received a phone call from a reporter.

"There wasn't jubilation like you'd think," Self said. "It was kind of a surreal feeling. I was so happy, but at the same time, it was almost a humble happiness, and so proud we were able to land Andrew to go with what's already a terrific recruiting class."

Along with losing McLemore, who's expected to be an NBA lottery pick, the Jayhawks are also losing star center Jeff Withey, forward Kevin Young and veteran guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford, who have never known anything but winning conference championships.

Kansas has a few reserves returning, including junior guard Naadir Tharpe and sophomore forward Perry Ellis, a five-star prospect that finally caught on late last season. But the Jayhawks will be dominated by newcomers as they chase their 10th straight Big 12 championship next year.

Wiggins is the headliner, but 6-5 Wayne Seldon from Tilton (N.H.) School is the second-rated shooting guard in the country. Seven-footer Joel Embiid from The Rock School in Gainesville, Fla., is the third-rated center. Guards Connor Frankamp from Wichita, Kan., and Brannen Greene from Tifton, Ga., are in the top 10 at their positions, and point guard Frank Mason from Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va., has steadily climbed into the nation's top 100 recruits.

"If anything," Self said, "it gets me excited to go to work."

Wiggins said the most difficult part of his decision was informing the three other finalists that he'd be going elsewhere. As for why he chose Kansas, well, he's keeping most of those reasons private, though he did say having his older brother Nick Wiggins at Wichita State was nice.

His father, former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins, said fit was also a big part of it.

"He liked their system. A lot of pro offense, the pick and roll," the elder Wiggins said. "The system is probably the biggest thing, and Coach Self is a pretty good coach."

Self is the first to admit he wouldn't be nearly as successful if it wasn't for his players — that's where it all starts, of course. But in luring Wiggins to Kansas, even Self acknowledged he's never coached another player like him.

"He doesn't really fit the mold of some of the guys we've had in the past," Self said. "He's a tremendous talent and a terrific kid. Probably an even better kid than he is a talent. We think he has a chance to be about as good a prospect as we've ever had."


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