UK basketball recruiting

UK target Andrew Wiggins stars in Peach Jam, but his team falls in finals

broberts@herald-leader.comJuly 22, 2012 

Andrew Wiggins, rated the No. 1 player in the high school class of 2014, announced Thursday that he plans to graduate next spring. Wiggins, who will play this season for Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, immediately became the top-rated player in the class of 2013. Thomas Slusser | For The Virginian-Pilot

A spectacular run on summer basketball's biggest stage came to a disappointing end for Kentucky recruit Andrew Wiggins on Sunday.

Wiggins, leader of the Toronto-based CIA Bounce, fouled a three-point shooter with the Bounce leading by one point and just 1.9 seconds left in the Peach Jam title game.

Jabari Bird converted two of the three free throws to give the Oakland Soldiers a 51-50 victory in the tournament of elite Nike-sponsored clubs. The event was played over four days in North Augusta, S.C.

Wiggins, considered by many to be the best player in high school basketball, was phenomenal for most of the week. He averaged 21.9 points and 8.8 rebounds over seven games, and didn't suffer a loss until the championship.

Wiggins, who is from Canada but plays high school ball for Huntington Prep (W.Va.), had 23 points and nine rebounds against the Soldiers. He brought his team back from a nine-point halftime deficit and seemed poised to deliver what would have been a huge title for Canadian basketball.

But the 6-foot-7 forward missed the front end of a one-and-one with his team leading 50-49 in the final minute. Wiggins had made his previous nine free-throw attempts and was 35-for-41 for the tournament.

The Soldiers were led by fellow UK target Aaron Gordon, who returned from injury last week and recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds in the championship game. Though clearly not at 100 percent after missing nearly two months with various ailments, Gordon averaged 13.5 points and 9.4 rebounds over eight games.

Gordon, who Rivals and Scout rank as the No. 5 player in the class of 2013, said earlier in the weekend that UK, Washington and Arizona were his top three schools.

"I'm definitely going to go up to Kentucky to see what that's about," the 6-7 power forward told ZagsBlog after Sunday's championship game.

UK assistants Orlando Antigua and Kenny Payne were joined in the stands for the final game by Arizona Coach Sean Miller and Washington Coach Lorenzo Romar. John Calipari saw Gordon and Wiggins play several times at the Peach Jam, but he was not in attendance for the finals.

Gordon is also considering Kansas, Oregon and New Mexico, where his brother played in college.

Wiggins, ranked by all services as the No. 1 player in the class of 2014, has said that UK and Florida State are recruiting him the hardest. His parents were both athletes for the Seminoles.

Walker commits to Florida

Chris Walker, one of the top players in the class of 2013, announced his commitment to Florida on Sunday morning.

The 6-10 forward said he chose the Gators over Kentucky, Kansas and Louisville, though UK never offered him a scholarship.

Walker spent the past few months lobbying for a UK offer, and assistant coach John Robic traveled to Indianapolis last week to see him play in an AAU tournament. But no offer came, and Walker got tired of waiting.

He joins AAU teammate Kasey Hill as the second top-10 recruit from the class of 2013 to commit to the Gators. Both players are Florida natives.

"Together we'll be the best duo in college basketball, and we will win a national championship," Walker said in a video announcing his commitment.

ESPN immediately moved Florida to the No. 1 spot in its class of 2013 rankings.

Bullitt East forward Derek Willis remains Kentucky's only commitment for 2013, though the Cats are in the mix for several five-star recruits and are again expected to sign multiple top-10 players.

Ben Roberts twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com

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