Recruiting notes: Pro-UK crowd woos Wiggins at Hoop Fest

broberts@herald-leader.comDecember 1, 2012 

Andrew Wiggins, rated the No. 1 high school basketball player in the world by anybody with an Internet connection, dazzled the pro-University of Kentucky crowd at the Marshall County Hoop Fest on Friday night.

After the game, Wiggins said his recruitment was "still the same."

It could change soon.

The senior forward will make his first official visit this week when he travels to Florida State, which hosts Florida on Wednesday night.

Mitchell Wiggins, Andrew's father, set up the visit. Both of his parents were standout athletes at Florida State.

"Everything that happened there with my parents, it would be a joy to go there," Andrew said. "Great weather, great people, great education, great coaching staff. They make players better. ... They don't always get the best players in the nation, but they develop players."

He added that his parents aren't trying to steer him to Tallahassee.

"They don't care where I go," he said. "They just told me to go where I'm happy."

There was no mistaking where the majority of the Hoop Fest crowd was hoping Wiggins would end up. They chanted "UK!", "Go Big Blue!", and "We Want Wiggins!" at various points throughout the night.

"It's always a pleasure to see fans chanting my name or chanting where I should go to school," Wiggins said. "They're showing me love and support."

Huntington Prep Coach Rob Fulford said Wiggins has expressed interest in taking official visits to FSU, Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas. The Seminoles and the Cats are considered co-favorites.

Fulford said there's no timetable for Wiggins' decision, and he doesn't think the Toronto native will stretch things out for the attention. "I think, when he knows, everybody will know," the coach said.

And don't expect another made-for-TV announcement when Wiggins discloses his school of choice. Fulford said he's already been contacted by ESPN about airing the decision, but frowned at the mention of it.

"I know he doesn't want to do that," Fulford said. "He doesn't like the limelight. He doesn't like the attention. And we're not going to push him to do that.

"He's going to get enough TV time in his career that he doesn't need to do a press conference on where he's going to school if he doesn't want to."

No Willis

Bullitt East standout and UK signee Derek Willis missed Saturday's contest against Hopkinsville as he finished serving a two-game suspension that stemmed from his ejection in last week's season opener.

With Willis sitting on the end of the bench, No. 2 Bullitt East defeated seventh-ranked Hoptown 78-65.

The Chargers are now 3-0, with all three wins coming against top-15 teams: No. 11 Lafayette, No. 5 Henry Clay and No. 7 Hopkinsville.

Though Willis' teammates are rolling without him, they still aren't pleased with his actions.

"They were disappointed with me," Willis said. "They've just been asking me, 'Why did you have to do that? You hurt us.'

"It's obviously not fun. I'm really disappointed in myself, and the way I carried myself in that game. I'm just ready to get back on the floor."

Willis will return to action when Bullitt East hosts No. 25 Butler on Tuesday.

Name that Harrison

Before UK signees Andrew and Aaron Harrison could start their formal news conference Saturday, they had to get one thing out of the way.

"I'm Aaron," said the future UK shooting guard, a big grin on his face.

The (literally) identical twins were the subject of much confusion the night before. Though they can be identified by their uniform numbers — Aaron is No. 2, Andrew is No. 5 — the Marshall County High School scorekeeper was all over the place with their stats.

"It really doesn't happen that much when we play at home," Aaron said. "(Friday), I'm sure a lot of people were confused. We had three different scores. They gave me some of Andrew's rebounds and him some of my points. It was all right though."

Birthday boy

Former UK coach Joe B. Hall celebrated his 84th birthday at the Hoop Fest on Friday night.

Hall, who was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame last month, watched Andrew Wiggins' 29-point performance against Memphis East and chatted with Huntington Prep Coach Rob Fulford after the game.

The Happy Birthday song was played over the Marshall County PA system during the game that followed, and Hall stood and waved to the crowd, receiving a standing ovation.

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog:

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