Recruit Andrew Wiggins mum after his official visit to Kentucky

broberts@herald-leader.comMarch 1, 2013 

Andrew Wiggins of Huntington (W.Va.) Prep drew high praise from those watching him play for the first time.

MATT GOINS — Herald-Leader Buy Photo

TEAYS VALLEY, W.Va. — Andrew Wiggins arrived at the Teays Valley Christian gym just in time for Thursday night's game.

Coming straight from his official visit to Kentucky, Wiggins strolled onto the court for the last few minutes of Huntington Prep's warm-ups. He spent as much time on the floor then as he did during the game that followed.

Wiggins was hit in the face less than a minute into the first quarter and ended up scoring six points in about six minutes of action in Huntington Prep's 121-50 victory over Teays Valley.

The bleachers included fans wearing UK, Florida State, North Carolina and Kansas gear — those are Wiggins' four finalists — but the No. 1 player in high school basketball didn't want to talk about his recruitment after the game.

Wiggins said he would not discuss his college plans until he has completed all of his official visits.

Even then, information will be hard to come by.

"He's not going to give up much," Huntington Prep Coach Rob Fulford told the Herald-Leader. "You guys know him well enough."

Always tight-lipped regarding his recruitment, Wiggins has now gone into full-on lockdown mode.

The 6-foot-8 forward arrived on UK's campus Wednesday morning, attended that night's game against Mississippi State in Rupp Arena, had breakfast with John Calipari the next morning and then watched the Cats practice before heading back to West Virginia.

Wiggins' parents, who are both former standout athletes at Florida State, accompanied him on his trip to Lexington. Mitchell and Marita Payne-Wiggins — who were on their son's official visit to FSU earlier this season — are also planning to travel with him to Kansas and North Carolina next week.

There's a popular narrative in recruiting circles that Wiggins is already sold on Kentucky and that this week's trip was about selling his parents on the Cats.

Fulford didn't dismiss the theory.

"That could be. It could be. I don't know," he said. "There's no doubt about it that it could be. The fact that his parents are on his visits is crucial. Had they not gone to any of the other ones, I would have said that Florida State was a lock. Because they wouldn't have had anything to compare it to. The fact that they are going says a lot about the process and that they had a chance to see different places."

Also accompanying Wiggins to Lexington was his Huntington Prep host family, who were also the host family for Louisville star Gorgui Dieng when he played for the Express.

Fulford was in touch with them during Wiggins' visit and said the early reports were positive.

"His host family had a really good time," he said. "And they're used to it. They go to Louisville games all the time. So they weren't enamored by the star power, because they're used to it. But they said it was a great family atmosphere, as far as the team goes and the coaching staff."

Wiggins and Huntington Prep will play a team from Canada at 2 p.m. Saturday at Boyd County Middle School in Ashland. The next day, he's off to Lawrence for his official visit to Kansas, which plays Texas Tech on Monday night.

Next weekend, Wiggins will take his fourth and final official visit, to North Carolina. The Tar Heels host archrival Duke in their season finale Saturday night.

Then comes decision time.

There's no timetable for Wiggins to announce his college choice, but ESPN and organizers from the big post-season all-star events are clamoring for the privilege.

"Who knows how he's even going to announce where he's going?" Fulford said. "It'll be interesting. Obviously, McDonald's wants him to do it there. Jordan wants him to do it there. And I doubt he's going to do that."

They, like everybody else, will just have to wait for an answer.

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

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