Andrew Wiggins, top 2013 player, to pick a school Tuesday

broberts@herald-leader.comMay 12, 2013 

The wait for Andrew Wiggins is almost over.

Huntington Prep Coach Rob Fulford announced Sunday night that Wiggins will sign with a school about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Wiggins, the No. 1 overall basketball player in the class of 2013, will choose Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida State or Kansas.

UK fans have grown accustomed to seeing their top incoming recruits announce their college destination during live news conferences broadcast nationally on ESPN. That won't be the case with Wiggins.

"He does not want to have a press conference signing," Fulford said in a text message. "He wants it private to just his classmates, family and friends."

Fulford also said he appreciated "everyone's patience and understanding" in a recruitment that is finally drawing to a close after months of rumors and indecision.

Wiggins, a 6-foot-8 forward originally from Toronto, has been called the best high school prospect since LeBron James, but Kentucky and Florida State were long considered the only two schools with a serious shot of landing him.

Both of Wiggins' parents were standout athletes at Florida State, and his father was an All-American basketball player at the school in the 1980s. But Wiggins also formed an early bond with UK Coach John Calipari, who has gained a reputation as the sport's best recruiter.

It was shaping up as a two-horse race until Wiggins let it be known last fall that he would like other schools to get more involved. Several major programs inquired, and the two that made the cut turned out to be North Carolina and Kansas.

Wiggins was accompanied by his parents on official visits to all four schools. The FSU trip happened in early December, but the family waited until late in the season to see UK (Feb. 27), Kansas (March 4) and UNC (March 9).

Fulford said Wiggins wanted his mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, to be present for the college signing, and that's why it will be held Tuesday.

Payne-Wiggins, who lives in the Toronto area, has not yet arrived in Huntington. Fulford told the Herald-Leader on Sunday night that he was not sure whether Mitchell Wiggins would join his wife on the trip.

Kentucky already boasts an eight-player recruiting class that is being discussed as possibly the best collection of high school talent in college basketball history. The group includes a record six McDonald's All-Americans — Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, James Young, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson — and in-state standouts Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins.

Several national media outlets have released early rankings for the 2013-14 season, and UK has held the No. 1 spot on the vast majority of those.

A commitment Tuesday from the best high school player in the country would only fuel the hype for next season.

Until Wiggins gives the word, the basketball world will have to wait just a little while longer.

"I have no clue where he's going or leaning, so I'm not much help here," Fulford said.

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

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