UK Recruiting

Buildup to Wiggins' college choice spans years

Courtesy of McDonald's

No more rumors, sources or guesswork.

Andrew Wiggins — the No. 1 high school basketball player in the country — will end all speculation Tuesday when he announces his college decision at 12:15 p.m. from his high school in Huntington, W.Va.

The finalists are Kentucky, Florida State, North Carolina and Kansas. Only one of them will be happy with the conclusion of this long, sometimes strange, trip that consumed the recruiting world. The other three will probably just be glad it's over.

Here's a look at the highlights of Wiggins' winding recruitment, from his roots in Canada to his big day in West Virginia:

August 2011: Wiggins, who had been a student at Vaughan Secondary School in his native Ontario, transfers to play for Huntington Prep in Huntington, W.Va. About that time, he makes his debut as the consensus No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2014.

Sept. 24: Wiggins makes his first unofficial visit to Kentucky, taking in the campus with Huntington Prep Coach Rob Fulford and teammate Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

Dec. 3: Wiggins takes an unofficial visit to UK to see the much-hyped matchup between the Wildcats and North Carolina. Freshman star Anthony Davis blocks a shot in the final seconds to help UK secure a victory in front of a raucous Rupp Arena crowd. "I thought it was amazing," Wiggins later told

July 20, 2012: Wiggins faces off against fellow top recruit Julius Randle, with Calipari and assistant coach Orlando Antigua in attendance, at the Nike Peach Jam Finals in North Augusta, S.C. Wiggins outplayed Randle down the stretch, finishing with 28 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in an 81-80 overtime victory.

July 30: AAU coach Mike George tells the Herald-Leader that UK and Florida State are recruiting Wiggins the hardest after both Calipari and FSU Coach Leonard Hamilton attend his basketball camp in Canada. George says that will be a big factor in Wiggins' decision: "It's who's recruiting him hardest. That's what counts. That's what he wants to see. If he's playing, you better have a coach there front and center. And it better be the head coach. And if it's not — you have a problem."

Oct. 13: Xavier Rathan-Mayes — Wiggins' longtime friend and teammate — commits to Florida State. Rathan-Mayes, a four-star shooting guard, has been mentioned as one of the reasons Wiggins might choose the Seminoles.

Oct. 22: Wiggins makes it clear in an interview with that he has opened his recruitment to schools other than perceived favorites UK and Florida State. "My options are still wide open," he says. "People think they can dictate or know where I'm going, but they might be in for a surprise." Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio State and Syracuse are among the schools that express interest.

Oct. 25: Fulford announces that Wiggins will join the class of 2013. He is immediately listed as the No. 1 overall prospect in the senior class.

Nov. 18: Wiggins leads Huntington Prep to a 61-44 victory over Christian Faith Center (N.C.) at Scott County High School in Georgetown. The crowd of more than 2,000 includes Calipari, Antigua and several current UK players. "The atmosphere was great," Wiggins said. "All of the fans loved me and supported my team. It's a great place to play basketball here. People love basketball ... the desire for the game. So I appreciate that."

Nov. 30-Dec. 1: Wiggins plays two games at the Marshall County Hoop Fest in Benton, Ky., and averages 27 points and 13 rebounds in the two victories. There were more than 5,000 fans — many of them wearing blue — for each game. Among the spectators was UK commitment Derek Willis. "He's a freak. He's probably the best player I've seen in my entire life," Willis tells the Herald-Leader.

Dec. 5: Wiggins and his parents attend the Florida State-Florida game as part of the official visit to Tallahassee. The Gators trounce the Seminoles, 72-47, but Wiggins' parents are honored with a halftime celebration of their past accomplishments as FSU athletes. "(FSU's coaches) talked about the legacy," Wiggins told "It's appealing. It's something that I could look forward to (if I went there)."

Feb. 7, 2013: Sports Illustrated publishes a lengthy article with the headline, "The Canadian Jordan, Andrew Wiggins the great hope north of border." The piece questions Wiggins' work ethic, mentions several Canadian prospects who have fizzled in the past and references his father's two-year drug suspension from the NBA. Later that night, Wiggins goes off for 57 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, while making 24 of 28 field goals in a victory over the Marietta College JV team. Wiggins and Fulford said after the game that the performance was sparked by the "negative" SI article.

Feb. 25: Wiggins is named the Naismith Player of the Year, beating out fellow finalists Jabari Parker and Aaron Gordon for the honor.

Feb. 27: Wiggins and his parents attend the UK-Mississippi State game as part of their official visit to Lexington. "That was a good visit. It was crazy. The game I went to the fans were crazy. They're always crazy. My parents liked it."

March 2: A crowd at Boyd County Middle School in Ashland looks on as Wiggins scores 40 points in the final game of his high school career.

March 4: Wiggins and his parents travel to Kansas to see the Jayhawks play Texas Tech as part of their official visit to Lawrence.

March 9: Wiggins takes his final official visit to see the Tar Heels play archrival Duke in their regular-season finale. His parents also accompanied him to Chapel Hill. "It was a crazy experience," Wiggins said. "For some people a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see Duke and UNC go at it. That rivalry is crazy. I have a lot of family in North Carolina and my dad was born there. So it was good."

March 20: Julius Randle — who some services consider the best prospect not named Andrew Wiggins — commits to Kentucky. A couple weeks later, Wiggins is asked what his reaction was when he first heard of Randle's commitment. "I don't remember," he says with a smile.

March 27: NBA great Alonzo Mourning surprises Wiggins at his school with the national Gatorade Player of the Year Award, which recognizes athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the court.

March 28: The Hamburglar and Grimace stop by Wiggins' high school to acknowledge the player's selection to the McDonald's All-American Game. Standing in for Mayor McCheese was Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, who proclaims the date Andrew Wiggins Day in Huntington. Calipari also drops in on Wiggins for what Fulford later described as a "pretty informal, laid-back talk." It turns out to be the final face-to-face meeting with a college head coach during his recruitment.

April 2: Wiggins talks to reporters about his recruitment during the McDonald's Game media day. He outlines the positives of each of his finalists, specifically mentioning the appeal of playing with other top recruits at UK. "They'll all probably be superstars when they go to the next level. It's always good to surround yourselves with guys who you know are going to make it too."

April 3: Wiggins scores a team-high 19 points in the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago, but his East team falls to the West, 110-99.

April 12: ESPN's Keith Jenkins tweets, "Source tells me Andrew Wiggins ... will commit to Florida State. Nothing official as of yet." Wiggins, who is attending the dinner banquet at the Jordan Brand Classic, responds almost immediately with a tweet of his own, "Lol if you ain't in my family you know nothing about my recruitment, lol stop with the rumors." Jenkins' tweet is later deleted.

April 13: Wiggins scores 19 points in the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn. His team, which includes Randle and the Harrison twins, loses 102-98 to a squad featuring James Young, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee. Wiggins is asked by an ESPN sideline reporter when he thinks he'll make a college announcement. "No clue," he says with a shrug.

April 20: Wiggins scores 17 points to go with nine rebounds and four assists in the World's 112-98 victory over Team USA at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Ore.

April 22: Twitter nearly breaks with the news that Wiggins has canceled in-home visits with coaches Leonard Hamilton, Roy Williams and Bill Self. The reason for the cancellations: Wiggins is exhausted from a grueling three weeks on the all-star circuit followed by travel problems getting back to Huntington from the Hoop Summit in Portland. Instead of face-to-face meetings, he talks to all three coaches on the phone before the end of the contact period April 24.

May 3: A Maryland seafood restaurateur with the Twitter handle Johnny Crabcakes posts a letter showing his connection to North Carolina Coach Roy Williams and declares that his sources tell him Wiggins will sign with the Tar Heels later that day. The tweets go viral. When the deadline passes, Crabcakes says he might be off on the timeline, but reiterates that "Wiggins to UNC is a done deal." Fulford responds to the Herald-Leader with incredulity: "I can promise you Roy Williams would tell me Andrew is committing before he did the guy that gets his crab cakes," he says.

May 12: Fulford tells several media members that Wiggins will make his college announcement May 14 during a private signing ceremony at his high school. Sticking with the theme of the highly secretive recruitment, Fulford says: "I have no clue where he's going or leaning, so I'm not much help here."

May 13: The predictions start rolling in, and the consensus seems to be Florida State. Among those who pick the Seminoles are ESPN's Dave Telep, 24/7 Sports analyst Jerry Meyer,'s Eric Bossi and CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish.

May 14: Decision Day.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader