HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Andrew Wiggins, sporting the crushing weight of LeBron James comparisons and capturing the attention of college basketball fans and media for months during his recruitment, chose to sign with Kansas on Tuesday during a ceremony at Huntington Prep.

Sorry, Kentucky. (You’ll have to settle for only six blue-chippers this year). Good effort, North Carolina. (Maybe Roy would’ve had a better shot in Lawrence?). Nice try, Florida State. (As if.)

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Forward Andrew Wiggins (22) worked against Jabari Parker during the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago. Wiggins announced Tuesday he’ll play for Kansas.

Though West Virginia wasn’t in the running for the 6-foot-8 player with guard skills, forward length and Herculean expectations, the Mountaineers should get to face him at least twice in Big 12 action next season. That likely will be his only college season — a one-and-done Wiggins is widely projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

Born and raised in Toronto, Wiggins was hailed in recent weeks as the best high school prospect since the LeBron James spectacle sprang from Akron in 2003.

How talented and hyped is Wiggins? ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, never one to duck superlatives, told USA Today: “This kid is even better than advertised when you see him in person. He fits into the category of LeBron James as a high school player we’ve never seen before because of his explosiveness.”

A CBSsports,com story posted minutes after the announcement hailed Kansas as a Final Four contender next season, even though the Jayhawks must replace all five starters. In fairness to that blogger, Bill Self had already signed four other top prospects.

Though the top-rated prospect in the 2013 class opted not to have Tuesday’s decision televised, that didn’t prevent social media from delivering second-by-second details. The hashtag #WigginsWatch was blowing up with speculation about which school he would attend and fashion reviews poured in regarding the denim threads he wore to the ceremony.

Conversely, all the widespread love Twitterverse showed Wiggins before his announcement promptly turned to vitriol when spurned corners of the Kentucky and UNC fan bases began wishing the kid torn ACLs and an NIT bid. (Instead of hijacking the AP’s phone records, perhaps the Obama administration should be rounding up these Twidiots, if only to make our society less repulsive.)

Wiggins led Huntington Prep to a 30-3 record this season by averaging 23.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists last season.

With an NBA dad (guard Mitchell Wiggins played six seasons with the Bulls, Rockets and Sixers) and an Olympic mom (Marita Payne-Wiggins medaled twice for the Canadian 4 x 400 relay team), Wiggins certainly has the genetics to become a legend.

Now it’s up to him to prove he has the follow-through.

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Comments

  • wvtd

    that's a real nice halfway house huggings is running in Morgantown. crime does pay if you want to play for huggins.

  • John

    Scout ranks our 2013 class 18th in the country and ESPN ranks it 22nd. Kansas is the only Big 12 school ahead of us on Scout and Kansas and Baylor are the only 2 Big 12 schools ahead of us on ESPN. Don't sound to me like ole sweat suit is doing too bad. Beilein sure didn't have any classes ranked that high. So go the naysayers.

  • big tom

    we don't need top ten recruits,,, beilein did magic with little known recruits,,, we need someone who is willing to put in the time and team these guys,,
    but for starters, we need to reevaluate the character of the recruits we bring in under huggins...
    we need high IQ bb players, not thugs.

    • DH

      WVU can't land top notch recruits because they all read the posts/messages from tw eagle, william, and big tom (insert sarcasim here)

      • Shawn

        You would be surprised how many kids actually follow these sites. If i were a recruit and i read this dumb sh*t i wouldnt come here either! I wish the would disable all comments and just let people read the article and move on...including myself.

    • Davy

      Big Tom- Beilein is no longer here, so stop dwelling on the past. His success at Michigan is largely in part of kids of alumni playing for him. I am. It taking anything away from his skill as a quality coach or the class he displays. Must be his upbringing and being a Wheeling College graduate(now Wheeling Jesuit University) and a decent ball player while enrolled at same.

  • pghmountaineer

    Boy, just one time would be nice if we landed a top 10 recruit.
    Oh well, just wishful thinking.

  • Hop'sHip

    Can someone explain the reason for this rule? If this kid is good enough to play in the NBA now, why must he wait a year?

    • chad

      I can't explain, but i will say it's complete BS

  • big tom

    if bill self can recruit top prospects to boondocks U, why can't huggins get more than JC's and criminals...
    i'm really at a loss,, so all you smart freshmen at wvu need to clue me in.
    wvu , imo, a great sports university, located a few miles south of pittsburgh, can't recruit consistanly , top level talent, with this unbeleiveable practice facility,,,
    add it up folks, let me know,,, something is dragging down wvu's athletic dept, especially basketball.

    • tw eagle

      YES , the heaviest anchor dragging down the WVU basketball program is SWEATSUIT Higgins . . .

    • chad

      Just for good measure here is another kick in your twig and berries. The top rated recruit WVU has ever brought in was a guy by the name of Devin Ebanks. Can you guess who recruited him? BOB HUGGINS genius.

      • Justin

        devin ebanks sucked. he was good at defense because of his long arms.. huggins cant recruit and i thought he could.. when you look at his track record @ cincy he was just getting inner city kids to come there... im not giving up on huggs but i was hoping for more talented kids. hopefully next season we'll be good and put this gale catelett of a year behind us.

    • chad

      oh yeah and your opinion doesn't mean jack squat to the #1 High School BBall recruit. When was the last time WVU got the #1 player in the country? I'll tell ya when dufuss, NEVER. Hasn't ever happened, never will happen.

  • Justin

    why couldnt huggins land this kid

    • Oh Did Ya?

      Call it what it is....the pay check wasn't big enough. Kansas cheats, UK cheats, UNC cheats, even God almighty himself Coach K is a cheater. WVU doesn't have the "support system" to afford these kids.

    • chad

      Because this kid is from Toronto Canada and could care less about WVU. He wants to play at a high profile program. WVU is not a high profile program

      • tw eagle

        WVU will not be a 'high profile' program while "SWEATSUIT" Higgins is in charge of the program . .. . his recruiting is so weak he can't even get the attention of kids living in West Virginia . . .

        • Charles

          Funny. National recruiting services ranked our recruiting class 22nd in the nation. But they don't know as much as you I guess.

  • hailey

    Great post Billy now you can go back to bed, & let the big gals have their say. Wiggins is a great talent, seen him many times in person... too bad WVU was not on his radar, but when we win next year it will even be more exciting.

    • tw eagle

      hailey , are you actually hallucinating a WVU win over Kansas in basketball ? is anyone aware of the fact that you have slipped away from the Weston hospital . . . ?

  • WILLIAM

    Looks like no $25,000.00 dollar bonus for 'Sweatsuit' Huggins next year!

    • Big Larry

      William,

      Love your work!

    • Nobama

      I know your vocabulary skills probably rival your intelligence but could you maybe think of something else besides "Sweatsuit Huggins". Its getting old.

      • bigd

        His vocabulary is limited.

    • Justin

      he doesnt need a bonus.. he is loaded.

      • JoeJoe

        When describing Huggins, be careful using the word "loaded." Remember, he "fell" in his hotel room in Las Vegas, broke a coffee table and a couple of his ribs. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
        Remember, he "fell" coming off an airplane in Charlotte where the tarmac broke his fall.
        Remember in Pittsburgh last year when he showed up at a basketball conference "drunk and slurring his words" and gave a speech in this condition.