No. 1-ranked high school basketball prospect Andrew Wiggins committed to Kansas today.
The 18-year-old from Toronto is widely considered the best high school prospect in years. Some say he’s the best since Greg Oden in 2007, while more bullish scouts say you have to go back to LeBron James in 2003.
1. He’s a genetic freak. Wiggins is 6’8″. He is long like Kevin Durant. He can dunk like a young Tracy McGrady, as evidenced by his insane highlight videos on YouTube. ESPN’s Myron Medcalf summed it up like this, “He’s a member of that LeBron James genetic pool. The players whom competitors can’t simply overcome with hard work alone. They’re gifted. Unique.”
2. He’s got skills. There are plenty of NBA role players who are 6’8″ and get by on pure, freakish athleticism. Wiggins is special because he has the skill to go along with it. He averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 58% in his senior year of high school.
3. He plays defence. What sets LeBron apart is that he’s as good of a defender as he is a scorer. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress wrote a glowing write up of Wiggins’ defence, “Defensively, Wiggins has all the tools to be a game-changing presence, with his terrific size, length, frame and quickness.”
4. He has room to grow. Wiggins still isn’t a great ball-handler, his jump-shot isn’t there yet (neither was LeBron’s), and some say he just goes through the motions against lesser opponents. So right now, he’s no where close to LeBron’s level. But one scout told SI, “He has the highest ceiling I’ve seen in high school for a long time.”
5. He’d be the No. 1 pick. An NBA scout told ESPN’s Chad Ford that Wiggins would be picked No. 1 if he was eligible this year. He also said that Wiggins would be picked above Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, and Kyrie Irving if he had been in those drafts.
There are typically two types of NBA prospects — guys with raw athletic ability but limited skill, and guys with lots of skill but limited talent. Like Durant and James before him, Wiggins has shown that he has both, and the basketball world is enamoured.
Wiggins is a different player than LeBron. He’s not as big or physical. But in terms of hype at a young age, it’s an apt comparison.
Here he is in action:
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