Canada's next great hoops hope, Andrew Wiggins, will be playing for a powerhouse NCAA team by this time next year. In turn, that means basketball fans north of the border will see him a year sooner.
This is hardly out of left field in light of the 17-year-old's game, plus it has become a common practice for high-end hoopsters on the fast track to the NBA. Wiggins' father, former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins, says his son will soon say that he's headed to college. From there, Andrew Wiggins will likely be a one-and-done player before he goes into the draft, much like Brampton, Ont.'s Tristan Thompson was at Texas before the Cleveland Cavaliers took him No. 4 overall in 2011.
From Eric Prisbell:
"It's time," Mitchell Wiggins told USA TODAY Sports. "It's time for him (to show) that he is the best in college right now. I think he is ready for the next step. Academically-wise he is doing great. Maturity-wise he is doing great. He has a lot of talent. He is ready for the next step, and everybody knows it is time. It is Andrew's time. Next year is coming soon and he is ready."
Mitchell Wiggins said his son will publicly announce his decision to reclassify and attend college next season when he is comfortable. (USA Today)
Cue the recruiting frenzy reaching its zenith. Andrew Wiggins hasn't said which future-sneaker-endorser factory he plans to spend the obligatory one season before being drafted. He's been proclaimed the best amateur basketball player in the world and can pretty much write his own ticket to any perennial Top 25 team. Kentucky and Florida State, the latter being the alma mater of his former-NBAer father and his mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, a former Canadian Olympic sprinter, have often been the favourites but there could be others.
Recent rumors have Wiggins opening up his college recruitment and indicating that Kentucky and FSU were not the clear favorites. Those came out this week, yet the timing of this announcement and the fact that Wiggins is reclassifying seem to indicate the decision is further along that publicly stated. There has been no timetable as to when this announcement will be officially made and it will be very interesting to see what five visits Wiggins will take. (Wildcat Blue Nation)
The 2014 NBA draft will presumably come during the hand-off of power from David Stern to his successor Adam Silver. It would be far greater for Toronto Raptors fans if the local roundball concern is a playoff team by then. In the event that they end up in the draft lottery, however, could Stern pull off a 21st-century equivalent to the alleged frozen-envelope caper so Wiggins ends up in his homeland. Just for auld lang syne, eh.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.