It doesn’t matter if it is John Calipari or a coach from one of the many other schools recruiting Andrew Wiggins, they all have one dilemma.
“Everyone sort of doesn’t know how to recruit him because of the 2013-14 thing,” said Rob Fulford, Wiggins’ coach at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep.
Wiggins, considered the nation’s best prep player in any class, is a junior — for now. However, he is contemplating reclassifying to the 2013 class so he can get the expected one of year of college play out of the way before he heads to NBA stardom.
“Calipari said he didn’t care (which class he’s in). He said if we keep him in high school another year, he’ll take him in 2015,” Fulford said. “He (Wiggins) just needs to sit down with his parents and make that decision. Nothing has really changed.
“I would not say the recruiting is wearing on him. But he’s a different kid. He doesn’t like all the attention. He is probably even going to cut back on some people he’s talking to because it can get overwhelming.”
Fulford knows if Wiggins, a 6-7 forward with great leaping ability and overall skills, reclassifies to the 2013 recruiting class that recruiting will dramatically pick up quickly.
“Right now everybody is giving him his space. He is a quiet kid who does not have a whole lot to say,” Fulford said. “All the coaches are doing a good job recruiting him with the way his personality is. He does not need coach Cal to text him five times a day. He probably would not even respond. Cal told him he was not going to wear him out. He said, ‘You know I want to coach you and we want you at Kentucky. If you want to talk, call.’ All the coaches understand his personality and none want to be guilty of overkill.”
Fulford said Wiggins’ parents, who are from Canada, will be in Huntington soon to help him “figure out what to do.” That includes going over the academic plan if Wiggins wants to graduate this year — as Fulford thinks he probably should because of his skill level.
“His credits are fine. He just has to get an additional English credit here. It’s something he can do over the course of time. The school would accept as online credit. It’s a situation we have time (for him to do it), but I do not want to push it right now. Online classes are very time consuming and maybe not something you want to be doing in the middle of the season on top of a normal school load.
“This is not an easy school. As long as kids are up to speed on assignments and homework, it is set up for them to succeed because they get so much one-on-one attention from teachers. The school has been here 100 years and is very reputable from an academic standpoint. You are not going to be given anything.”
Because Huntington Prep’s roster is loaded with future Division I players — and stars — the team is using to have coaches at open gyms, practices and/or games. However, when Calipari came recently to watch Wiggins, who will be at Big Blue Madness Oct. 12, and teammates at an open gym, it created a bit of a stir.
“Coaches will come in and we just pretend they are not there as much as our players can,” Fulford said. “But this is a big Kentucky area. We have a ton of UK fans here. Everything shut down when Calipari came. Everybody wanted to take pictures. Our open gyms are at a pretty high level, but with those extra people watching our guys picked it up. It was a distraction, but our guys did a good job just playing. I always tell them not to play for coaches that come in, but worry about the five of us because that’s who you are playing for this year. But there’s no question that’s harder to do when Calipari walks in. People knew he was coming. We had more UK shirts than Marshall shirts here.”
Two other Huntington players — 6-5 sophomore Monteque Gill-Caeser and 6-10 Dominic Woodson — made unofficial visits to UK earlier this month.
“It’s obviously too early in the process to get real deep into it with Montake,” Fulford said. “The situation with Dominic is that he has some major offers. Kentucky has not extended an offer yet. It’s just a timing issue with UK and him. Obviously there is interest on both ends, but they are not going to offer early and he is trying to sign early. It’s more of a timing issue than anything.”
Where to play?
Huntington Prep planned to play games in both Louisville and Lexington in November, especially with Andrew Wiggins being a top recruiting target for Kentucky. However, coach Rob Fulford says the game in Louisville “is not going to happen” and he’s still trying to find a place to play in Lexington on Nov. 18.
“We tried to get the Alltech Arena (at the Kentucky Horse Park) but they have a rodeo the previous day and could not get set up,” Fulford said. “A couple of public schools have shot it down. I didn’t anticipate having such a problem finding a place to play with Andrew.”
Former UK player Jarrod Prickett would like to host a game at the Kentucky Basketball Academy, but it seats only 1,500.
“If we come to Lexington, we want to sell more tickets than that,” Fulford said. “We are still trying to figure it out.”
Huntington Prep will play in the Marshall County Hoop Fest Nov. 30-Dec. 1. It will also play in a new tournament at Boyd County Dec. 14-15. “That will be nice for us because it is so close,” Fulford said. “I am sure there will be a big UK following for all those games.”