You may or may not recognize the name Andrew Wiggins. It may sound vaguely familiar, like a friend of a friend you met at a bar one time. Only you weren’t at a bar with Andrew Wiggins because he’s only 18 years old. And yet, Andrew Wiggins is poised to become one of the biggest names Toronto has ever been able to lay claim to.
Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Andrew Wiggins. That’s why you’re going to know his name. Hell, Adidas sure does. Rumour has it that they’re going to offer the 6 ft 8-inch small forward a $180-million shoe contract as soon as he raps up his first, and only, season as a Kansas Jayhawk. (They legally have to wait until he opts to turn pro.) This kid is the next big thing and he’s from… Thornhill? We know, we were a bit confused too. Let us fill you in.
Wiggins’ athleticism didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. His father played a few seasons in the NBA and his mother is a former Canadian Olympic track-and-field sprinter. So, uh, ya – the kid definitely has genes. But he’s been putting in his time too. After two years at Vaughan Secondary School he transferred down to Huntington Prep School in West Virginia (one of the top 10 basketball programs in the U.S.) to finish his high school career. Since making the transfer he’s been named the 2013 Naismith Prep Player of the Year, 2013 Gatorade National Player of the Year (the first Canadian ever), and ESPN’s Mr. Basketball USA. You know who the first Mr. Basketball was? Wilt Chamberlain. Point is, Wiggins has the potential to be somebody we’re going to be hearing about, and watching, for years to come. In fact, he already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated before ever playing a single game of college hoops. When we were 18 we were still living in our parents’ basement.
Wiggins is the most talented player in an incredibly talented draft year. In the NBA they’ve even started a saying for any team not appearing to be playing up to its potential: Riggin’ for Wiggins. It applies to any team that might lose a few extra games just to have a better shot in the draft lottery of gaining the much-coveted number one pick. Remember when the Cleveland Cavaliers finished in last place in the 2002-03 season and got the #1 pick in the same year that LeBron James, of Akron, Ohio, was available? Well, all we’re saying is that if the Raptors struggle their way through this season, and that struggle results in a homecoming for Wiggins, we won’t be too surprised if everyone in this city is suddenly walking around with a smile on their face and a pair of Adidas on their feet.