Wiggins spurns FSU for Kansas
Published on Thursday, 5/16/13, at 6:06 p.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
When Andrew Wiggins signed a letter of intent to attend Kansas on Tuesday, Bill Self and the Jayhawks were huge winners. Coming off their gut-wrenching overtime loss to Michigan in the South Region semifinals at Cowboys Stadium this past March, they were due a dose of good luck.
KU lost all five starters from last year’s Sweet 16 squad, but Wiggins joins a stellar recruiting class that will ensure a preseason top-10 ranking. Many betting shops adjusted Kansas’s future odds from 30/1 to 10/1.
Bovada had KU with the second-shortest odds to win the national title (11/2) behind only Kentucky, which is the 5/1 ‘chalk.’ Bovada also released a pair of props for Wiggins, who is the -300 favorite to be the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. Also, the ‘over/under’ for his scoring average as a freshman is 18.0 points per game.
While Kansas was the big winner with Wiggins, FSU was the clear-cut loser of the four teams vying for his services (UNC and Kentucky were the others). Wiggins was a double legacy and had a long relationship with head coach Leonard Hamilton.
Mitchell Wiggins played at FSU in the early 1980s before an NBA career mostly spent with the Houston Rockets. Andrew Wiggins’s mother was also a Seminole.
Coming off a disappointing season, the hope in Tallahassee was that Wiggins would lead FSU back to the NCAA Tournament in 2013-2014. Without him, Hamilton’s team might not even be an NIT team.
Now let’s empty the notebook with some thoughts/notes/developments since the end of March Madness…
–With Russ Smith electing to return to Louisville for his senior season, the Cardinals have a legit shot at repeating. Sportsbook.ag has KU and UK as the +500 co-favorites (risk $100 to win $500) to win the national title, while Duke and Louisville share 12/1 odds.
–Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart decided to return for his sophomore season despite being projected as a lottery pick. That’s huge for Travis Ford, who has yet to take the Cowboys to the Sweet 16 in his first five seasons at the helm.
–Southern Cal head coach Andy Enfield has made a pair of quality hires on his new staff. Enfield, who led No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16 before being hired by USC, has hired Tony Bland and Jason Hart. Bland had been on Steve Fisher’s staff at San Diego St. and helped the Aztecs land several high-profile prospects in recent years. Hart, who played in the NBA after a banner career at Syracuse, should be able to recruit both coasts after recently working on the Pepperdine staff.
–Mark Fox’s luck isn’t getting any better. Georgia lost heartbreakers galore late in the regular season and was a much better team than its final 15-17 record indicated. The 2013-2014 Bulldogs had the look of an NCAA Tournament team if rising junior Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had decided to return. Unfortunately for Fox and the Dawgs, ‘KCP’ elected to turn pro. Caldwell-Pope averaged 18.5 points per game and finished his collegiate days with a career-high 32-point effort in a loss to LSU at the SEC Tournament.
–Arkansas 6-10 center Hunter Mickelson is transferring from Arkansas. Mickelson set a school record for blocked shots (72) by a freshman two years ago, but he averaged only 5.5 PPG as a sophomore. Mike Anderson is also losing Marshawn Powell and B.J. Young with their decisions to leave school early for the NBA Draft.
–According to Rivals.com’s latest rankings, SMU has the No. 14 recruiting class lined up. Larry Brown was able to land five-star shooting guard Keith Frazier, who is from the Dallas area and is ranked as the nation’s 18th-best overall player by Rivals. Brown also scored the country’s best juco big man in Yanick Moreira.
–LSU is a program on the rise. Johnny Jones has the #10 recruiting class (per Rivals) coming to Baton Rouge this fall. Perhaps most important, Johnny O’Bryant is returning for his junior campaign. The Tigers also have a nice backcourt with Anthony Hickey and Andre Stringer.
–After getting next to no playing time as a true freshman, Florida point guard Braxton Ogbueze has transferred to Charlotte. His defection opened up a scholarship spot that has been given to Eli Carter, who transferred to UF from Rutgers. Carter was RU’s leading scorer the past two seasons, averaging 14.9 points per game as a sophomore this past year. He will sit out this upcoming season and be eligible for two years starting in 2014-2015. The Gators also got Mike Rosario as a transfer from Rutgers. Rosario started for UF as a senior and helped the team to its third straight Elite Eight this past March. Sportsbook.ag has the Gators with 15/1 odds to win it all next year.
–Florida’s non-conference slate includes road games at Wisconsin and at UConn. The Gators beat the Badgers by 18 at the O-Dome this past year and they haven’t faced the Huskies since beating them in the 1994 Sweet 16. Also, UF will host FSU, Kansas and Richmond and will face Memphis at the Jimmy V Classic in NYC.