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Wiggins a McDonald's All-American

Feb. 14, 2013 @ 05:16 PM

HUNTINGTON — For years, the McDonald’s All-American Game has been the measuring stick for high school basketball players around the nation.

In 2013, Huntington Prep’s Andrew Wiggins is the measuring stick as the nation’s top prospect.

It came as no surprise on Thursday afternoon when Wiggins was named as the headliner for the McDonald’s All-American Game, which will take place April 3 at 9:30 p.m. at Chicago’s United Center.

“I cherish the opportunity to play amongst the best and get my name and my game out there,” Wiggins said. “For the last two years, I’ve proven myself to be a McDonald’s All-American and I’m glad my hard work paid off.”

Wiggins’ involvement marks a first for Huntington Prep’s basketball program.

It is an accomplishment that head coach Rob Fulford is proud of for Wiggins and the Huntington Prep family.

“We’ve had 13 kids nominated for it in the three years we’ve been here, but to have one in it that’s actually going to play in the game, it’s special,” Fulford said.

Local McDonald’s representative Tom Wolf heaped praise on Huntington Prep for its development of skilled athletes and for putting the Tri-State on the map in the high school basketball realm.

“Huntington Prep is quickly establishing a history of fostering elite basketball talent...,” Wolf said. “The McDonald’s All-American Game presents the opportunity to preview the country’s up-and-coming basketball talent, and we’re excited to have our city represented.”

Fulford agreed with Wolf’s statement that the involvement of Wiggins, a Toronto native who came to Huntington two years ago, is something the Tri-State should take great pride in.

“Whether he’s from here or not, West Virginians should be happy that Andrew is representing Huntington, W.Va., in the McDonald’s game,” Fulford said. “It gives our state great exposure and there have been few picks from this state before.”

The most recent selections from the state were O.J. Mayo and Patrick Patterson, both of whom represented Huntington High School in 2007.

Now, both are in the NBA — Mayo with the Dallas Mavericks and Patterson with the Houston Rockets.

Like many of the players in the McDonald’s All-American Game, Wiggins is nearly an NBA lock barring injury and he’s projected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by many experts.

With the nation’s best gathering for the game, Wiggins knows that he will be a target for players trying to boost their name and their potential future draft stock.

He plans on also using the game to get his name out there and show those who haven’t seen him yet exactly what all the talk surrounding him is about.

“Hopefully, everything at the McDonald’s All-American Game goes as planned,” said Wiggins with a sly smile.

This year’s contest will be the 36th annual McDonald’s All-American Game and it will tip off at 9:30 p.m. or 30 minutes after the completion of the girls’ All-American Game.

The boys’ McDonald’s All-American Game will be shown live on ESPN.