Wiggins wins Naismith Player of the Year
HUNTINGTON — It’s been quite a few days for Huntington Prep’s Andrew Wiggins.
On Saturday, Wiggins enjoyed a milestone by celebrating his 18th birthday.
Monday brought about another milestone — only this time, it was on the basketball court.
Wiggins was named Monday as the 2013 Naismith High School Boys Player of the Year, the highest honor given to high school level basketball players.
“He’s worked very hard in his life to get to this stage and I’m proud of the fact that the awards are starting to catch up to him,” Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford said.
The award solidifies what has been talked about for the last two years — Wiggins is the best in his classification at the high school level.
As news of the award circulated, Wiggins had several celebrity Canadians recognizing him for the accomplishment — none bigger than Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper who Tweeted, “Just heard the news that the best High School basketball player in the United States is Canadian Andrew Wiggins. Congratulations @22wiggins!”
After reclassifying to the Class of 2013 prior to the season, Wiggins has put up outstanding numbers in his final year for Huntington Prep, averaging 23.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.4 steals and 2.1 blocks per game.
Those numbers helped him beat out fellow finalists Aaron Gordon, a power forward from Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), and Simeon (Ill.) small forward Jabari Parker for Naismith honors.
“I think overall his game is improved so much from this year to last year,” Fulford said. “It’s really been an honor to have him in Huntington the last two years. It’s not just basketball because he’s a better kid than he is a basketball player, but having his level of basketball here every day.”
While Parker has committed to Duke, both Wiggins and Gordon are still undecided in their college plans as the recruiting cycle for the Class of 2013 gets into its final stages.
The award announcement kicks off a busy six-week stretch for Wiggins, who gets his recruitment back into full swing this week.
“It’s going to be a challenging time for him the next couple of months as he finishes out the school year and takes part in all that’s surrounding him,” Fulford said. “He’s worked hard for it, though, and I’m glad that he’s starting to get those accolades.”
Wiggins will visit Wednesday at the University of Kentucky before coming back for an 8 p.m., Thursday, game at Teays Valley Christian in Scott Depot, W.Va., and a Senior Day game at 2 p.m., Saturday against United Leadership Academy of Canada at Boyd County Middle School in Summit, Ky.
He’ll also visit Kansas University and the University of North Carolina next week.
He is the featured act in the McDonald’s All-American Game on April 3 at Chicago’s United Center, followed April 4-6 with Huntington Prep playing in the National High School Invitational tournament in Bethesda, Md.
Wiggins will play April 13 in the Jordan Brand Classic at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
He goes to Portland, Ore., to compete for the World Team in the Nike Hoop Summit at 7 p.m., April 20, at the Rose Garden.
Huntington Prep Senior Day
Fans will get their final chance to see Andrew Wiggins, Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Huntington Prep when the Express takes on United Leadership Academy (Canada) at 2 p.m., Saturday, at Boyd County Middle School in Summit, Ky. Admission is $8.
Andrew Wiggins’ Dates to Remember
Feb. 27 — Kentucky visit for Mississippi State game, Rupp Arena
March 4 — Kansas visit for Texas Tech game, Allen Fieldhouse
March 9 — North Carolina visit for Duke game, Dean Smith Center
March 31-April 3 — McDonald’s All-American Game and events, United Center, Chicago
April 4-6 — National High School Invitational tournament, Georgetown Prep, Bethesda, Md.
April 13 — Jordan Brand Classic, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
April 20 — Nike Hoop Summit, Rose Garden, Portland, Ore.