Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Recruiting: Analyzing the Competition for Andrew Wiggins

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It’s getting down to the wire for Andrew Wiggins’ decision and coaches are scrambling to get in a final word with the high school super star. Both Roy Williams and Bill Self will visit with Wiggins early next week. Leonard Hamilton visited him yesterday. Wiggins is down to four schools, Kentucky included, but what will he be walking into with each program?

Wiggins made a comment at the Jordan Brand Classic regarding his recruitment that he is looking at coaching, top notch facilities, and talent to surround him and whichever school he chooses.

Here is a look at key returning players, key departing players, new recruits, final 2012 standings and 2013 preseason rankings for each team.

Feb 23, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Willie Cauley-Stein (15) dunks the ball against the Missouri Tigers in the first half at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Missouri 90-83. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Wildcats:

Final Season Ranking- N/A

2012/2013 Season Record- 21-11

Tournament Performance- Lost first round of NIT to Robert Morris

Key Losses- Nerlens Noel (Center), Archie Goodwin (Guard), Ryan Harrow (Guard), Julius Mays (Guard)

Key Returning Players- Willie Cauley-Stein (Center), Alex Poythress (Forward), Kyle Wiltjer (Forward)

Key Incoming Freshmen- #2 Julius Randle, #5 Andrew Harrison, #7 Aaron Harrison, #9 Dakari Johnson, #11 James Young, #19 Marcus Lee

Recruiting Class Rank- #1

2013/2014 Preseaon Rank- #1

The Wildcats have the most talent coming in and arguably the most talent coming back for another season under John Calipari. There is no doubt that the preseason expectations for this team are sky high. Consider the fact that Alex Poythress was a McDonald’s American, that makes seven Burger Boys on the roster.

But as we saw last season, it’s not all about high school rankings and all star games. The talent has to mesh. Cal’s latest squad never clicked. Part of that was due to the season ending injury of Nerlens Noel and the other part was due to the lack of veteran leadership. The 2013 ‘Cats will have a perfect mix of young talent and veteran leadership, with a possible 10-12 man rotation.

How would this influence Wiggins? The talent that he seeks to surround himself with is plentiful; but is it too much? It all depends on whether or not Wiggins wants to be the man or if he wants to be a part of a whole. While he will no doubt be the focus for Cal’s offense, he will have to defer his scoring depending on the flow of the game and match ups.

Nick Wiggins, Andrew Wiggins brother, stated that he doesn’t think Andrew can shine at Kentucky due to all of the talent. But I think that Andrew could shine the brightest on a team of stars, a major accomplishment in and of itself. The determining factor will be whether or not he wants to fill his stats or if he wants to win. He could be Kevin Durant during his time at Texas or he could be Anthony Davis during his time at Kentucky.

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