Canadian basketball star Andrew Wiggins to play at Kansas
Jayhawks beat out 3 other top schools
Canadian teen basketball phenom Andrew Wiggins on Tuesday signed his letter of intent to attend the University of Kansas, according to multiple reports.
The highly touted NBA prospect eschewed the spotlight surrounding his much anticipated decision, declaring his intention in a private cerermony at his prep school in Huntington, W. Va.
"I didn't really want to open it up to the public," he said. "I knew it would be jam packed in here. I wanted people who appreciated me and people I appreciate to be here watching me. I wanted a lot of people I knew."
Despite the loss of Ben McLemore to the NBA draft, four of Kansas's five recruits are considered to be in the top 50 nationally, including guards Conner Frankamp and Wayne Selden, forward Brannen Greene and center Joel Embiid.
"I'm looking forward to getting there and just doing my thing," Wiggins said.
"I just followed my heart," he added.
The 18-year-old was named the winner both the Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award this season, an honour previously won by NBA superstars such as Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and LeBron James.
Wiggins averaged 23.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists while leading his Huntington St. Joseph Prep team to a 30-3 record.
He was also named the recipient of the Gatorade Player of the Year award in basketball and will likely vie for the omnibus Athlete of the Year honour awarded by that organization in the summer.
Wiggins has wowed scouts with his shot-making and jumping abilities.
The six-foot-eight guard showed off his talents against his peers last month.
He scored a team-high 19 points in a losing effort for the East in the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago, and followed that up with 17 points and nine rebounds in Portland as the World Select Team downed Team U.S.A. in the Nike Summit game.
Most basketball observers expect that, should there be no hiccups during his 2013-14 NCAA season, Wiggins will declare his eligibility for the 2014 NBA Draft.
Wiggins kept the sport's fans in suspense, with other prospects announcing their intentions weeks and months ago. The deadline to announce was Wednesday.
Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida State also made concerted efforts to land Wiggins.
Both his mother and father attented Florida State. Mitchell Wiggins went on to play 389 NBA games, while Marita Payne-Wiggins was part of two track relay silver medals for Canada at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
"Florida State was great for mom, it was great for dad," Mitchell Wiggins said. But he recalled telling his son, "it's your time. It's not 20-30 years ago."
But the father said Kansas will "be a great fit. Hopefully Andrew stays humble, stays hungry. We'll see how it plays out."
Wiggins is the fourth of six children. Two less heralded older brothers, Nick and Mitchell Jr., play basketball collegiately in the U.S, while each of his three sisters have also played the sport.
Nick Wiggins won't be too far from his brother, about three hours away at Wichita State.
With files from The Associated Press