A grin spread across Andrew Wiggins’ face when asked about his visit to the Basketball Hall of Fame and a playful rivalry with his fellow Canada native, St. Benedict’s Syracuse-bound Tyler Ennis, who predicted a 20-point game if he were to play against Huntington Prep.
“If he faced us?” Wiggins deadpanned. “I’ll give him 10 points.”
But if the No. 1 recruit in the country had any thoughts on his ballyhooed recruitment, he wasn’t in the mood to share them on Sunday night, despite Huntington Prep’s 55-47 victory over New Hampton School at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. Wiggins made a quick exit from Blake Arena before the inevitable questions about his impending college decision could begin.
“He won’t admit it,” Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford said, “but the recruiting part of it is starting to… it’s weighing on him a little bit. I think his mentality’s a little different, and his shot hasn’t been falling this year.
“He was a pretty consistent shooter last year; that’s one of the areas that he’s struggled with this year, his jump shooting. I think he hit a three tonight, that’s probably the first one he’s hit in a few games. His free throw percentage is pretty low right now, for a guy who gets there as much as he does.”
True enough, Wiggins had no trouble getting to the line against New Hampton, shooting 15 free throws. But he made just eight of them. However, that was about the only blemish on his performance – Wiggins scored 19 points, collected 10 rebounds and was named MVP of the game. He easily got the better of his much-hyped matchup with Indiana-bound Noah Vonleh, who was limited to just 16 minutes by foul trouble, much of it stemming from attempting to guard Wiggins.
“(Wiggins) was looking forward to the matchup because he likes to play against other elite guys,” Fulford said. “In games where there’s not that five-star name, he kind of coasts a little bit. But when there’s somebody across from him who has that elite status like he has, he steps up a little bit.”
If the recruitment process is wearing on Wiggins – who has also dealt with bouts with the flu and bronchitis over the past couple of weeks – it’s understandable. Karl Towns of St. Joseph’s Metuchen, a 2014 top 5 recruit, recently detailed to Dime how relieved he was to make his decision public early, so as to stop the endless questions and allow him to focus on winning a state title.
“You don’t want to worry about having a bad game and have a scholarship offer go away or something,” said Towns, who verbally committed to Kentucky in early December.