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Lone reporter at Andrew Wiggins announcement enjoys temporary popularity surge

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Andrew Wiggins' desire to make the announcement of his college destination an intimate affair did have one unintended consequence.

[Also: Andrew Wiggins chooses Kansas; can he deliver on his hype? | Watch: Forde analysis]

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Grant Traylor (via Twitter)

It turned the lone reporter allowed in Huntington Prep's gym on Tuesday afternoon into an instant must-follow for diehard college hoops fans.

Grant Traylor, who covers Marshall Athletics and high school sports for the Huntington Herald Dispatch, had a modest 1,962 Twitter followers Sunday when he went to cover the NCAA tournament selection show party for the Thundering Herd softball team. Once Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford revealed Sunday night that Traylor would be the only reporter in the building for Wiggins' announcement, however, that number began to mushroom.

It reached 8,100 by Monday morning. It reached 10,400 by Monday night. And minutes before Wiggins revealed Tuesday at 12:09 p.m. EST that he was headed to Kansas, Traylor had more than 17,800 followers, roughly nine times the number he had less than 48 hours earlier.

[Watch: Highlights of top prospect Andrew Wiggins]

Traylor's tweet that revealed Wiggins' decision to everyone outside the gym received 1,800 retweets. His mentions poured in so quickly his phone wasn't equipped to deal with all of them.

That Traylor was the lone reporter in the room when Wiggins made his long-awaited announcement was no accident. The 29-year-old has diligently covered Fulford's efforts to transform Huntington Prep into one of the most successful prep school basketball program's in the nation.

"He and I have had a good working relationship for the last few years," Traylor told the Tallahassee Democrat on Monday. "I guess I was one of the first people that recognized the level of talent he was bringing in and tried to spread the word. That earned me that trust."

[Also: Twitter explodes in response to Andrew Wiggins' decision]

Other media outlets sent reporters to Huntington to interview Wiggins and his family after the announcement, but security kept them out of the gym until everything was over. Tweeted Louisville Courier-Journal reporter Adam Himmelsbach: "A couple of policemen standing watch outside entrance to St. Joe's. I asked if they'd ever had to guard a college decision before. 'Uh, no.'"

The brief moment in the national spotlight probably won't last too long for Traylor, who displayed a great sense of humor as his Twitter following began to shrink within minutes of Wiggins' announcement being over.

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