The Dagger

A look at the impact Andrew Wiggins could make at his four potential schools

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Andrew Wiggins (Getty Images)

Most recruits don't have the luxury of waiting until mid-May to reveal their college choice out of fear a scholarship at their chosen school will no longer be available by then.

Andrew Wiggins has no such concerns.

The nation's most coveted high school basketball player will choose between Florida State, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina sometime in the next week or so, his host mother Lesley Thomas told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Monday. The deadline to sign a letter of intent in the spring signing period is May 15, but Wiggins could merely sign scholarship papers instead if his decision dragged on further.

An explosive athlete and gifted scorer with ideal size and length for the small forward position, the 6-foot-8 Wiggins would be a season-changing addition for whichever one of the four schools he selects. Here's a look at the impact he could make at each of them:

FLORIDA STATE
Projected starting five with Wiggins: G Devon Bookert, G Aaron Thomas, F Andrew Wiggins, F Okaro White, C Kiel Turpin
Outlook: There's no school with more at stake in the chase for Wiggins than Florida State, the alma mater of both his parents. Florida State projects as a middle-of-the-pack ACC program with a chance to return to the NCAA tournament without Wiggins, but the Seminoles would probably start the season in the preseason Top 15 with him. Every key player is back for Florida State from last year's 18-win team with the exception of Michael Snaer, the team's leading scorer and top perimeter defender. With perimeter scoring punch from Wiggins, interior scoring from White, development from a young backcourt and improved defense from the whole roster after another year in Leonard Hamilton's system, Florida State would have as high a ceiling as it has had in recent history.

KENTUCKY
Projected starting five with Wiggins:
G Andrew Harrison, G Aaron Harrison, F Andrew Wiggins, F Julius Randle, C Willie Cauley-Stein
Outlook: Kentucky will likely have the nation's most talented roster regardless of whether Wiggins comes or not, but John Calipari will boast the top-rated recruit at every position if the talented Canadian joins the Wildcats. Between Wiggins, Kentucky's six other top 20 recruits and returning contributors Alex Poythress, Kyle Wiltjer and Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky would be two deep with prep All-Americans at every position. The question for Wiggins regarding Kentucky is twofold: Does he want the nonstop attention he'd receive in a basketball-crazed state and does he mind sharing the ball with so many other high-level prospects? By all accounts, Wiggins is more publicity-shy than publicity-starved, so that could impact his decision.

KANSAS
Projected starting five with Wiggins: G Naadir Tharpe, G Wayne Selden, F Andrew Wiggins, F Perry Ellis, C Joel Embiid
Outlook: With all five starters graduating from a team that won the Big 12 and reached the Sweet 16, Kansas has more questions than usual next season. For now, the Jayhawks' hope of holding off Oklahoma State and extending their Big 12 title streak depends on Naadir Tharpe solidifying the point guard position, Perry Ellis emerging as a breakout star and a promising freshman class making big contributions immediately. What the addition of Wiggins would do is give Kansas a go-to scorer and ease the pressure on everyone else. Suddenly, Tharpe won't have to work as hard to get everyone else buckets, Ellis can be a complementary scorer instead of the No. 1 option and the rest of the freshmen would be able to ease their way into their college careers. A Wiggins-led Kansas team would instantly vault into the preseason top 10 and would have very realistic hope of a Final Four-type season.

NORTH CAROLINA
Projected starting five with Wiggins: G Marcus Paige, G P.J. Hairston, F Andrew Wiggins, F James Michael McAdoo, F Desmond Hubert
Outlook: With or Without Wiggins, North Carolina coach Roy Williams appears to be committed to going back to a traditional lineup with two big men on the floor. That likely means a backcourt of Paige, Leslie McDonald and Hairston, with McAdoo at power forward and whoever emerges among the group of Joel James, Desmond Hubert, Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks at center. Add Wiggins to that group, and North Carolina instantly goes from ACC contender to ACC favorite and from borderline top 10 team to right there with Kentucky, Louisville and Michigan State in the title chase. Wiggins would thrive in the up-tempo system Williams favors, ease the pressure on McAdoo and allow McDonald to continue to come off the bench.

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