Out of a country that historically has championed hockey, there has been a basketball sensation named Andrew Wiggins, who has generated a great deal of interest internationally. At thirteen, an internet highlight video of him playing basketball spread virally and has generated nearly 2.7 million hits. Last summer, as a fifteen year-old playing for Canada at the FIBA 17U semi-finals in Hamburg, Germany, the Ontario native scored 20 points on seven of thirteen shooting against a loaded Team USA squad in a loss. Wiggins followed that performance up by scoring twelve points in helping Canada earn a bronze medal with a narrow 83-81 win against Lithuania.
Genetically, he’s been blessed by having two world-class athletes as parents. His father, Mitchell, was an honorable mention All-American at Florida State and a first-round draft pick in 1983 for the Indiana Pacers. Mr. Wiggins, who was born in Kinston, North Carolina, played shooting guard professionally for a span of sixteen years, including six in the National Basketball Association.
Andrew’s mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, originally from Barbados, was an All-American track star at Florida State, where she met her future husband. At age 23, the 5’8″ track star, won two silver medals, representing Canada, at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. More than twenty-five years later, she still holds the Canadian women’s outdoor record for speed in both the 200 meter (22.62 seconds) and 400 meter (49.91 seconds). Although Mrs. Payne-Wiggins didn’t win another medal, she competed for Canada in the 1988 Seoul Olympics as well.
Andrew, the middle of five Wiggins children, played briefly in America during the 2009-10 season for Ro Russell and Christian Center Faith Academy in Creedmoor, North Carolina, a thirty-minute drive from the Duke campus. Wiggins’ parents elected to take him back to Canada to go to Vaughan Secondary School, just north of Toronto, for one year. This season, while competing for the Vaughan Voyageurs, the nearly 6’7″ wing averaged twenty points per game. In very likely his only high school year in his native Canada, Wiggins enjoyed a storybook ending, scoring twenty-five points and grabbing thirteen rebounds in the gold medal game to lead Vaughan to a OFSAA AAAA Championship.
The now sixteen year-old Wiggins has joined CIA Bounce, where the 2014 prospect has been a major contributor (averaging nearly twelve points and over five rebounds per game) on both ends, for their 12-3 Nike EYBL campaign. This upcoming high school season, the oft described Canadian prodigy will very likely take his talents to an American prep school.
Sixteen miles from where his mother won two Olympic medals, Andrew Wiggins, the confident but soft-spoken young man with a loud game, spoke with a lilting Caribbean accent to Blue Devil Nation.
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