Tag Archives: CIA Bounce

The Quiet Storm: An Interview With Andrew Wiggins

6’7″ Andrew Wiggins of Canada, Photo by Andrew Slater

“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

-Theodore Roosevelt 

 

 

Andrew Wiggins of CIA Bounce, Photo by Andrew Slater

Over the past four months, Andrew Wiggins has helped strengthen his case for being the best young prospect in the world. Blessed with having two parents who possessed the genetics and self-discipline required to be world-class athletes, Andrew has not squandered his opportunity.

This April, at the Nike Hoops Summit in Portland, Oregon, the then high school sophomore captured the MVP Award after he helped lead the World Team Select by scoring twenty points and grabbing seven rebounds to an 84-75 victory over Team USA Select, featuring some of the best American talent, including Shabazz Muhammad, Kyle Anderson, and Rasheed Sulaimon.

The 6’7″ Canadian followed that up by bringing his mix of elite athleticism, improved skill, scoring prowess, and competitive gusto to his balanced and deep AAU team, CIA Bounce, where they went on to dominate the Nike EYBL season, winning seventeen of their first nineteen games. Wiggins averaged over eighteen points and nearly six rebounds over the lengthy regular season, which included stops in Oakland, Dallas, Minnesota, and Virginia. In June, the patriotic young wing competed with the Canadian U-18 team in Brazil, where he averaged a team-leading 15.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2 assists at the FIBA Americas U-18 Championships.

This July, he has continued his whirlwind tour by first heading to Las Vegas for the prestigious LeBron James Skills Academy. Even amidst some of the exceptional talent accumulated by Nike for this year’s version of their All-American camp, Andrew Wiggins, who enjoyed the playing style of Allen Iverson, stood out with his performance on both ends of the court. Pressure can break some young men, but, although he later said he was nervous before the game, he shined in front of the United States Men’s Olympic team, including his favorite current NBA player, Kevin Durant, at Durango High School in Las Vegas. After that event, he then headed to Alexandria, Virginia and later Washington, D.C., where he helped lead Canada to the Finals of the Nike Global Challenge. In the Championship game, Andrew Wiggins, who enjoys a 6’11″ wingspan, rose to the occasion, scoring twenty-four points, snatching seven rebounds, and creating four steals in a narrow defeat.

Gracious Canadian Star and Duke Recruit Andrew Wiggins, Photo by Andrew Slater

At his most recent event, the Nike Peach Jam, competing against arguably the best AAU teams in North America, Andrew took his game to greater heights. In his seven games in North Augusta, SC, Wiggins averaged twenty-two points and nine rebounds, while leading CIA Bounce to the Peach Jam Finals, before suffering a painful one point defeat, 51-50, to the Oakland Soldiers. In the Championship game, while guarded by a versatile and tough defender in Stanley Johnson, Wiggins generated twenty-three points, nine rebounds, and swatted three shots.

Genetically significant, 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, in the 4 x 100 meter and 4 x 400 meter relays 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 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. While competing for the Vaughan Voyageurs, the nearly 6’7″ wing averaged twenty points per game. In 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. A year ago, Andrew Wiggins and his family decided to take his talents to Huntington, West Virginia, where he attends school at St. Joseph’s Central Catholic High School, lives with a host family, and plays basketball for Coach Rob Fulford at Huntington Prep. Andrew liked the improved competition in both practice and games in America, the familiar camaraderie of knowing several of his Huntington Prep teammates through the CIA Bounce AAU basketball program, and the college-level facilities available through Huntington at Marshall University Recreation Center.

Andrew Wiggins, Whose Parents, Marita and Mitchell, Were World-Class Athletes, Photo by Andrew Slater

After a stellar 28-2 sophomore season at Huntington Prep, which included trips to Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Canada, and Washington, D.C., the accolades flooded in for the soft-spoken young man with a loud game. Andrew Wiggins, who very well may be the best Canadian basketball player since two-time NBA MVP and eight-time NBA All-Star Steve Nash, was named the MaxPreps Sophomore Player of the Year nationally and won the Gatorade Player of the Year in West Virginia after averaging more than twenty-four points, four assists, and nearly nine rebounds per game on a deep Huntington Prep Express squad. Off the court, he earned a solid B average at St. Joseph’s Central Catholic High School. Basketball can be a mercenary’s life, but Andrew will enjoy the stability of being back at Huntington Prep for, at least, one more season.

Andrew Wiggins of Huntington Prep, Photo by Nike/Position Sports

Seemingly every year, there is a new middle-school phenom unearthed and hyped as the “next big thing,” but, for a variety of reasons, a very small percentage ever ultimately live up to the initial billing. When Andrew was thirteen, a highlight video or mixtape, which has now been viewed more than 4.1 million times, spread virally throughout the internet, billing him as “the best thirteen year-old on the planet.” Now, at seventeen, with significantly more skill and physical development, he has managed to navigate the waters and be even closer to realizing his ultimate potential, through sheer competitive drive, guidance, and maximizing his natural talent.

In an ongoing interview with the friendly Andrew Wiggins, who visited Duke when he was younger, we spoke about a variety of topics, including his lethal mindset when he steps on the court, Duke’s interest in him, and playing in front of LeBron James.

 

 

 

How has the transition to Huntington Prep gone and what you’ve gained from that experience?

It’s been good…probably because I knew a lot of people and know a lot of people from AAU or other things. That’s helped a lot. They’ve helped treat me like I’m family. 

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You actually lived with a host family. How has that aspect of the experience gone so far?

Oh, that’s been great. They’ve been treating me like it’s a real family. They’ve taken me into their home, they help me out when I need it. 

Well, that’s great.

They’ve acted like parents. They’ve been really nice to me. 

You’re lucky in that regard.

Yeah, I am.

For the audience that may not know, you go to a local Catholic school, but you play for Huntington Prep. Explain how that works. It’s probably a solid school.

Yeah, it’s a private school, it’s a great education. Teachers support us 100%. They’ll help us when we need help. 

I saw that you had a B average this year in school.

Yeah, I’m working hard this year in school. I don’t want any problems. (laughs)

Exactly, that’s a casualty I don’t want to hear about. 

Yeah, yeah.

What are you working on most over the last year in terms of skills, body, etc.?

I would think my shot has improved a lot. 

That would be the thing that people would notice most?

Yeah, that and my ball-handling, probably. Playing without the ball.

There’s been some talk about you re-classifying. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. Can you address that issue? 

Oh, well, that’s something I haven’t really thought about yet. 

I didn’t mean to put you on the spot. Alright, we’ll move on. You’ve had a lot of international experience. How do you think that’s benefited you? What was the Nike Hoops Summit experience like for you?

The international experience has been great. You get to meet new people. 

You get to travel.

Yeah, that’s cool and we’re all friendly. We love each other. 

And, in terms of the Hoops Summit, you got the win.

Yeah, that was good. I thought I played a good game. I got my shots. My shots were falling. I had a lot of fun and a lot of support from my teammates. They’re all friendly. 

Now transitioning into EYBL, can you compare this year versus last year in terms of experience? How have you benefited?

Well, this year and last year, I think our teams are great. Last year, I think we did great. We went to Peach Jam. We played good. Last year, we didn’t win it, but we still went out hard. This year, I think we’ll win it. I think we actually have a better chance of winning it this year. Our team is pretty deep this year.

Pretty balanced.  Last time we talked about working out with your Dad. Do you still work out with him in the off-season and, if so, what do you try to work on most?

Oh, yeah, yeah, I definitely work out with him. He teaches me a lot.

Well, he was an ex-pro, that must help a lot. What does he teach you?

He tries to tell me what he knows and what it will take to get to the League. 

What advice does he give you now? I know in the past, he would always try to tell you to stay humble.

Yeah, he likes to say, “Stay humble and the sky’s the limit.”

I saw that your brother committed to Wichita State.  What was your and your family’s reaction to that?

Yeah, I was happy for him. He had a lot of options. He was looking at Baylor, Oregon, but he felt most comfortable at Wichita State.

Are you guys pretty close?

Oh, yeah, we play all of the time. We’re very close.

You guys must kill it at the local YMCA when you two walk in.

(laughs) Yeah.

I was looking back at a prior interview with you. You said defense is where you wanted to focus a lot of your energy. How would you assess that aspect of your game at this point?

I’ve tried to improve my man defense and my off-the-ball defense. I try to really get up on my guys. I’d say that my man-to-man defense is pretty good at this point, actually.

What’s your current height, by the way?

I’m about 6’7 ½” and that’s my real height..unlike some guys. (laughs)

Is the number one ranking still very important to you? I know in the past that was something that you were striving for.

I would say more than anything, it would really be an honor to me. I don’t want to say it’s incredibly important, but it would definitely be an honor and something I’m certainly shooting for and working hard to get there.

Talk about Allen Iverson being your role model. Well, not role model, but someone you’re trying to model your game after.

Oh, oh, I wouldn’t say role model.

God forbid.

(laughs) What I liked about him is he was under 6’, he was under-sized, but he could score whenever he wanted to. He played hard both ways and we really don’t have any superstars like him anymore. He helped them to the Finals.

I would think to a degree that you would try to model your game after guys like LeBron, Kobe, and Kevin Durant.

Oh, yeah, those guys are all like the best players in the League right now.

 For better or worse, I just thought those guys are versatile wings like you.

My favorite player in the League right now is Kevin Durant, but probably all-time is still Allen Iverson. It’s amazing to me that he was able to get his team to the Finals and play like he did at that size.

The only time I ever spoke with him was the day before he was drafted. He had an amazing watch on his wrist. I used to like to watch how he used his hands and feet on defense. He had an amazing ability to rip point  guards with weak crossovers.

Yeah, he was amazing.

 Your parents both went to Florida State and you grew up as a Florida State fan from a very young age watching them on the television. It’ll obviously have some influence on your decision.

Yeah, it’ll definitely have an influence on my decision and Florida State did big things this year, but I still have to make my own decision.

You had mentioned in the past that you appreciate playing such a tough schedule. How would you assess the competition this year and compare it to what you faced in Canada last year?

The competition this year was very good. It’s a lot different than Canada. A lot of people knock Canada.

Oh, no, I wasn’t trying to insult Canada at all. I love Canada.

(laughs) Yeah, me too. I wasn’t trying to knock it either, but the people are a lot bigger and stronger down here.

Well, there’s a lot more people. 

Yeah, there definitely is a lot more people and, yeah, the competition is much better down here.

Who will you turn to for guidance whenever you do make your college decision?

It will pretty much just be my parents.

Coach K was watching you earlier in the year. Can you talk about that?

It’s an honor. He’s a big-time coach. He’s been able to coach and develop some great players. 

What do you know about the program?

I watched a game there a couple of years ago. It’s a great basketball program. They’ve been winning for a lot of years. They’ve developed a lot of pros. They play really fast and fun. 

Well, you actually lived in North Carolina for a couple of months a few years ago, but we don’t need to talk about that. What has it been like to have Tyler Ennis as your point guard?

Oh, he’s a great point guard. He’ll find you wherever you are. He’s a pass-first point guard and he has to be ready to get the ball. He’s very fast in transition. He’s very unselfish. 

He’s very efficient as well.

Oh, yeah, he definitely is. He’s a smooth passer. He can score whenever he wants to score. 

What do you think he’s like off of the court?

Oh, he’s a great kid off of the court. He’s unselfish, he’s humble, he’s friendly.  He’s a good person to be around.

One of the things you wanted to improve on was your three-point shooting. You can be a tough self-critic, but how would you assess your three-point shooting at this point?

I think I’ve actually improved a lot since last year. I feel much more comfortable shooting the ball up there. I’ve tried to take away my weaknesses.

Yeah, I think you have in terms of the three-point shooting. Last year, you felt comfortable anywhere from your mid-range and in. I think the word you said was you could “kill,” but you wanted to push it out this year.

(laughs) Yeah, yeah. 

Your handle is another thing you wanted to improve on. You mentioned that you think that was something that you improved on.

Yeah, that’s been an area I was trying to work on all winter. 

Have you taken any visits and or do you have any planned?

Well, I visited unofficially to WVU. 

That’s a pretty local school.

Yeah, exactly, it was pretty close to me and I don’t have any plans at this point, no.

What about your strengths? You look a little more ripped in your arms, so to speak.  Is that something you guys work on at Huntington?

Oh, yeah, we go hard. You know. (laughs)  

Yeah, I’ve heard.

We work hard on and off the court. We play hard on the court and in the weight room.

Do they have a good weight room facility there?

Oh, we have great facilities there.

Who would you say the toughest competitor  is that you’ve ever gone against? Would Shabazz be up there?

I think I would go with Anthony Bennett instead. (laughs)

Oh, a little hometown shout-out!

(laughs) Yeah, he’s my boy.

Do you have any lingering injuries?

Well, my back hurts just a little bit, but it’s nothing.

I’ve seen you lying on the floor occasionally. I just hope everything will wind up being okay for you.

Yeah, definitely, thanks.

Now, in terms of Huntington, you’re going to go back next year. Is that definite?

Yes, it’s definite.

What’s the latest in your recruitment? There’s not really any new schools?

It’s the same schools that have in there. 

For the sake of the fans and my writing, can you please reiterate what schools are in the running? I just want it for the record.

Florida State, Kentucky, Duke, Syracuse, UNC.

What was it like playing in front of LeBron?

Oh, that was great. It was like a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was a huge opportunity and a real honor. I was a little nervous before the game. You know, these guys are big-time players and they’re coming to watch you. 

Well, the only guy I know at all on the team is Kyrie and I just quickly tried to tell him to make sure to watch you.

Oh, yeah, thanks. It was a great experience and a real honor to play in front of those guys. 

I thought you played well, too.

Thank you, thank you. 

Have you felt any changes in your recruitment now that these coaches are allowed to text all of the time?

Oh, no, not at all, cause I haven’t given out my phone number. (laughs)

Oh, smart man.

(laughs)

You mentioned before that Duke is recruiting you. What do you know about the program?

Yeah, they’ve been speaking with my coaches. It’s obviously a tremendous basketball program and a great school. Coach K is a legendary coach and now he’s working with the Olympic team. They’ve had great players develop and play at Duke. I visited the school when I was younger. They’ve been winning for a long time. 

You guys are traveling like crazy, but what are you working on most on your down period?

When I get a chance, I work out with my AAU coach and my dad. We’re working mostly on jump-shots whenever I’m home. I try to work out really hard whenever I’m home.  

By the way, are you ever home?

(laughs) 

What’s the story with that? Are you ever home?

(laughs) Hardly ever. 

What’s your mind-set whenever you’re on the court? Is it attack? In the past, you said like to think of you as a killer or that others think of you as a killer on the court.

Yeah, I guess I would say more than anything, I just to kill them.

(laughs) That’s what I love about your game- that you have an absolutely killer attitude, totally cold-blooded.

Yeah, I just try to play my game, play hard, and take the other guy out. 

Would you say you try to intimidate guys?

No, I can’t say that. What I would say is that when I step on the court, if they’re not intimidated, I’ll try to, well, they’ll….

They’ll learn?

(laughs) Yeah, they’ll see very soon learn that they should be. 

By the way, what does your father think of all of this? The success, the notoriety, your recruitment, your development?

Oh, he’s very proud of me.

I’m sure.

He sees me working very hard in the gym. 

Did he think this would happen for you?

Oh, yeah, he always thought since I was really young that I would be up for something special. He told me that I would be something special, very special. 

Yeah, well, hopefully, he turns out right. It looks like you’ve got a good head-start.

Thanks. 

What are your goals for next year?

I just want to make the ESPN tournament at the end of the year and win it. I’d really like to go undefeated. I’d just like to keep improving my game, that’s all. 

Lastly, I’ve mentioned this to you before, but I’m counting on you to bring a little basketball glory to the name Andrew. You and Andrew Harrison are my two current hopes. We’ve got Drew Breeze and now Andrew Luck in football, but Bynum is just not cutting it. You’re my hope. I’m looking for single name recognition like Kobe, Shaq, or Michael.

(laughs) All right, I’ll definitely try.

Thanks a lot for your time, Andrew.

Sure, thank you.

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Andrew Wiggins lists Duke among his suitors

The high flying Wiggins has been contacted early on by the Duke staff. See what makes this prospect tick in our latest premium offering. Photo, Lance King for BDN

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.

What’s your current [private override_message="Just ahead is a 1600 plus word in depth interview with Wiggins, who says Duke is one of six schools to make contact thus far. By joining BDN Premium, you get access to this and all the latest information on the recruiting front. Wondering about the content here? Just go to "BDN Premium," articles and see just how many offerings we've had of late, "] size?

195 and 6’7″

What position do you view yourself as, a three or a two?

I think of myself as a two.

What schools are recruiting you?

Florida State, Duke, NC State, Kentucky, LSU, Kansas State, Syracuse, and that’s about it.

Do you have a time frame in mind for when you’d like to decide by?

I would say grade twelve year.

Your father was obviously an NBA guy and your mother was an Olympic-level track star. Can you talk about their influences and how they may have helped you?

Well, since they’re both athletic, I have amazing genes. I can look up to both of them because they’re both athletes. If I have any questions or doubts, I can always ask them.

Yeah, I’m the middle child. I have two older brothers who play basketball and two sisters.

So you can always ask their advice too?
 

Yeah.

Do your parents tend to differ in terms of their advice, in that they come from different backgrounds or fields?

They’re both competitors and they both just want the best for me.

Did you ever do track, by the way?

(laughs) Just in public school… in Canada.

Does it give Florida State an advantage with both of your parents having attended there?

Probably a little bit, because my parents went there. Yeah.

What advice has your father given you? Also, is he the type of father who wants to give you a lot of advice when you’re on the court or is he the type that backs off and lets the coaches do it?

Yeah, yeah, he does. He just tells me to play my game and also to work on my shot when my shot is off.

Do you ever play against him, by the way?

No, not too much.

What’s the best piece of advice he’s given you so far?

Just play the game like it’s your last.

That’s cool.

He’s very competitive.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? What would you say is your greatest strength?

I would say my strength is attacking the basket or attacking the rim.

What are you hoping to improve upon most this summer?

This summer, I mostly want to work on my jump shot.

What do you feel is your range normally? Where do you feel comfortable shooting the ball. I was watching out here tonight.

Well, my shot was pretty off.

I’ve seen enough of you before to know that you can shoot it a little bit.

Yeah, thanks, I feel comfortable out to the three point line. I feel pretty much comfortable anywhere out to that.

What style of play do you prefer? I would think with your natural ability you would like to go up and down.

Yeah, definitely up and down.

What are you hoping to show college coaches this summer in their limited time?

I’d like to show them where my skill level is at and that my jump shot has improved. 

Who are the most difficult players that you’ve had to defend against?

In Canada or the US?

Either one.

In the US, I’d have to say Michael Gilchrist. In Canada, I’d have to say Kevin Pangos.

Is there a guy either in college or the NBA that you try to model your game after?

Oh, yes, the one I try to model my game after is Kevin Durant.

That’s a good one to model your game after.  Where do you plan on going to high school next year? Somewhere in America? There are rumors about Florida.

(Laughs) Somewhere in America, that’s all.

Okay, somewhere in America, that’s what we know.  Who are some people that you’ll turn to for guidance when you do decide?

Just my parents.

You’ve got that spin move and a crossover, but do you have a go-to move?

Oh, yeah, I like to sweep right and either go all the way to the basket or step back and hit the shot.

Do you have any visits planned to colleges?

No, no.

You’re probably looking at high schools, right?

Yeah, high schools, definitely.

Have you spoken to any college coaches lately?

No, I can’t speak to them.

Just checking.
(laughs)

Will distance be a factor for you at all?

No, not at all.

Which do you prefer to defend? The two or the three? They tend to switch you a lot during games.

I like to defend the two. They tend to be more high scoring and I like to shut them down. I try to take pride in my defense.

What differences do you find between Canadian basketball and American basketball?

The style of play and the competitiveness. Americans just seem to want it more and they’re hungrier.

They say you’re the next big thing out of Canada.

(laughs) Yeah.

Can you give the audience a scouting report on how you play, how an opposing coach would describe you?

I can defend well, I can defend any position. I can get to the basket, I can shoot jump shots. I can penetrate and kick. I think I can pretty much do anything I put my mind to.

Speaking of your defense, I was wondering how you would assess it at this point? It sounds like you’re pretty satisfied with it.

Yeah, I think my defense is pretty good right now.

Who are some guys nationally that some people might be surprised that you’re close to?

No one, really.

What tournaments do you have coming up for the rest of the year?

Well, the rest of the BYBL, and then I’ve got national team tournaments for Canada. We’re going to Cancun, Mexico for that one. 

That should be fun. What was it like representing Canada last year?

It was a great experience. I got to play against some top talent. It’s an opportunity to see where I’m at.

Kyrie Irving from the US and Kyle Wiltjer from Canada said that it’s such a great experience and bonding time. They talked about how it created a brotherhood in such a short period of time.

Yeah, we all bonded.

Have any of the Duke coaches contacted you?

My parents.

What do you know about their program?

It’s a good program. They’ve got great players that come out of there, great coaches, and great fans, too. That’s about it.

What are your goals for next season? What are you hoping to accomplish?

I’d like to be considered the best player my age.

I was meaning to ask you about that. Is that important to you? Some guys shy away from it and others embrace it.

I don’t really think rankings mean that much, but it’d be nice to be considered that. I guess that’s about it.

Lastly, you’ve got a bright future on the court and seem to be nice off of it too. I need you to help resent for the Andrews out there. Bynum’s been killing our name in LA lately.

(laughs) Sure, don’t worry. I’ll represent.

Thank you very much for your time.

Sure.
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Hoops Prospect Andrew Wiggins Part II

Andrew Wiggins is hot on the recruiting trail - BDN Photo by Lance King Images

Here is part II of our Andrew Wiggins video interviews for BDN Premium members.  Several media members descended upon the rising star with few knowing any tangible details as to who he is as a person and [private] player.

More to come on BDN Premium – [/private]

BDN takes you behind the scenes with Andrew Wiggins

BDN takes you up close and personal with Andrew Wiggins - BDN Photo by Lance King

If you follow recruiting you have no doubt heard the buzz about Canadian Andrew Wiggins, a talented sophomore wing forward.  Wiggins has been wowing folks be it on the AAU circuit for CIA Bounce or the Jordan-Brand International game where he was named MVP.  BDN took in his games at Boo Williams and followed his play up when we attended this past weekends Jordan-Brand affair.  We bring you up close and personal with Wiggins where you can  see BDN Premium exclusive footage as he talks recruiting and more, giving [private]  a fan a good idea of who he is.  This is the first two parts of three total, and the meat is yet to come.  Get to know Wiggins with these two vids while we prepare the other and dig up out interview with him from Boo Williams.

More to come … [/private]

Anthony Bennett makes his mark at the Nike EYBL

Anthony Bennett enjoyed the attantion during the Nike EYBL Session I - BDN Photo

HAMPTON, Va -Make no mistake that Anthony Bennett is a top notch prospect, physically gifted with a good amount of upside.  Bennett didn’t exactly sneak up on anybody during the Nike EYBL Session I in Hampton, Virginia this past weekend, but he did have a monster first game and that started the talk amongst analysts.

There was a throng of media surrounding him after his performance but you had to listen carefully to realize he was not at all familiar with the makers and shakers of college basketball.  In fact, when asked about his play against Julius Randle he [private] acted as if he knew who he was but really didn’t.  He admitted that when I asked him of the two.

So, here is a kid that doesn’t really know who he is going up against in that he has never really done anything but go out and play the game of basketball.  It didn’t take me long to see that he was unaware of the Duke’s and Kentucky’s of the world, so I said, “you really don’t know much about these schools, do you?” and he responded by saying, “not really, I am still learning the scene in college basketball in the United States.”

Bennett is also being represented by a handler, not uncommon these days.  The bottom line is the recruiting process is just getting going with 6-8 2012 star despite what you might read.  Bennett said that Florida State from the ACC has been in touch and that he has heard of Duke from his handler and AAU coach.  So, there is little direct contact with the budding prospect.

“I feel free in AAU ball,” said Bennett.  When asked what he meant, he referred to the structure that was in place on his high school team, Findley Prep.  Bennett is an aggressive player who runs the court well.  He was very active in his CIA Bounce Teams games and showed the ability to score on drives and put backs but needs work on his perimeter offensive game.

But as good as he was, you could see little holes in his game and that is not suprising.  “I have only been playing basketball for four years,” said Bennett when BDN asked of his experience.  Considering the short time he has played organized hoops, his game was even more impressive.

I then asked when he became serious about his hopes of playing college basketball and then beyond.  Bennett stated, “I got serious about two years ago in Canada.  I was like 6-4 and everybody said I was a great basketball player.”  That’s when he decided to take his game stateside landing at the aforementioned Findley Prep.

He said his weight was 220 or 230, and we’ll go with 220 from our views.  “I like to try and be aggressive and get everything that comes off the rim,” said Bennett and it is statements like that that make college coaches drool.

“I really like to get out and run and I just try and be a part of every play,’ quipped the rising prospect.  And while he may not know the names thrown about y the guru’s asking the questions, he makes it clear with this statement, “I just go out and play, it doesn’t matter to me who I am going up against, be it Julius Randle or anybody else.”

Bennett said he would take his time in making his choice with concerns to collegiate basketball.  He will site down with his parents and Mike George his AAU coach in due time. 

“I am a forward, a small forward, but a lot of people see me as a big at the next level but I think I will be a small forward,” said Bennett but you will have a hard time convincing seasoned coaches that he is anything but a power forward in my opinion.

We have some more questions and answers on the cutting room floor with Bennett that we hope to get to, so stay tuned for more EYBL coverage at BDN. [/private]