EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the weather, Huntington Prep will not be playing in this weekend’s PrimeTime Shootout at Roselle (N.J.) Catholic.
Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford said a fired-up Andrew Wiggins went off for 57 points Thursday night because he is angry at a controversial SI.com story that came out earlier Thursday.
“He was 100 percent pissed at the SI article degrading former players from Canada, his family and him personally,” Fulford told SNY.tv by text.
“I told him earlier today that people would want to see how he responded to his first taste of negative reporting. I challenged him to get 50 and told his teammates he was going for 50. He had 57 and was upset that I took him out before he got to 60. Point proven.”
Wiggins exploded for 57 points on 24-of-28 shooting, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 steals in a 111-59 win over Marietta College JV.
“I just had to respond to the negative outlook that the reporter gave me,” Wiggins told Grant Traylor of the Herald-Dispatch following the game. “I thought I responded well. Negative media happens to everybody. You just have to work through it and respond.”
After the game, Wiggins’ teammate Arkansas-bound big man Moses Kingsley Tweeted: “I guess that article gave him more edge cus he dropped 57pts tonight! Now what!!!”
The SI article delved into Wiggins’ past relationship with Grassroots Canada coach Ro Russell during his tenure trying to set up a prep team in North Carolina and also mentioned Wiggins’ father Mitchell Wiggins’ past troubles, calling him “an unemployed former NBA guard best remembered for a two-year suspension for testing positive for cocaine.”
The article also said Wiggins only tended to get motivated for elite competition, and not for everyday competition.
“This article was totally off base and a blatant attack at Andrew,” Fulford said. “To release what everyone who can operate Google knew anyway 15 minutes after the release of Player of the Year nominations was irresponsible and meant to attack a 17-year-old.”
Earlier Thursday, Wiggins was named one of three finalists for the Naismith Boy’s High School Player of the Year, along with Aaron Gordon and Jabari Parker.
He then learned about the SI article.
“I was happy about becoming a candidate for the Naismith Award, but when the article came out, I didn’t pay it too much mind,” Wiggins told the Herald-Dispatch.
The 6-foot-8 Wiggins is considering Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina and will sign in April.
Some people believe FSU is in the lead because both of his parents, Mitchell and former Olympic track star Marita Payne-Wiggins, attended Florida State, and Wiggins’ teammate, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, is signed to go there.
Both Wiggins’ father and Rathan-Mayes’ father, Tharon, also played together briefly on the Philadelphia 76ers in the early ’90s.
On Thursday, he appeared to make quite a statement.
**For previous articles on Andrew Wiggins, click here.