Say what you want about John Calipari.
The guy’s a recruiting genius.
On Wednesday, the same day that Andrew Wiggins will take his official visit to Kentucky, the school will present the 1996 team with championship rings during halftime of the Mississippi State game, as reported by Jerry Tipton on Twitter.
Of course, the irony is that Calipari’s UMass team lost the ’96 national semifinal to a Rick Pitino-coached Wildcats team, meaning if this move ends up helping Kentucky land Wiggins, Calipari will have used one of his own losses (and one of his Final Four forfeitures) to secure the best amateur player in the world.
The 6-foot-8 Wiggins is the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2013 and will visit Kentucky, followed by Kansas (March 4) and North Carolina (March 9). He has already visited Florida State, his other option.
“I haven’t found it yet, so I am just waiting for that moment that will convince me it’s the right place,” he said.
He said he’s looking forward to taking the visits so he can learn more about the schools and ultimately make his decision, thereby answering the question to which everyone wants the answer.
“I’m looking forward it no doubt,” he said. “A lot of pressure will be lifted off of my shoulders.”
Also on Monday, Wiggins was named the Naismith Boys High School Player of the Year by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club. He beat out Duke-bound Jabari Parker and uncommitted forward Aaron Gordon for the award.
Wiggins averages 23.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.4 steals and 2.1 blocks per game for Huntington Prep.
“The strong performances of Andrew and [Lone Peak coach] Quincy [Lewis] this season stood out for our voters among the thousands of players and coaches throughout the country,” said Eric Oberman, Executive Director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “The two are very deserving of the Naismith Awards, demonstrating the talent and will to succeed that we’ve come to expect from past award winners.”
**For more stories on Andrew Wiggins, click here.
Photos: Toronto Sun; CoachCal.com