By CHIP MILLER & ADAM ZAGORIA
BENTON, Ky. — Andrew Wiggins was greeted by a slew of Kentucky fans when he and his Huntington Prep teammates played Friday night at the Marshall County Hoopfest.
The 6-foot-8 Canadian small forward heard chants of “We Want Wiggins,” “Go Big Blue” and “UK, UK” as he put up 29 points, 17 rebounds and five assists en route to MVP honors as Huntington Prep beat Memphis (Tenn.) East, 76-59, before a sold-out crowd of 6,000.
“Oh it was crazy,” said Wiggins, who is photographed to the left courtesy Tom Hurley of KyKernel.com. “Probably the most people I played in front of since the Hoop Summit. It was a big crowd. They loved us. They enjoyed our team. We entertained them.”
Wiggins began defending Memphis-bound wing Nick King after King heated up, smiling and looking at the Huntington players when he would make a shot.
“The coach wanted me to guard the best shooter, so I guarded No. 11,” Wiggins said. “After Nick started going off, I think of myself as the best defender of the team. So I wanted to take the challenge of defending. I think i did a god job on him.”
The No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2013, Wiggins is considering Kentucky, Florida State, North Carolina, Kansas and Ohio State, and will sign in the spring.
Kentucky coach John Calipari, who saw Wiggins play last week at Scott County High in Kentucky, was not in the building but is expected on Saturday for Huntington Prep’s second game.
Kentucky-bound guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison, whom Wiggins had never seen play in person, were up following Wiggins’ game.
Asked if he had spoken to them, Wiggins said, “They said ‘What’s up, man?’ I had to come up here [to media].”
Much has been made of how and whether Wiggins could potentially coexist with the Harrisons and James Young in a possible blockbuster recruiting class, but Huntington coach Rob Fulford has said Wiggins will play no matter where he goes.
In the meantime, Wiggins is planning an official visit to Florida State for the Florida game on Wednesday. FSU is the alma mater of his parents, former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins, and former Canadian Olympic track star, Marita Payne-Wiggins.
“He’s going to Florida State, I think Tuesday morning,” Huntington coach Rob Fulford said. “He’s going down for the Florida game [Wednesday]. I told him thanks for setting a week day visit up. Now I’m going to have everyone wanting one.”
Asked if he thinks Wiggins’s parents want Andrew to attend FSU, Fulford said: “They both were students there, athletes there. They’re not going to pressure him, they’re going to allow Andrew to make his decision. I think they just need to check off on it….Andrew will make the decision, they are just going to have to sign off on it.”
“I like to see everything that happened there with my parents,” Wiggins said of FSU. “It would be a joy to go there, I mean great weather. Great people, great education. Great coaching staff. they make players better. They don’t always get the best players in the nation, or top five or top ten, but they develop four-year players to get ready for the NBA.”
He said he is visiting in the winter because of Florida weather.
“Florida is always hot, and other schools, like right now UNC, North Carolina is cold and Kansas is a little chilly,” he said. “Florida State is hot all of the time, so it doesn’t matter what time I go there. I can go in the winter and it will still be hot.”
Still, he reiterated that Kentucky and Florida State are not his only two options.
“Uh, peoples’ opinion,” he said. “People just want to get their two cents in, but I don’t really pay a lot of attention to it. I havent discussed anything with my parents about who I am really, really interested in.”
Fulford said Wiggins would also like to visit North Carolina and Kansas.
“He’s said he wants to go to Florida State, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina,” he said. “Those are the ones he said he wanst to visit. Timeframe, we don’t know. I mean obviously we just don’t have a ton of weekends available for visits. I know he’s going to take this one because his parents can come, but yeah, he said he wants to take at least those four.”
North Carolina coach Roy Williams has been in to Huntington to watch Wiggins.
“UNC is so much like Kentucky,” Wiggins said. “They are saying they want me, they are interested in me. That’s such a big-time school. Legends played there like [Michael] Jordan.”
Wiggins plans to visit there later.
“In the spring when it gets a little bit warmer,” he said.
As for Kansas, that also intrigues him.
“Kansas, they always, they stay talking with me and everything,” he said. “Again, that’s a school just to start, prior history of basketball.”
After getting swamped by reporters at every stop, Wiggins is also looking forward to getting this process over with.
“I’m ready, cause everyone always asks where I’m going,” he said, “so it will be a joy.”
**For more stories on Andrew Wiggins, click here.
Marshall County Hoop Fest schedule
All times Central
Friday, Nov. 30 (Session 1)
4 p.m.: Girls: Marshall Co. vs. Massac (Ill.)
5:30 p.m.: Marshall Co. vs. Massac (Ill.)
7 p.m.: Huntington Prep (W.Va.) vs. Memphis East (Tenn.)
8:30 p.m.: Oak Hill (Va.) vs. Curie (Ill.)
10 p.m.: Ballard vs. Fort Bend Travis (Texas)
Saturday, Dec. 1 (Session 2)
10 a.m.: Girls: Marshall Co. vs. Mount Carmel (Ill.)
11:30 a.m.: Graves Co. vs. Warren Central
1 p.m.: Calloway Co. vs. Harrisburg (Ill.)
2:30 p.m.: Hopkinsville vs. Bullitt East
Saturday, Dec. 1 (Session 3)
4:30 p.m.: Marshall Co. vs. Wilson Central (Tenn.)
6 p.m.: Madison Central vs. Fort Bend Travis (Texas)
7:30 p.m.: Oak Hill (Va.) vs. Southwind (Tenn.)
9 p.m.: Huntington Prep (W.Va.) vs. Briarcrest Christian (Tenn.)