HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Coaches from North Carolina, Ohio State and Kansas are flocking here this week to meet with a 17-year-old high school junior who is nearing a decision that could alter the college basketball landscape in the 2013-14 season.
Andrew Wiggins, widely considered the world's best amateur player, is considering reclassifying as a high school senior, which would enable him to play college basketball next season and, presumably, enter the 2014 NBA draft.
The 6-foot-8 Canadian born and raised Wiggins — the son of former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and former Canadian track star Marita Payne-Wiggins — is torn on whether to "reach my dream quicker" or hold onto childhood another year.
"You only live once," Wiggins told USA TODAY Sports. "Maybe when I go to college, I might miss high school and miss being a normal kid. I go to high school and live with a normal family."
Rob Fulford, Wiggins' high school coach, said Wiggins needs just one more English credit to graduate a year early, and that he achieved a 3.13 GPA during the first nine-week grading period this fall. Fulford, who has endorsed Wiggins leaving high school early, said a return to high school benefits Huntington Prep, "but it doesn't benefit Andrew from the basketball side of things."
Evan Daniels, the national recruiting analyst for Scout.com, said Wiggins is the closest thing to a complete package as he has seen in a prospect in at least five years.
"When you get a guy like that, you immediately put yourself in position to compete for a national championship," Daniels said. "If he were to go to Kentucky, that would give them the best recruiting class of all time."
Another favorite to land Wiggins is Florida State, the school both his parents attended. And North Carolina, Ohio State and Kansas have turned up the intensity after Wiggins told Fulford last week that he was "wide open" and would consider any school.
Mychal Johnson, Wiggins' girlfriend at Huntington Prep, said Wiggins "wants to be a kid, but in some ways for him it could be better if he went ahead and left. … He doesn't really know what to do because he is so young and not a lot of people have to go through that."