Andrew Wiggins has canceled in-home visits by North Carolina, Kansas and Florida State, making Kentucky the last program to visit him in Huntington, W.Va.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Andrew Wiggins has told Bill Self (Kansas), Roy Williams (North Carolina) and Leonard Hamilton (Florida State) to put their flight plans to visit him in Huntington, W.Va. this week on hold.
That means Wiggins is a lock to commit to Kentucky, right?
But even if Wiggins comes to Lexington, will he leave as the first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft? Hasn't Julius Randle been competing as if he wants to be that guy?
And if you prime your imagination and project to 2023, who's the top nominee to be a better pro than Wiggins or Randle? Would Dante Exum, a junior guard from Australia, headline that list?
Enough questions. It's time for answers. There is nobody with more insightful answers than Fran Fraschilla. During the winter, he is a college basketball analyst for ESPN. But he began his transition toward the NBA Draft by working the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon last week.
Fraschilla does not claim to know when Wiggins will announce his college choice or which school he will choose. But he does not believe that Wiggins' decision this morning to cancel in-home visits from Kansas, North Carolina and Florida State tilts the court toward UK.
"He's been gone three weeks," Fraschilla said. "He wants to sleep and watch cartoons. Where is he going? Your guess is as good as mine. He just seemed like a kid who was very tired and needed some rest. Everybody is wondering, but he's just a kid."
Know this: Fraschilla is not convinced Wiggins is a better player than Randle, who is already a member of John Calipari's eight-player 2013 recruiting class. Fraschilla lives in suburban Dallas and has watched Randle play AAU basketball since the fifth grade.
"If Julius can figure out a few things at Kentucky next season, there's no reason he won't compete with Andrew for the top spot in the draft next season," Fraschilla said. "He's that talented and skilled.
"Right now he likes to play 50 percent on the block and 50 percent on the perimeter. If Julius can get those percentages to 70 percent on the block and 30 percent on the perimeter, he'll make a major jump. His game is a little bit Lamar Odom and a little bit of Zach Randolph. If he can become a little more Zach Randolph, look out.
"He's going to be on a team of high-level competitors next year, but he could very easily be the alpha dog."
For the record, Randle had 19 points and eight rebounds as the U.S. team was beaten by Wiggins and the World team, 112-98. Wiggins finished with 17 points and nine boards.
Two other Kentucky recruits – guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison – played for the U.S. Andrew, the point guard, contributed 19 points while Aaron, the shooter, failed to score. Fraschilla said that Andrew Harrison struggled to defend Dennis Schroder, a 19-year-old German guard who scored 18 points.
"He had no answers defensively for a guy who might be a first-round (NBA) pick," Fraschilla said. "He couldn't keep him out of the lane."
Fraschilla believes the twins will be Kentucky's starting backcourt next season, but he will be watching how his friend John Calipari handles their personalities. Fraschilla said the body language and facial expressions of the twins concerned several NBA scouts in Portland.
"Andrew threw an alley-oop pass that sailed out of bounds on one of the first plays," Fraschilla said. "He immediately made a face like it was his teammate's fault. NBA teams notice that.
"Off the court, they're very nice, well-mannered kids. But sometimes their competitiveness is a two-edged sword. It's a great strength because they always play hard. But bad body language is not a great idea when there are 30 NBA teams watching. They'll be playing for the right coach because John knows how to handle guys."
There were other players to discuss: Fraschilla was dazzled by Karl Towns Jr, the center from New Jersey who has committed to UK in the Class of 2015; He loves Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who will play at Arizona; and he said that Indiana recruit Noah Vonleh reminded him of a less-polished version of Harrison Barnes.
But there was one other player who made a major impression – Dante Exum, a 6-foot-4 guard from East Melbourne, Australia. Exum, a junior, scored 16 points, making six of eight shots. He is being recruited by Louisville, UK, Indiana and many others – and made an official visit to Bloomington last winter.
"If you told me that 10 years from now Exum is going to be the best NBA player in the entire group, that wouldn't surprise me at all," Fraschilla said. "He's so skilled and so poised. He moves like an NBA player. He's like a young foal who looks like he's going to win the Kentucky Derby one day."