Why Didn’t Syracuse Ever Offer Superstar Kansas Commit Andrew Wiggins?

The Canadian superstar chose Jayhawks, but how come the Orange were never serious on him?

Five-star phenom Andrew Wiggins committed to Kansas yesterday and has been called the most dominant high school player since LeBron James. The 6’7” superstar was on Syracuse’s radar last fall, but the Orange never even offered a scholarship to the Huntington Prep small forward. Why didn’t Jim Boeheim didn’t make a hard push at the nation’s top hoops recruit?

SU and Duke were two of a handful premier schools to not offer Wiggins. His decision came down to the Jayhawks, Florida State, UNC, Kentucky and Ohio State. Wiggins told Rivals.com he can now exhale.

“It’s just a weight lifted off my shoulders. I can relax now. The anticipation is over for everybody else. I was thinking a lot today about what I was going to say and how I was going to approach it. I just followed my heart. Kansas had my heart, so that’s where I wanted to go. I just felt like that was the right place for me.”

The Jayhawks seem to have been on Wiggins’ mind from the very beginning of his recruiting brigade, but why did the Orange back off on the star forward? SU’s recent basketball success and NCAA tourney runs has the program looking as flashy as ever to recruits. Syracuse is now a consistent entrant into preseason top 10 lists, and have made an Elite 8 and Final Four the last two years. To not even offer Wiggins must mean Boeheim and company thought there was absolutely no shot to land him.

A Toronto native, Wiggins provides a familiar recruiting nugget since SU is a short drive from Canada. Andy Rautins, Kris Joseph, and the most recent superstar commit Tyler Ennis, all were drawn to Syracuse from north of the border. But that connection obviously never made an impact on the relationship between Wiggins and SU. Recruit Scoop analyst Alex Kline tells The Fizz Syracuse was always on the outside looking in.

“Never had a shot. They have not been on his list in the longest time. [Syracuse] probably realized the odds were stacked against them. Would’ve been worth the risk, though, high reward.”

Syracuse was all in on Ennis to bolster much-needed guard depth. Ennis was SU’s top priority last summer, especially when Rick Pitino and Louisville almost slipped in and snagged the five-star PG. Syracuse’s full attention has been on Ennis, and maybe that factored in. Boeheim has said that SU “needs” Ennis for the coming season, especially now that Michael Carter-Williams has declared for the NBA draft. SU’s focus was on Ennis, and it paid off. Wiggins is also considered a lock to be one-and-done, and while the Orange made a hard push for Nerlens Noel last year, maybe the early signs he wasn’t interested meant it was easy for SU to allocate resources to longer term solutions.

Kansas’ recruiting class is eye-popping. Kentucky is always considered the top-dog in the recruiting battle, especially after landing Nerlens Noel last year and Dakari Johnson this season. However, the Jayhawks landed the top-prize in Wiggins, and then some. According to Rivals, Kansas commits Wayne Selden (No. 12 overall) and center Joel Embiid (No. 25) are also five-star prospects. Add highly touted four-stars Brannen Greene (No. 29) and Conner Frankamp (No. 34), and it’s good for the nation’s second best behind the Wildcats.

The bright side is Wiggins stays out of the ACC, where the Noles and Heels were pushing hard. While the Orange wasn’t a finalist for him, the fact it was in the discussion at one point during Wiggins’ process shows how far this program has come in the past few years.

Posted: Brendan Glasheen

15 Comments on this Post

  1. Andrew

    Cause he wouldnt come. We have a logjam at forward as it is..

    Not saying he wouldnt be the best player at that spot, but he is a clear one and done playing a position that Syracuse doesnt “need”

    Just not a good fit unfortunately.

  2. Has anyone ever thought about the possibility that Mr.Wiggins might,PLEASE LET ME repeat MIGHT,have some baggage that no-one is writing about and
    Jim Boeheim and Syracuse knows it and just doesn’t want to deal with it?

    I agree with Andrew’s post,we have a logjam at the forward position. Syracuse will do fine with what they have and make it back to the Final Four in 2013/2014.

  3. Grant is a much better player than Wiggins right now so who needs him.

    GO SU!!!!

  4. Andrew

    @LouR

    Grant is good, but cmon man.

  5. bgogo

    I get the feeling Boeheim wants a better balance with experienced 3rd and 4th year players who anchor down the star freshmen. Compare MCW and Fair, for example, although they play different positions. MCW had great games and very bad ones, while Fair was consistently trustworthy. Christmas, Fair, Grant and Coleman will all know the system and grow into better college players who share the ball. With Wiggins, the team would have to cater to him. And yes, there probably is baggage.

  6. Devin

    @LouR is spot on… Just watch next year… Jerami Grant is the finest basketball athlete Syracuse has seen in a decade.

    @Andrew– sure wiggins will go #1 in ’14 based on potential but Grant is a straight thoroughbred, literally.

  7. chris

    Its my opinion that Canada is a neglected area of recruitment in all three of our major sports. Of course that would be football basketball and lacrosse.Sure we got Ennis but there is far more talent in Canada that we should be looking at.Wiggins was going to be Kansas and that was obviously a deterrent to spending time and money recruiting him

  8. Wiggins is a one & done for sure, just like Carmelo. However, for reasons we do not know, Jimmy decided he was not for the CUSE. So be it. Grant has the potential as does Coleman, but both boys need to step it up in 2013-2014. If I had to chose Canadians Wiggins vs Enis, give me the Point guard.

  9. Russell MacEachern

    bgogo hit it on the head!!The one year wonders are what turns me off about MBB over the last 10 or so years….they never really are part of the team and the NBA gets them just as they begin to blossom!!I know a lot of u disagree due to Melo but Im sure a lot feel as I do!25 or so years ago I enjoyed college hoops AND PRO more than I now do!Thats why I’ll stick with Americas sport football!!

  10. Carlton

    I always thought it was b/c SU never had a chance. Then he came out and said he wanted more schools to come and recruit him and he ends up picking one of those schools. Maybe we should have made a push?

    Lastly like u said Duke and SU didn’t offer. SU went all in on Ennis and by doing that did it leave anytime to really go after some of these bigger names /w JB and Hop being away all summer? No vonleeh who said SU was his dream school and no wiggins who at one time had us on his list. I said it before I personally think JB and Hop coaching for team USA has hurt us more then helped.

  11. Why pursue a potentially disruptive player when you don’t need him? Look at Poythress at UK – tremendous talent (I doubt Wiggins is physically more gifted), but ended up being a bust last year. There is just sooo much overhyping today (Fab anyone?), that JB took a pass and just can’t fault his judgment. We may never see another Carmello Anthony at SU or anywhere in college BBall for years. He rebounded, could shoot 3, played D, got to the rim, could handle ball, and had great attitude and mental strength to carry a team to NC as a FROSH! LeBron is an absolute freak. I’ll believe Wiggins is the next coming when Kansas cuts down the nets. Where is the next Chamberlain? Where is the next skyhook? Magic could play the PG AND the post. Where has his replacement been? Wiggins may live up to his billing, but odds are he will just be the next overhyped AAU ‘second coming’.

  12. Russell MacEachern

    Agree with DocAlkys whole post!!!My sentiments exactly!

  13. Carlton

    Doc,

    I have never seen anyone say Wiggins is disruptive? If your talking about his choice it took so long b/c he reclassified and was careful /w making his choice. Poythress is not not a better athlete and was a top 15 guy where Wiggins was the number #1.

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