Mar 11, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Florida State Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton accepts the ACC tournament trophy from commissioner John Swofford (left) after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels 85-82 in the finals of the 2012 ACC Men

Wiggins is coming to FSU, sorry UNC fans

Disclaimer: I have no scoop or facts.  No one does until Wiggins, himself, announces where he wants to attend college.  

Jan 12, 2013; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles center Michael Ojo (5) huddles with his team before the start of the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Donald L. Tucker Center. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Rather, this post is based on (1) hope and (2) not feeling respected.  Yesterday, our UNC friend Keeping It Heel had this to say about Andrew Wiggins and FSU’s chances:

Andrew Wiggins the #1 rated prospect in all the land, the best prep prospect since the prep prospect of all prep prospects (say that three times I dare you) LeBron James.  Program changing ability, near certain one and done, destined to be the #1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and destined to take his talents to Chapel Hill and play for Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels.  Hint, everything in this paragraph has been 100% true except one, I’ll let you guess.

Florida State is well Florida State, Wiggins says he wants to win a title and make a major impact, that’s not happening in Seminole land.

Are you kidding me?  FSU, the team one year removed from winning the ACC Championship, has no chance of winning a title?  Based on what analysis, exactly?  Granted, FSU is no where near the caliber of UNC, but that doesn’t mean you can dismiss them so quickly as a contender without telling us why.

[Deep breaths.]

I mean, it’s OK.  I understand.  You remember the days when FSU was awful at basketball.  Categorically awful.  In your mind, it’s like saying “Wake Forest has a chance to win the ACC Championship in football this year.”

The days of FSU being bad at basketball, however, are in the past (so long as Leonard Hamilton remains head coach).  The days of basketball being elite could change immediately upon an announcement from Andrew Wiggins.  But, taking a step back, it’s just not true that FSU isn’t approaching championship caliber.  Let’s compare, for a second, FSU and UNC’s records over the past few years.

Year UNC FSU
2012-2013 25-10 (12-6) 18-16 (9-9)
2011-2012 32-6 (14-2) 25-10 (12-4)
2010-2011 29-8 (14-2) 23-11 (11-5)
2009-2010 20-17 (5-11) 22-10 (10-6)
2008-2009 34-4 (13-3) 25-10 (10-6)
2007-2008 36-3 (14-2) 19-15 (7-9)
2006-2007 31-7 (11-5) 22-13 (7-9)
2005-2006 23-8 (12-4) 20-10 (9-7)

Is FSU on UNC’s level?  No, not even close.  Just in the ACC alone, FSU has never been able to lose less than 4 games a season–UNC has done so routinely.  However, I just don’t think you can dismiss FSU so quickly and so easily.  What FSU fans expect from Leonard Hamilton are the runs he made during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons.  The talent on the roster has also steadily improved, as Hamilton is a master recruiter and we have a number of four-star players on the team.

The reasons Wiggins might want to come to FSU are numerous, but let’s discuss three, starting with…

Learning defense

This season has been an overall disappointment for Florida State, but few coaches in the nation teach better defense than Leonard Hamilton.

According to KenPom, the Seminoles have been in the top 15 in defensive efficiency in each of the past four seasons before this one. The team ranked No. 1 in this category in both 2010 and 2011.

In order to succeed in the NBA, Wiggins will need to become a better on-ball defender. The league is full of men who can put up points, but the best are able to be two-way players.

Hamilton has gotten players to the next level based on defensive prowess alone, like Chris Singleton and Toney Douglas. Wiggins has a lot more talent than either player, but he could learn a lot from their journey.

While the other schools have proven to have good defenses over the years, much of that was due to the overall athleticism of the roster. None have been able to do more with less than Hamilton.

Great offensive players have come to Florida State to complete their game and learn defense under Leonard Hamilton.  Wiggins can learn from Coach Hamilton, who is, at least according to the rankings, the gold standard.  Chris Singleton, a small forward at FSU, landed in the first round of the NBA draft because of his ability to play defense.  That’s right, defense alone got him into the first round.  We don’t think Wiggins necessarily needs any help, but a player should strive to consistently refine their game (i.e., see LeBron James after the loss to Dallas in the Finals a few years ago).  He’d be hard pressed to find a better place to learn defense than in Tallahassee under Coach Hamilton.

Familiarity

Wiggins’ teammate, Xavier Rathan-Mayes signed his letter of intent to FSU.  Both would likely play immediately and it would give Wiggins a sense of comfort and familiarity as he enters the college game.  It also helps that Wiggins’ parents are FSU graduates.  Wiggins should be fairly aware of the program and how it is run–there shouldn’t be any surprises.  He can step onto campus and hit the ground running immediately.  Also, there’s a certain bond and mystique about playing where your father played.  Is this strong enough to drive his decision?

The ability to be the main attraction

I don’t know what Wiggins is looking for, in terms of spotlight (or pressure), but he has the chance to be the star at FSU instead of being among the stars at other schools.  This cuts two ways.  If he comes to FSU, he may not play on a roster as stacked as Kentucky or UNC, but it also means that he doesn’t have to try and pry the ball away from another player’s hands.  In Tallahassee, the ball would be his and it would be his show to run.  And as we discussed above, FSU has a strong supporting cast for Wiggins.  Hamilton has this team ready for a player like Wiggins to take it to the next level.

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Tags: Andrew Wiggins Basketball Fsu Recruiting Unc

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