might be the most celebrated athlete to arrive in Huntington, W. Va., since Randy Moss transferred from Florida State to Marshall in 1996.
After playing in his native Canada as a freshman, the 16-year-old Wiggins is bringing his game to Huntington Prep
this year, along with his reputation as perhaps the best age-group player on the planet. He earns the nod as the No. 1 prospect in MaxPreps.com's initial Class of 2014 rankings.
"It's a big deal in the local media here," Huntington Prep head coach Rob Fulford said. "He's already a celebrity in Huntington. Whether or not he was coming here was the talk of Huntington."
The 6-foot-7, 200-pound wing was the only player born in 1995 to participate in last summer's FIBA U17 World Championship in Germany, averaging 8.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per game – including 20 points in a losing effort against the United States.
The buzz continued to build this summer as Wiggins starred on Nike's EYBL circuit with Toronto-based CIA Bounce. Dubbed "Canada's LeBron James" by some, he posted 15 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in five contests at the highly-competitive Peach Jam last month in South Carolina and was still the youngest player on the floor in most outings.
"I think the gap between Wiggins and the rest of the class is noticeable," CBSSports.com recruiting analyst Jeff Borzello said. "He's a versatile prospect who can play multiple positions and not miss a beat.
"Wiggins is explosive athletically and can score at will against defenders. He's a matchup problem because of his all-around skill set; he is able to score from the perimeter or get the ball inside and put up points. Wiggins has solid vision for someone his size, and he crashes the offensive glass aggressively for second chances. The best thing about him is that he's still developing, and will only get better."
Fulford pursued Wiggins like a college coach trying to land a prized target, seeing him play 21 times during the spring and summer. Adding the Ontario phenom to the roster is a huge boost for an upstart program that could be on the verge of big things in 2011-12 with at least nine Division I prospects on the roster.
"I think that meant a lot to him, us putting in the time and how badly we wanted him," Fulford said. "For us, it definitely gives us some added recognition."
Beyond Wiggins, recent gold medalists at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship Theo Pinson
, Jahlil Okafor
and Tyus Jones
join 6-10 Brooklyn big man Dakari Johnson
(who will join former St. Patrick
head coach Kevin Boyle at Montverde Academy
in Florida) in the Top five.
"The class of 2014 is great at the top. There are plenty of elite players fighting for spots in the Top five, and a case can be made for at least 11-12 players to be in the first quintet of prospects," Borzello said. "It's also a deep class, with high-major prospects popping up everywhere. Some of them will make major moves in the next few months.
"That's the fun part of projecting players that are three years away from being in college – we don't need to pick them apart just yet, they will separate themselves as their high school careers progress."MaxPreps Class of 2014 Top 50
Rankings compiled by Jeff Borzello and
Jason Hickman. Borzello is a college basketball and recruiting writer
for CBSSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffborzello. Hickman covers high school basketball and college recruiting for MaxPreps.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jason_Hickman.