CHICAGO, IL–On the eight hour road trip from Toronto to Chicago to catch Andrew Wiggins in action, time flew by. It’s not very often that we get an opportunity to see Wiggins tested at the high school level, so naturally there was a great deal of excitement heading into this game.
Wiggins adds to the list of seven other Canadians to participate in the McDonald’s All-American festivities in the last four years. This list includes; Tristan Thompson, Corey Joseph, Myck Kabongo, Khem Birch, Kyle Wiltjer, Anthony Bennett, and for the ladies, Nirra Fields, who had a spectacular showing last year.
There’s a pattern here and it goes as follows; dominate the high school scene, become a McDonald’s All-American and there’s a great chance you’re going to the league after a short, college stay. This was the case for both Thompson and Joseph, who are now with the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs respectively; as well as Anthony Bennett who declared for the NBA draft earlier this week. Andrew Wiggins is next up in 2014 and will likely be the #1 overall pick.
The McDonald’s All American event brings together the top talent on the continent to go out and put on a show, while having a good time among each other. We were expecting that Wiggins would go into the game with an aggressive mentality but quite frankly, it’s what he and guys that compete hard all season needed, just to go out and enjoy the moment.
The West Team had a greater sense of enjoyment out of the experience as they came out with a 110-99 victory, while controlling the entire game.
Wiggins was the second leading scorer in the game and was the head man for the East Team with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. The 6’8 wing had his game on cruise control and coasted while other East Team players got theirs.
At this point, those within the basketball circles understand what type of prospect he is, and more importantly what type of player he can be.
“We just told him to go out and have fun. He has nothing to prove,” father Mitchell Wiggins told Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
Anthony Barber impressed both Wiggins and the crowd with the ball handling clinic that he put on, and Dakari Johnson ran the floor well and finished around the hoop with some big time dunks.
The West Team, led by Arizona commit, Aaron Gordon took the lead and ran with it from the tip. Gordon would go on to claim the John R. Wooden MVP, as he posted 24 points, 8 rebounds and two assists. He definitely had his fun while getting the victory.
One thing that we kept hearing from these All-Americans was that they were “happy to have an opportunity to bond with each other,” as Gordon stated in the press conference.
Also in the post game, a reporter put Gordon on the spot and asked him who he felt was the better player between Wiggins and Jabari Parker.
Meanwhile, Gordon is sitting in between the two, Wiggins to his left and Parker to his right and replied, “I can’t answer that question.”
Next week these two top ranked players will meet again in the Jordan Brand Classic…Maybe that question can be sought out then.