The Florida State Seminoles host the rival Florida Gators on Wednesday. FSU coach Leonard Hamilton made the decision that this was a showpiece game, the best chance for the Seminoles to make their pitch to the nation’s No. 1 prospect in the ESPN 100.
As a result, senior small forward Andrew Wiggins (Thornhill, Ontario/Huntington Prep) is making his official campus visit to Florida State on Tuesday and Wednesday.
When you have a player like Wiggins visit campus, the thought process is to bring him in at the highest point. In other words, which environment will be best suited to make a positive impression? The building should be live with the Gators in Tallahassee on Wednesday.
You also have to consider the timing of this visit. My gut feeling is that if Florida State thought this process would drag into the spring, they might bring him to campus in January against UNC or February against Duke. Granted, they would have to weigh that against Huntington’s schedule. But on paper, those would be great options.
Wiggins taking an official visit to one of the primary schools on his list at this point leads me to speculate that he doesn’t want to wait until April or May to make the call. If he visits Kentucky before the end of January, I’d be inclined to think he decides during his high school season.
Here’s the other benefit about bringing him in now. Last weekend, Wiggins played at the Marshall County Hoopfest in Draffenville, Ky., where he was showered with attention from Kentucky fans.
The Hoopfest is one of the ultimate high school basketball environments. It’s also a place where UK fans are comfortable making top recruits feel welcome.
By bringing Wiggins to FSU’s campus now, Hamilton gets to “deprogram” the nation’s No. 1 prospect just days after his trip into Kentucky territory. It’s not a huge deal, but the timing will be a bonus for Florida State.
FSU signee Xavier Rathan-Mayes (Scarborough, Ontario/Huntington Prep), Wiggins’ friend and high school teammate, won’t be making the trip with him. Rathan-Mayes has already taken his official visit to Florida State.
On Wednesday, Hamilton gets the Gators and the best prospect in America on his home court. When you’re watching the game (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU), pay attention to the atmosphere. The Seminoles are limping into the game, having lost two in a row, including one to Mercer. They can’t afford to get whacked and then have to put on a smiling face for Wiggins.
Suffice it to say, Wednesday provides a big moment in Florida State’s pursuit of the nation’s top player.