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Son of former Ginebra import projected as top pick in NBA draft next year
Coming into the 2013 NBA draft, there was no consensus for the top overall pick, leading to shock when the Cleveland Cavaliers announced they were selecting Canadian forward Anthony Bennett of University of Nevada Las Vegas.
The Cavaliers’ selection threw the draft into disarray as they passed on a trio of prospects tabbed by analysts as potential No. 1 choices — Nerlens Noel of Kentucky, Ben McLemore of Kansas, and Alex Len of Maryland.
Len was drafted fifth by the Phoenix Suns, while Noel slipped to sixth to the New Orleans Pelicans, who then traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers. McLemore ended up with the Sacramento Kings at No. 7.
There figures to be far fewer questions next year, with current college freshman prospect Andrew Wiggins projected to be the consensus top overall pick.
He is the son of former Houston Rockets guard Mitchell Wiggins, who played for a Ginebra team carrying the Tondeña banner in 1994. The elder Wiggins highlighted his PBA stint with a 78-point effort against Sta. Lucia that season.
But the younger Wiggins, who was born and raised in Canada, has quickly made a name for himself in basketball circles. He won the Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award and the Gatorade National Player of the Year as a high school senior.
He will be joining the Kansas Jayhawks for the upcoming United States NCAA season, but his stay on campus is expected to be a short one with the NBA knocking on his door.
The DraftExpress website has had the 6-foot-8 Wiggins as its top pick in its 2014 mock draft for months, calling him “one of the best athletes you’ll find in the world outside of the NBA.”
Veteran sports marketing executive Sonny Vacarro, best known for signing Michael Jordan to his first Nike contract and organizing top high school basketball camps in the world, called Wiggins “the anointed one” in an interview with Adam Zagoria of SportsNet New York.
“Everybody knows how good he is,” said Vacarro of Wiggins. “If he doesn’t hurt himself while he’s in college, physically or mentally or whatever, he’s got it locked.”
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