By RENALDO DORSETT
A BIG WIN for the Kansas Jayhawks turned into a big win for the Battle 4 Atlantis and for the Bahamas as the island-nation will be one of the first to see one of the most sought after recruits in college basketball history in the 2013-14 season.
When the “Andrew Wiggins Sweepstakes” ended on May 15 and the top player in the Class of 2013 signed a letter of intent with Kansas, he also joined the programme expected to headline the third edition of the B4A when it tips off this November.
The 2013 field finally rounded out earlier this month with the edition of the Big 10s Iowa Hawkeyes who will join the Jayhawks (Big12) Villanova (Big East), Wake Forest (ACC), Tennessee (SEC), Southern California (PAC-12), Texas El-Paso (Conference USA) and Xavier (A-10).
The Jayhawks, who ended the 2012 season ranked fourth in the Associated Press poll, were already pegged as favourites with their incoming class, including five star recruit Wayne Selden, Joel Embiid (four stars), Brannen Greene, Conner Frankamp (four stars) and Frank Mason (three stars).
The addition of Wiggins now makes the Jayhawks one of the most highly anticipated teams to watch this season.
The 6’7” small forward also considered Florida State, Kentucky and North Carolina.
The Toronto, Canada product averaged 23.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in his senior season as Huntington Prep in West Virginia and was named the Naismith High School Player of the Year.
Initially rated as a 2014 prospect, Wiggins shot to the top of recruiting charts when he decided last October to reclassify into his original high school class of 2013.
The B4A has built a reputation as one of the toughest early season NCAA tournaments with its tough field and lengthy list of star power.
In year one, the B4A featured what organisers called a “dress rehearsal” to evaluate Atlantis’ ability to host an NCAA tournament where Georgia Tech featured current New York Knick Iman Shumpert, while Virgina Tech was led by current first round draft prospect Erick Green.
In 2011, it transitioned to a full eight-team tournament, featuring then defending National Champions, the UConn Huskies and NBA lottery pick Jeremy Lamb, now of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The 2012 B4A featured arguably the most stacked early season NCAA field ever with four ranked teams Louisville (2), Duke (5), Missouri (13) and Memphis (19), plus unbeaten Minnesota, which was ranked 26th.
Louisville went on the win the NCAA National Championship and the field included seven players projected to be selected in next month’s NBA draft according to www.nbadraft.net, including first round selections Gorgui Dieng (Louisville) and Mason Plumlee (Duke) and second round selections Ryan Kelly (Duke), Peyton Silva (Louisville), Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota), Rodney Williams (Minnesota) and Adonis Thomas (Memphis).