Originally published March 31, 2014 at 01:51p.m., updated April 1, 2014 at 12:34a.m.

KU freshman Andrew Wiggins declares for NBA Draft

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins laughs with his brother Mitchell Wiggins Jr., left, mother Marita Wiggins and father Mitchell Wiggins after declaring his intention to enter the NBA Draft during a news conference on Monday, March 31, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins laughs with his brother Mitchell Wiggins Jr., left, mother Marita Wiggins and father Mitchell Wiggins after declaring his intention to enter the NBA Draft during a news conference on Monday, March 31, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo


Andrew Wiggins announces he's entering the NBA Draft

Surrounded by his basketball coach, Bill Self, and mother Marita, brother Mitchell Jr., and father Mitchell, Kansas University freshman Andrew Wiggins announces he is leaving KU after one season to enter the 2014 NBA Draft.

Now that Andrew Wiggins has made it official and declared for the 2014 NBA Draft, the next step for the 6-foot-8 Canadian sensation is to make sure he’s selected No. 1 on June 26 in New York.

“There is. That’s just the competitive side,” said Wiggins, Kansas University’s 6-foot-8 freshman guard from Canada, when asked if there’s an “inner drive” to be taken first in the 30-team draft. “You want people to label you as the best player,” added Wiggins, who averaged 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in his one season in Lawrence.

Wiggins, who signed a letter-of-intent with KU last spring as the most highly publicized high school basketball player since LeBron James, fulfilled his one-and-done destiny Monday, becoming the first of three contenders for the top pick to throw his name in the NBA lottery hat.

The other contenders for No. 1 — teammate Joel Embiid and Duke’s Jabari Parker — have yet to decide whether they will turn pro or return to school for a second season.

“I’m just confident I’m ready, and it’s always been a big dream of mine to follow in my father’s footsteps and play in the highest level of basketball,” said Wiggins, who met the media in a news conference in Allen Fieldhouse with dad Mitchell, mom Marita Payne-Wiggins, brother Mitchell Jr. and coach Bill Self.

“It wasn’t an easy decision because the fans show me so much love here, and my teammates … it’s just fun being around them and the coaches, and it’s fun playing in Allen Fieldhouse. I wish I just had more time. College goes by so fast. I can see why people stay all four years,” Andrew added.

Mitchell Sr. played six years in the NBA — for Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.

“I mean, the biggest challenge is to know who you are and be confident in your abilities and what you’re about. He’s very grounded,” Mitchell Sr. said. “I’m just listening to him now, and I’m just thinking about when he was that little-bitty kid that was dirty and not listening, and now he’s a young man that I think gets it. I think he’s going to do great.”

Mom Marita confessed that “for Andrew’s progression, the best thing is that he’s not injured and he’s able to right now go ahead and complete part of his goals because there’s many other goals that he has to complete and to go after. Every day is a new day. He has no injuries, and he’s ready to go.”

Self said he was in favor of Wiggins leaving.

“Opportunity is certainly knocking on the door,” Self said. “We’re very proud of him, very excited for his future, and certainly as good as he’s been for us, we know he’s only scratching the surface of what he’ll do moving forward. I think this is a great decision and one that we support 100 percent.”

Wiggins said he has become a better player following his stint at KU.

“I think I improved a lot. There was never really a non-competitive practice we had,” Wiggins said. “When you have a legendary coach like coach Self, you get better every day learning new things.”

Wiggins, who is in the process of finding an agent, said “it would be really good to play in Canada (for Toronto Raptors), play in front of my home crowd every game so it would be nothing but love there.”

Yet he’ll go anywhere.

“I’ll play with whoever wants me,” he said.

He leaves with his family giving a thumbs up to KU.

“What he wanted was at the end of the year, to have a (national title) parade, and so he’s disappointed about the way it finished, but it’s a great choice,” Mitchell Sr. said of KU. “ I think if he had to do it again, he’d make the same choice.”

Embiid update: Self said 7-foot freshman Embiid, who attended the news conference with several of his teammates, was not ready to make a decision on his future.

“Joel is gathering information, but not so much information on where he will be picked because it’s going to be the same thing. He’s going to go high. The decision he needs to make is what’s best for him over time, whether to stay another year or whether to go. I can see him doing either one of them. I think you could make a case either one would be a good decision. He’s not quite like Andrew, who has been playing ball his whole life. This kid has played three years. He’s still trying to figure it out,”

Self said, “I don’t think he’s close to making a decision at least in the next few or several days. I think it’s something that will probably play out for a while.”

Self disappointed in Tharpe: Self commented on an risqué photo of junior guard Naadir Tharpe that surfaced on Twitter on Sunday. The photo, which showed Tharpe and an unidentified woman, included nudity.

“Obviously we are aware. It was brought to our attention, and (I) certainly am extremely disappointed with what’s transpired and the judgment that went along with it. To say anything else publicly is something that would be inappropriate at this time, but it will be addressed, and it will be handled internally,” Self said.

Academic responsibilities: Self said Wiggins would “fulfill his academic obligations” the rest of the semester.

“He’s right on track academically,” Self said. “We’ve had a perfect APR for seven years in a row. He knows he has to finish in order for us to (continue that). There’s no question (he will).”

Honors: Wiggins on Monday was named to the 10-member Wooden All-America Team by the Los Angeles Athletic Club and Associated Press second-team All-America. Embiid was named AP All-America honorable mention.


Aaron Paisley 7 years, 6 months ago

Thank you for coming to KU and doing your best while here. Your talent level is in the Kobe Bryant, LeBron James neighborhood so don't ever forget the thing that separates those types of players from the ones that are just good is work ethic. Always keep striving to get better and one day, you could be in the discussion as best current basketball player in the world one day.

Terry N Tom Denner 7 years, 6 months ago

REALLY ?? He is no where close to Kobe Bryant or LeBron James neighborhood. Kobe and LeBron made an immediate difference with their level of talent with the teams that drafted them. this kid will be lucky to make second string.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 6 months ago

Add my thanks for coming to Kansas. Wiggins certainly displayed some electric moments and was critical to winning the 10th consecutive Big 12 title. I hope he goes on to become a major NBA star and comes back to Lawrence often.

That was a really cool presser with almost the whole family present. Anyone know where NIck was for this?

Tony Bandle 7 years, 6 months ago

Andrew's dream has always been to play in the NBA. The University of Kansas provided him a joyous step in reaching that dream.

Maybe we Jayhawks should be satisfied with that!!

After all, no matter what he goes on to achieve and what stardom he attains, he will always be a Jayhawk!!

Now Wayne and Andrew have provided Jo Jo with both sides of the coin [to stay or to go].......I guess we'll see soon enough which side comes up for him.

Benz Junque 7 years, 6 months ago

I am thrilled that Wiggins chose to come to Kansas. He represented himself with class and dignity and handled the ridiculous pressure with ease and grace. It will be a lot of fun to follow his career moving forward. I really see him as the next Paul George. He'll be an NBA All Star by year four is my guess.

Brian Conrad 7 years, 6 months ago

good luck Andrew .. Very fun having you here ... best in the future.. we knew from the day you came you would be here a short period of time .. all the best..

Ian Emerson 7 years, 6 months ago

Andrew will truly be a great representative for the University of Kansas. Thank you so much for coming!

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 6 months ago

Like a shooting star Andrew, you are to be appreciated for the short time you were here at KU. It was truly a pleasure to watch you grow, play and show us what an incredible young man you are and I can say you represented us with honor and I am very proud to call you a fellow Jayhawk. When you get to the NBA do not worry about any comparisons to current players and trying to be like one of them. You are Andrew Wiggins, from the University of Kansas and you need to make the most of that person. As long as you remember where you came from and who you are, then your future will be amazing. Rock Chalk!

Rodney Crain 7 years, 6 months ago

Nice job young man. I could not be more proud, and appreciative of your effort, class and dignity this year.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 6 months ago

Congrats Andrew! Loved having you at KU. Can't wait to follow your NBA career.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 6 months ago

I say bad move. Stay at Tulsa and build the program. Wake Forest will always be in the shadow of Duke and UNC. Tough place to win, kinda like Maryland for Turg. Build up Tulsa and wait for a better position.

Yonatan Negash 7 years, 6 months ago

I second that, very bad move. Danny & Tulsa have a great future together. Not sure you guys are aware but Tulsa has a very young team. Meaning, they'll do very well in the next two or three years.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm recalling 8 soph's. Seems like something You'd want to run with for another year or 2.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 6 months ago

Stay at Tulsa..hopefully an easy decision for Coach Manning.

Yonatan Negash 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm going to miss that kid, what a joy having Mr. Wiggins on the team.

He starts his press conference with "I want to give glory to God"; that's awesome.

David Brown 7 years, 6 months ago

This team was the worst ku ever put on the floor. understaffed and under coached. If bill self doesn't want to stay here he should just say so.

Brian Martin 7 years, 6 months ago

You must be looking for contradictory responses because your statement makes no sense. Please elaborate.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 6 months ago

Judging by the 4 comment history - all negative about Johnson, Wiggins, Wiggins, Embiid (, we're all better off the less he says.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 6 months ago

Seriously? In my lifetime there has only been 2 seasons that ended with me happy but many that made me proud. This is one of the latter.

Andy Tweedy 7 years, 6 months ago

If I'm not mistaken, being first team All-American means you get your number in the rafters. Does the Wooden team mean we'll have 22 in the rafters?

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 6 months ago

No, it's multi-year 1st team All-American.

Denver Vold 7 years, 6 months ago

                                    open letter to Andrew Wiggins:
  Most rabid basketball fans dream of being Andrew Wiggins.  With tremendous talent comes tremendous pressure and notoriety.  You dealt with that magnificently. There were no stories about how you abused you status on campus or in the locker room.  There were no rumors about sexual misconduct, pot or alcohol abuse. Most of us were not as responsible as freshman in college.
 Thank you for choosing KU.  Thank you for your responsible representation of our historic program and making your tenure a part of that history. I and thousands like me have been thrilled with your talent and performance on and off the court as we live your life vicariously.
 Every KU fan will continue to follow you from afar and continue to feel your success as you make us proud in the future.  We wish you good health and good fortune.

                                          THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES

Walter Bridges 7 years, 6 months ago

Nothing but GOOD hopes and thoughts for you Andrew. Thanks for picking Kansas, the home of basketball and one of my most favorite places ever.

Mark Chenoweth 7 years, 6 months ago

I'd like to add my thanks to Andrew Wiggins for a great season. I got to see him play 4 times--3 times in Atlantis at the beginning of the season and once at West Virginia at the end of the season where he went for 41 points. One thing that Jayhawks fans should be very proud of--and that went underreported--is how Andrew carried himself at the WV game when the fans booed every time he touched the ball. I guess they were disappointed he didn't stay in WV after high school to play his college ball. Andrew never lashed out, never said a negative word about it that I heard, did not get rattled, and delivered one of the most outstanding basketball performances I have ever been privileged to witness in person. I respect that kind of attitude and approach very much. I wish him the best of luck in his career and hope he will come back to Lawrence often. Rock Chalk

Scott MacWilliams 7 years, 6 months ago

Any reports on the rest of the Wiggins family tree?? Any younger cousin/brothers maybe out there tearing it up in Canada that could be Jayhawks??? Never hurts to ask.

Mr. Wiggins, you are a class act from the word go. From the simple announcement in your high school with only your local sportswriter allowed in, through a great, if sometimes normal-freshman-like season, you have always been a special young man.

Here's hoping that you have a long and fabulous NBA career and come back to Lawrence every chance you get. You know your 16,500 closest friends at AFH will always be ready to give you another standing O.

Rock Chalk

Terry N Tom Denner 7 years, 6 months ago

Nothing against Canadians but this kid was a joke in the Big 12 game with Iowa State and a bigger disappointment against Stanford. I would not be surprised if Wiggins drops as low as the middle of the second or the beginning of third round of the draft. NO MORE ONE AND OUT BRATS BILL SELF !!!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.