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Andrew Wiggins (CAN) - 2012 U18 FIBA Americas Championship
10/05/2013
CAN - The Wiggins watch

TORONTO (FIBA Americas Championship/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - There is so much excitement about the rising stars in Canadian basketball that fans of the national team can be forgiven for wanting to hit the fast-forward button.

The expectation is that Canada, in the near future, will be a leading side in international basketball.

The optimism is not misplaced.

Big man Kelly Olynyk, who has already played for the senior side, and point guard Kevin Pangos shone for a Gonzaga Bulldogs team in American college basketball that finished the 2012-13 regular season as the top-ranked school in the nation.

Laurent Rivard thrived with the Harvard Crimson and Nik Stauskas electrified crowds with his three-point shooting for the Michigan Wolverines.

Each made it to the NCAA Tournament and Stauskas even played in the Final Four after burying all six of his three-balls and scoring a game-high 22 points in a 79-59 drubbing of Florida in the Elite Eight.

Stauskas and Michigan finished runners-up to Louisville.

There is also Nick Wiggins, who played for the surprising Wichita State team that reached the Final Four before falling to eventual champions Louisville.

Add a couple of former Texas Longhorns to the group in Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson and San Antonio playmaker Cory Joseph and the sky looks to be the limit for Canada in international competition.

Even so, the Canadian causing the biggest buzz of all has yet to even play a game in the NCAA.

He is Nick Wiggins’ younger brother, Andrew Wiggins.

The 18-year-old is expected to soon announce where he will play his college basketball.

Wiggins played for Canada at last year´s FIBA U18 Americas Championship and is thought to be mulling over the opportunity to play college ball at Florida State, Kentucky, the University of North Carolina and Kansas.

His parents, both former athletes, went to Florida State.

Mother, Barbados-born Marita Payne-Wiggins, was a track star who won a couple of silver medals at the 1984 Olympics while father Mitchell, a native of North Carolina, represented the United States at the 1982 FIBA World Championship and finished runners-up.

Mitchell Wiggins played several seasons in the NBA.

Where Andrew Wiggins, considered by most to be the top high school talent in the land, will go to college is anybody’s guess.

Having played this season for Huntington Prep in West Virginia, fans of one university are going to be very happy when he makes his decision.

When it comes to Canada, Wiggins will be hoping to follow in his mother’s footsteps and play at an Olympics.

The last men’s team to play at a Summer Games was the one that made it to Sydney and had sharpshooter Rowan Barrett, who averaged 12.7 points in the tournament.

Barrett is now the assistant general manager/executive vice-president of the senior men’s program and he has raved about Wiggins, a 2.03m small forward.

"He has something that you don't really see very often," Barrett said.

"He's like a once-in-a-generation type of an athlete."

With Wiggins and the others, the future is very bright for Canada.

"When I sit and I talk to the people in the basketball world, everybody is in fear of our 2020 (team)," Barrett said in an interview with Sportsnet.

"That's what I hear.

"That's the time when our most talented players, I believe, our young ones that are coming up right now, will have their talents coming to fruition."

FIBA

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