Andrew Wiggins, the consensus No. 1 recruit in the country, leads voting in preseason Grassroots Hoops Mr. Basketball USA Tracker, now in its sixth year. Jabari Parker and Julius Randle also collect first-place votes.
Last season, Andrew Wiggins of Huntington Prep (Huntington, W. V.) was hailed as one of the world’s best young talents. A native of Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, the 6-foot-7 Wiggins had an excellent sophomore season for the 24-2 Express, averaging 24.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.7 blocks per game.
Wiggins’ performances did earn him national sophomore of the year honors, but he barely was a blip on the Mr. Basketball USA radar. In last season’s final tracker, he appeared on a single ballot.
Oh, what a difference a summer can make.
After a series of dominant performances which began at the Nike Hoop Summit for the World Select team and ended with his summer travel team CIA Bounce earning a trip to the 17U Nike EYBL Championship Game, Wiggins did more than elevate his status as the nation’s top underclass prospect. His domination during international play and travel ball earned him a reputation as the top prospect — regardless of class.
That reputation was cemented in October when Wiggins reclassified back into his original 2013 class. Every major outlet in the recruiting industry that publishes player rankings — among them hoopscooponline.com, ESPN.com, Rivals.com, Scout.com, and 247Sports.com — all moved Wiggins to the head of the class. The majority of them previously had Jabari Parker of Simeon (Chicago), last season’s national junior of the year, in the No. 1 spot.
As a junior, the 6-foot-8 Parker was mentioned in the same breath with the nation’s top players such as Kyle Anderson (UCLA), Nerlens Noel (Kentucky) and eventual 2012 Mr. Basketball USA honoree Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA).
In fact, in last season’s final tracker, Parker appeared on all ten ballots and tallied 83 points to finish second behind Muhammad. In this year’s preseason tracker, Parker netted 86 points and again appeared on all ten ballots — but Wiggins wasn’t to be denied.
The Canadian hoop sensation also appeared on all ten ballots, garnering sixth first-place votes to springboard his overall point total to 91. Wiggins’ performances and his unique combination of fast-twitch athleticism and basketball ability separated him by five points from Parker, the player with the strongest high school resume and the most accolades heading into the 2012-13 season.
In this season’s preseason tracker, 17 players received recognition by GrassrootsHoops.net’s 10-man panel. In last year’s first tracker there were 22 national player of the year candidates.
The panel has already narrowed the field of candidates with a realistic shot at earning the nation’s highest individual award because of the top-heavy nature of the 2013 class.
Panelist Clark Francis of the Hoop Scoop feels the depth of this class is as weak as it’s been in over a decade, but the reclassification of players such as Wiggins and Noah Vonleh of New Hampton School (New Hampton, N.H) gives it star power at the top.
“There is some incredible talent at the top of my list,” said panelist Aran Smith, NBADraft.net President.
Six-foot-9 Julius Randle of Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas) joined Wiggins and Parker as No. 1 vote-getters. Parker collected two first-place votes as did Randle, who conspicuously was absent from one ballot.
Aaron Gordon, a 6-foot-8 small forward from Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), joined Wiggins and Parker as candidates who appeared on every ballot. Two panelists listed him No. 7, while two others had last season’s CalHiSports.com Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year as high as No. 3.
Stay logged in to HighSchoolHardwood.com to track the progress of the top individual players and the nation’s Top 50 teams.
|2012-2013 Grassroots Hoops Preseason Mr. Basketball USA Tracker|
|1||28T||Andrew Wiggins (10)||SF||Huntington Prep||6||1||1||2||0||91|
|2||2||Jabari Parker (10)||SF||Simeon||2||5||1||1||1||86|
|3||5||Julius Randle (9)||PF||Prestonwood||1||3||1||3||0||76|
|4||10||Aaron Gordon (10)||SF||Mitty||0||0||3||0||4||61|
|5||NR||James Young (5)||SG||Rochester||0||0||1||1||0||29|
|6||28T||Andrew Harrison (4)||PG||Travis||0||0||1||2||1||28|
|7||NR||Tyus Jones (5)||PG||Apple Valley||0||0||0||0||0||21|
Others Receiving Votes:
Rondae Jefferson (Chester, Chester, Pa.) 19 pts. (3)
Kasey Hill (Montverde Academy, Montverde, Fla.) 16 pts. (3)
Noah Vonleh (New Hampton, New Hampton, N.H.) 14 pts. (2)
Aaron Harrison (Travis, Fort Bend, Texas) 13 pts. (2)
Cliff Alexander (Currie, Chicago, Ill.) 12 pts. (2)
Daniel Hamilton (St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif.) 6 pts. (1)
Tyler Dorsey (St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif.) 5 pts. (1)
Kevon Looney (Hamilton, Milwaukee, Wis.) 5 pts. (1)
Karl Towns Jr. (St. Joseph, Metuchen, N.J.) 4 pts. (1)
Stephen Zimmerman (Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, Nev.) 4 pts. (1)
About Grassroots Hoops Mr. Basketball Tracker Panel
Grassroots Hoops’ panel of 10 experts, which includes six McDonald’s All-American selection committee members, casts its vote for the top national player of the year candidates. Each panelist lists his top seven candidates regardless of class. The votes are then tabulated on a 10-point scoring system with a first-place vote equaling 10 points, a second-place vote earning nine points and down to four points for a seventh-place vote. The number in parenthesis refers to the numbers of ballots on which a player appeared and previous rankings refers to position in last season’s final tracker.