To No Surprise, Andrew Wiggins is First Canadian to Win Gatorade Athlete of the Year

By Paul Seaver
Kirby Lee-USA Today Sports

If the Kansas Jayhawks are going to keep their string of Big 12 Conference championships alive in 2014, their top player and incoming freshman Andrew Wiggins is going to be the main reason why.

The conference is improving atop the standings and a trio from Oklahoma State will have their eyes on derailing the Jayhawks’ streak of conference crowns. Wiggins, who has been labeled in the past as the top high school basketball prospect since LeBron James, may have other plans on his mind, however.

Well, as the summer rolls along, the college basketball season is still a few months away, but the anticipation of Wiggins’ debut remains at the forefront in Lawrence. On Tuesday night, Wiggins added another accolade, to nobody’s surprise, in being named as the Gatorade Athlete of the Year.

Wiggins became the first Canadian-born athlete to assume the trophy in the award’s history and he does so after a stellar high school career at Huntington Prep in West Virginia. The 6-foot-8 wing averaged 23.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists per game this past season — becoming the first high school basketball prospect to win the athlete of the year award since Brandon Knight claimed the accolade back in 2010.

The emergence of NBA quality prospects with Canadian roots has come to the forefront and Wiggins is the headline name that is catapulting the future of Canadian basketball. In addition, Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in last month’s NBA Draft, is also Canadian.


Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS

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