College Wasn’t The Only Option For Kansas' Andrew Wiggins

By Richard Nurse
Andrew Wiggins
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

He was projected to be the next LeBron James before he was even a senior in high school. Now he’s putting up James-like numbers before he even touches an NBA court — or an NCAA court for that matter.

And by James-like numbers, I mean Andrew Wiggins is preparing to become a millionaire straight off of sneaker money. “I’m hearing from people at Kansas that he’s got a $180 million offer supposedly coming from Adidas,” a source close to Wiggins’ inner circle said (via “But I also heard that Nike is going to match anything.”

If the reports are true, Wiggins is set to make $87 million more than James did coming out of St. Vincent-St. Mary high school, which is why I always thought that Wiggins could have bucked college for the D-League.

Yes, I know that would have been a weird move for such a high-profile star, but let’s explore the option. Rather than make the trek overseas, he could have stayed in the states and left a mark that has never been made. Sure, some would say, “what about the European money?” But why risk the culture shock when he would be eligible to take the Adidas money?

And although Wiggins couldn’t be called up because he’s less than year removed from high school, he would be the only financially secure minor league basketball player, especially with the endorsement checks that would be rolling in for the eventual No. 1 pick.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas-Late Night
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Which brings us to exposure. Critics would argue that Wiggins would never get as much exposure in the D-League as he would at Kansas, but everything about him would have stuck in everyone’s ears off of the notoriety of his name alone. Every game would have been highlighted or broadcast on ESPN and NBA TV simply for the fact that it never happened before. It would have been the rarest of the rare commodities in sports.

Of course, this is just an alternative — a crafted hypothetical scenario to throw out in case Wiggins truly wasn’t interested in experiencing the life of a student-athlete. That unearths an old argument that you’ve heard a million times. If 18 is old enough to fight for your country, why isn’t it old enough to professionally play a children’s sport?

However, rules are rules, so all we can do is pray that Wiggins has a healthy year and doesn’t get hurt and screwed over like the No. 6 pick Nerlens Noel — all because he had to go to college.

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Richard Nurse is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr or add him to your network on Google.

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