We often hear about those sneaky, slimy agents giving college basketball players poor advice on going pro. But a lot of times, we fail to recognize that an athlete’s first experience in dealing with influences outside of the family comes during the recruitment process. And at that point, it’s not the agents giving poor advice. It’s the college coaches.
The latest example is UConn’s Doug Wiggins, the 6’1 sophomore guard who announced his intentions to transfer from the university recently.
Wiggins was the best player in Connecticut during his senior year in high school and was all set to go to St. John’s before Jim Calhoun swooped him up late in the recruitment process. The lure of playing for the program he grew up watching was just too much for him to pass up.
There were times when Wiggins played well during his two years in Storrs. There is no question that he could start in the Big East. Just not regularly at UConn, where one could make the argument that Calhoun recruited him simply so he wouldn’t have to deal with the backlash of letting another great Connecticut player leave the state. A couple of years before Wiggins, Ryan Gomes became a star at Providence and Dave McClure, an All-American, went to Duke.
At St. John’s, Wiggins could have become the go-to-guy on a program in serious need of a leader. Instead, he became a rotation player in Storrs, and because the Huskies are bringing in an All-American point guard, he fell a little more on the depth chart.
Don’t get me wrong. We can’t place all the blame on Calhoun for stealing Wiggins away from the Red Storm. This happens all the time. Kids have the right to change their mind. But one doesn’t go from a second-rate program to a recent National Champion without being led to believe he could make a true impact.
You wonder if anyone told him he might become expendable.