If Andrew Wiggins ends up at Kentucky, he’ll see some familiar faces next season.
They just won’t be wearing the same uniform.
Three of Wiggins’ teammates at Huntington Prep have signed with schools that are on UK’s 2013-14 schedule: Travon Landry (Tennessee), Moses Kingsley (Arkansas) and Dominic Woodson (Baylor).
Landry, the team’s point guard, would play against Wiggins at least twice next season.
He beamed when talking about his role as Wiggins’ point guard, and said it was “easy work” setting up plays for UK’s top recruiting target.
But Landry would also love to face Wiggins at the next level.
“I love the competition,” he said. “Part of the reason I wanted to go to Tennessee is I get to play Kentucky twice a year, Florida twice a year, Vanderbilt twice a year. I love competition and I want to win.”
Landry also is excited about the opportunity to play in Rupp Arena. The San Antonio native — he was an AAU teammate of the Harrison twins in middle school — played in Rupp as part of a camp in eighth grade. But there were no fans in the stands for that event.
“I can’t wait to play there; that’s all I’ve got to say,” he said. “I saw it when it was empty. I’ve never been there when it was packed, but I can imagine. I can’t wait.”
Woodson said Wiggins is the best player he’s ever seen at the high school level. And while he would enjoy playing against him in college, he’s even more excited about interacting with the UK fans when Kentucky plays Baylor in Cowboys Stadium next season.
“It’s gonna be packed,” he said. “All I can say is, ‘Be ready, UK. Because I know I’m gonna be ready.’”
Will he be talking some trash to those Cat fans who make the trip?
“You already know,” he confirmed with a grin. “It’ll be real fun. You know how they get.”
Towns talks tough
The Cats got their first commitment from the class of 2014 on Tuesday, when New Jersey center Karl Towns pledged for UK.
There aren’t many knocks on the 17-year-old, who is rated among the best big men in the country, maintains a 4.0-plus grade-point average, was voted freshman class president and can even drive a golf ball more than 325 yards.
Among the few complaints is Towns’ toughness on the court. But the 7-footer said he got a lot tougher while playing with the Dominican National team — coached by John Calipari — over the summer.
Going up against the likes of Al Horford every day will do that, but Towns doesn’t think he’ll be able to show off his tenacity until he gets back to Lexington.
“It helped my game tremendously,” he said. “The only thing I wish I could take to the high school level is the toughness. I’ve always liked being physical, but due to the way high school is it’s really hard to be as physical as I’d really like to be. In games, I have to tone it down because it could really cost me.”
Mudiay gets to play
Emmanuel Mudiay, one of UK’s top recruiting targets in the class of 2014, had been ruled ineligible for his entire junior season earlier this fall as a result of his transfer to Prime Prep Academy.
A Texas athletic board ruled that the move was for athletic purposes and said Mudiay and several other elite basketball players would have to sit out the season.
In response, Prime Prep withdrew last week from the University Interscholastic League, the body that governs high school athletics in Texas.
That means Mudiay and his teammates get to play.
The 6-foot-4 point guard is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 2 player in the junior class.
“What I love about Emmanuel is his physical attributes,” Scout.com analyst Evan Daniels said. “He’s got great size for a point guard. He’s a tremendous athlete with very good speed. But he’s starting to develop his all-around point guard skills.
“He can really see the floor. He’s great in transition. He can pass. There is a lot to like about Emmanuel Mudiay, and his upside in absolutely tremendous.”
Even as the No. 2 overall player in the country, Mudiay is not the No. 1 point guard. That honor goes to Tyus Jones, who also has a scholarship offer from Kentucky. Although most services rate Jones a little higher, some analysts have said Mudiay could be a better fit in Calipari’s system.
Daniels said that when it comes to players of that caliber, either would be great for the Cats.
“I think Emmanuel fits Kentucky’s system and what John Calipari wants to do. But I wouldn’t say he fits it better than Tyus Jones,” he said. “I think Tyus Jones is — I mean, he’s drawing comparisons to Chris Paul. We currently have him as the best player in the country and the best point guard in the country.
“I think Emmanuel Mudiay will certainly challenge him, and they could go back and forth, but I think they both could fit in at Kentucky equally as well.”
UK fans who would like to see Mudiay play in person can make the trip to Wheeling, W.Va., for the Cancer Research Classic on Jan. 4. Prime Prep will play against Andrew Wiggins and Huntington Prep in that event.
More info: Cancer Research Classic
Name that Harrison
There was some confusion at the Marshall County Hoop Fest over the weekend in trying to identify one Harrison twin from the other.
There weren’t many folks there who could tell which one was Andrew and which one was Aaron.
Can their head coach tell the UK signees apart?
“By now I can,” Travis High’s Craig Brownson said. “At first, it was tough. If they’re not facing me, you have no idea. But if they’re looking at me, I can easily tell. They have different personalities and facial features that you get used to seeing.”
But even Brownson makes mistakes from time to time.
“Every now and then, if I don’t get a full glance, I’ll be like ‘Andrew?’ and he’s like, ‘No. Aaron’” he said with a laugh.
He said it
Andrew Wiggins saw Andrew and Aaron Harrison play for the first time over the weekend. The UK recruit was impressed:
“They’re great. I could see myself playing with them in the future. They love to pass, they can score. And scorers take pressure off me to score, so that would be good.”