Andrew Wiggins is Canada's brightest star on a voluptuous horizon

From Nash to Wiggins: Timberwolves star leads Canada’s next-gen basketball charge

Andrew Wiggins is the front-runner for many pundits in the NBA this year, with nearly 16 points per game on an atrocious Minnesota team



Last year’s first-overall pick Andrew Wiggins played in Toronto for the first time as an NBA pro on Thursday, returning to his Canadian home in the middle of a Rookie of the Year-calibre season with Minnesota, after completing a collegiate career as perhaps the country’s most hyped phenom ever.

“I think he’s allowed these kids to dream and think about, ‘What if?'” said Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Sam Mitchell, himself a former Raptors coach.

Wiggins is the poster kid for Canada’s next – maybe, completely new – wave of talent, and was the country’s second-straight first overall draft pick in 2014, after the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Anthony Bennett in 2013.

Both players were traded to Minnesota from the Cavs last offseason. (Cleveland still has Tristan Thompson, a fourth overall pick from 2011.) Other high-profile Canadian picks recently include Kelly Olynyk (13th overall to Dallas, 2013) and Nik Stauskas and Tyler Ennis, both drafted in last year’s first round after Wiggins.

Essentially, the torch has been passed, previously held high by Victoria’s Steve Nash.

And the No. 1 pick has fulfilled his billing in his first year, perhaps doing enough through a near-complete freshman season to win the league’s top rookie award.

His Timberwolves have gone an awful 15-53 though, so as well as it’s gone individually for Wiggins, there’s that much more to be done in the chilly Twin Cities.

“When you’re thought of as the face of the franchise, that’s a huge responsibility,” said Mitchell. “It’s tough, especially when you’re 19. He goes at his pace, he doesn’t get too high, he doesn’t get too low, it’s amazing how he takes it. I can’t tell you how he feels inside, but from what I’ve seen and how he reacts and how he plays, it just doesn’t faze him… he understands all the hoopla, but he puts it in a box and sets it to the side at 7 o’clock, and he goes out and plays.”

The Timberwolves lost to Toronto, 105-100, and Wiggins had 15 points.

In 68 games this season, the Toronto native has averaged 4.4 rebounds and 15.8 points per game. He’s also received praise for his improved (or perhaps, never poor) jump shot and his playmaking ability, and is one of a few rooks in consideration for the league’s honour.

Video: The Canadian Press

Just Posted

VicPD investigates stabbing near Selkirk Montessori school

Victim in potentially life-threatening condition

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

Fire crews called to home near Beacon Park

Victoria police and fire departments are on scene in the 900 block… Continue reading

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

Island contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Most Read