Andrew Wiggins is having a stellar first season with the Minnesota Timberwolves

Andrew Wiggins is having a stellar first season with the Minnesota Timberwolves

VIDEO: Steve Nash talks Andrew Wiggins, Canada’s ‘golden era’ of basketball

The former Victoria kid – schooled in Saanich – has a new view from above, as the general manager of Canada's national men's team.



Steve Nash is a fan, man.

The all-time great Canadian point guard – raised and schooled in Victoria and Saanich, – offered his praise to rising phoenix Andrew Wiggins, the Toronto kid who’s in the middle of a should-be award-winning first season with the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

“Andrew’s been phenomenal,” Nash said Monday. “He’s very young, he has a bright future, and his rookie season’s been incredible. I don’t think people understand what a jump it is from college to the pros, and sometimes how difficult it can be to be in a position he’s in, where he’s asked to do a lot, play a lot, and kind of grow on the fly like that.”

Nash also said he thinks Canadian basketball is entering a new golden era, a well-timed Belle Epoque considering he’s taken over the reigns as Canada’s men’s team’s general manager.

Nash said he keeps in pretty constant contact with all of the national team’s young stars.

“It’s such an amazing place we’re in, as a country in the sport,” Nash said. “So much young talent, and more to come. They’re all doing so well, and most importantly the great majority – if not every one of them – is getting better.

“That’s exciting to see, is that guys, whether you can see it in public yet or not, are improving.”

Nash, who played his college ball at Santa Clara, will miss the entire 2014-15 season after suffering a potentially career-ending back injury last October. Nash is 41 – the legacy he’s left is cemented and bronzed. But Wiggins, at half his age, is the north’s future.

Yesterday was Wiggins’s 20th birthday, which he spent guarding James Harden. It went well.

The Wolves lost, but Wiggins led the way in vain with 30 points and six rebounds, another stellar performance in a freshman year where he’s averaged 15.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and almost 35 minutes a night through 55 games played.

“I would have thought it would be very fair of him to make a ton of mistakes (in his first season), for it to be really awkward, and he’s just been incredible,” Nash said. “Definitely a testament to his ability.”

Success of any kind this year would have shut up the kid’s doubters – after he was drafted first overall, the Cleveland Cavaliers shipped him and fellow Canuck Anthony Bennett to Minnesota for Kevin Love. No love there, reportedly at the request of the Cavs’ loved-again LeBron James, who transferred back to Ohio from Miami last summer.

And Wiggins had been knocked by scouts and analysts, who believed ‘the jumper was suspect’. That sort of became a conventional fact dogging Wiggins, that he couldn’t shoot from the floor and was more of an athlete than he was an NBA regular.

But to-date, Wiggins hasn’t just been satisfactory – he’s proven himself worthy of the No. 1 overall pick.

And his jumper’s just fine.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Steve Smith’s image of two sibling adolescent grizzly bears playfighting in the Chilko River in the B.C. Interior earned him best of show at the prestigious Lion’s Gate Celebration of Nature club competition for 2020-21. (Photo by Steve Smith)
Victoria Camera Club captures top spot in prestigious nature and wildlife competition

Saanich Peninsula photographers part of award-winning team

Downtown Victoria and the Inner Harbour are part of a corridor that also includes much of urban Saanich that is part of the Greater Victoria 2030 District, a sustainable buildings climate initiative announced recently. (Black Press Media file photo)
Ramping up energy efficiency in Greater Victoria buildings goal of new group

Greater Victoria 2030 District part of North American network of cities working to reduce emissions

Oak Bay High Grade 10 students Oliver Wakely and Alex Joiner with the new scoreboard to soon be installed on the grass turf. Fundraising from the Oak Bay Barbarians rugby alumni and Oak Bay Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay High alumni buy new scoreboard

Scoreboard to be installed on grass field

Victoria Hospice staff Brianne Ohl, left, Angela Chalmers, right, and Sandi Ogloff, at back, show off their buttons that show a picture of them smiling. Staff has worked hard to maintain the connections with patients despite the barriers of PPE and rigid COVID-19 protocols. (Victoria Hospice Photo)
Hospice provides compassion in a time of COVID

Victoria Hospice 40th anniversary on pause during pandemic

Look for the Random Act of Kindness Day colouring contest in Black Press issues Jan. 17. Physical entries can be mailed or dropped off to local Black Press offices. A scanned or photographed entry can be emailed to info@victoriafoundation.bc.ca. Winning entries can get a $50 gift card to Bolen Books and a $100 donation to a charity of their choice from the VIctoria Foundation. (Pixabay)
Colouring contest coming for Kindness Day

Kindness Day colouring contest in partnership with Victoria Foundation

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Most Read