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Wiggins’ high school coach: ‘Andrew could care less what LeBron James thinks of him’

Aug 23, 2014, 10:15 PM EST

Andrew Wiggins Getty Images

Andrew Wiggins was put in an extremely tough spot this summer as he embarked on his NBA journey, but his former high school coach believes he’s well-equipped to handle whatever the league throws at him.

Wiggins was selected with the number one overall pick in this summer’s draft by the Cavaliers, but that was before LeBron James had decided to return to Cleveland as a free agent.

Once that plan was set into motion, so was the challenge of assembling a roster that could compete for a title this season — which meant that Wiggins found himself no longer in to be in Cleveland’s future plans.

There were awkward interviews coupled with radio silence from LeBron, making things more difficult for a top draft pick than we’ve seen in quite some time. But given his past, Wiggins may just be able to put it all behind him more quickly than most.

From Jeff Caplan of NBA.com:

A sad end to a long, strange summer for Wiggins? More like an eagerly anticipated beginning, says Rob Fulford, Wiggins’ high school coach at Huntington Prep in West Virginia.

“Andrew is such a good kid; he’s just a classy kid, very humble, very respectful,” Fulford, now an assistant at Missouri, told NBA.com this week. “I think this whole process with the trade rumors, he could care less. That kid just wants to play basketball. The fact that LeBron never reached out to him, Andrew could care less what LeBron James thinks of him.” …

“You have to understand, this kid, the media circus was around from the beginning when he got here in August of his junior year in high school until he left Huntington in May of his senior year after graduation,” Fulford said. “It was just a circus. I think it prepared him for what was going to happen at Kansas and even now he’s used to it, and I think he’s handled it really well. With the parents that he has, both have been professional athletes, I think it helped that he’s been kind of groomed in that manner.”

All of this makes plenty of sense.

Wiggins himself said he was hoping for the reported trade to go down, because he tends to perform better in situations where he doesn’t have much of a choice. And, on a rebuilding Minnesota team playing with a guard like Ricky Rubio, he’ll not only have plenty of playing time to develop in live game situations, but he’ll have someone capable of getting him the ball in prime position to score.

It may have been a less than ideal way for Wiggins to begin his NBA career. But the drama is behind him now, and he seems uniquely prepared to quickly move on from it, while getting an opportunity to immediately contribute in his new situation at the very same time.

  1. nfl4days - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Couldn’t. Wiggins couldn’t care less.

    • nfl4days - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:41 PM

      While yes this does seem like nit picking, saying you could care less has a completely different meaning from saying you couldn’t care less.

      • apkyletexas - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:55 AM

        Grammar lessons from nfl4days? I could care less.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:26 AM

        According to the internet, in the United States I could care less is a sarcastic inversion that basically means that the speaker could not care any less (what a surprise!). It’s kind of the same thing when someone says something you don’t believe and you reply with I believe you 100%. Another example is, Tell me about it! when you mean, ‘you don’t have to tell me about it because I already know.’

      • nfl4days - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:48 AM

        could not care any less = couldn’t care any less = I couldn’t care less. I could care less is not something that it used as sarcasm, but merely a common grammatical mistake. Also “I believe you 100%” and “Tell me about it!” aren’t sarcastic by default. How someone says them is what makes them sarcastic. This is why sarcasm on the internet is commonly misunderstood because you don’t get any emotion, visual ques, or context from lines of text.

      • sumkat - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:50 AM

        According to the internet, the world was going to end on 12/21/12

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 24, 2014 at 9:01 AM

        @apkyletexas

        “could care less” means you ARE able to care less than you currently do about it.

    • missthemexpos - Aug 24, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Don’t nobody know nothing about grammar these days.

      • sixerstrong - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:32 AM

        Wow, the elusive triple negative! Well done.

  2. balsagna - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    As a Cavs fan I wish him nothing but the best. It was a tough situation and he handled it as best as could be asked.

    • rrhoe - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:31 AM

      There sure are alot if Cavs all of a sudden,gee,I wonder why.

      • rrhoe - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:33 AM

        There sure are alot of Cavs fans all of a sudden,gee,I wonder why.(damn cell phones)

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 24, 2014 at 1:38 AM

        Yup. All came out the woodworks like Heat fans in 2010. Expect to see a major influx of Cavs fans just before the season starts.

      • bigmeechy74 - Aug 24, 2014 at 10:43 AM

        probably because they signed lebron james

    • sumkat - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:52 AM

      “As a Cavs fan, I’ve been hiding in the closet for 4 years, and my entire life before drafting LeBron”

  3. nfl4days - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    I do think LeBron could have said SOMETHING instead of acting he didn’t even exist.

    • charlessb - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      why does every act like wiggins was lebron’s blood son and that he sent him to a foster home and picked up kevin love to be his step son?

      • apkyletexas - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:56 AM

        I don’t know. Maybe because that’s what LeBron actually did?

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 24, 2014 at 1:39 AM

        LOL!

      • sumkat - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:55 AM

        It’s called, common decency.

        Something LeBron is lacking

        It would of taken him 10 minutes to call the kid and say “hey, it’s nothing personal. i’m not as young, or a dominant as I used to be. My window is getting smaller, and I just don’t have 2-3 years to wait for you to develop. But if you do get traded, feel free to contact me if you need help with anything”

        But no, he just ignored the kid, and pretended he didn’t exist, or that they weren’t trading him on his say so

    • antistratfordian - Aug 24, 2014 at 4:52 AM

      I’m more upset that he hasn’t reached out to Matthew Dellavedova yet. Can someone explain this? How do you join the Cavs and not immediately talk to Delly? It’s ridiculous.

  4. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    Perhaps this will spark a rivalry between LeBron & Wiggins. And the winner of that scenario will be us, the fans.

    • apkyletexas - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:57 AM

      Yes – because Cavs vs Wolves is such a natural and frequent rivalry.

      • sixerstrong - Aug 25, 2014 at 10:34 AM

        I guess nobody cares about the LeBron vs. Durant because they don’t play against each other a lot.

    • zoomy123 - Aug 24, 2014 at 3:55 AM

      How can there be a rivalry? Wiggins is like a child compared to LBJ.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 24, 2014 at 9:29 AM

        People surely said the same thing about Paul Pierce and LeBron in 2003… yet here we are and the dudes hate each other and they play each other every year in the playoffs.

  5. haaaaasoooooo - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    So he was selected number 1 overall, signed an awesome rookie contract, and, barring injury, gets to say his main profession is “basketball player?” I wish someone would hand me that “difficult situation.”
    The NBA is still a business, right? I’m sure Andrew will land on his feet in Minnesota. Trades happen. And seeing as how Lebron will soon be his opponent, in glad he couldn’t care less what he thinks. A little more aggressive rivalries is what the NBA needs.

    • apkyletexas - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:58 AM

      Which part of what you just said makes it OK for the King not to even break off a text message to the kid?

      • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 24, 2014 at 9:41 AM

        Why are you so concerned about text messages between players? Sounds like an excuse to hate to me.

    • zoomy123 - Aug 24, 2014 at 3:58 AM

      @apkyletexas

      You need to quit it with this crap. LBJ is NOT Wiggins’ daddy. He’s not there to hold his hand like a child going to kindergarten. Get over it. Wiggins is now a grown man playing a man’s game. This isn’t the NCAA. This is the real world where you have to consider that someone’s self-interest may not intersect with your own. And if that person happens to be the most powerful basketball player in the world, then you’re getting the short end of the stick, lol.

      • sumkat - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:07 AM

        all true

        how does any of this preclude LeBron from making a simple phone call like I said above?

        It is a business. He’s not “responsible” for Wiggins. Not talking to him man to man shows a clear lack of common decency. All 3 of those things are completely true

        Not to mention, when talking about player/team relationships, of course it’s a business. Everyone ever in the league understands that. When talking about player/player relationships, I’ve heard it described as a “fraternity” more than they ever are “co-workers”. Apparently this does not include LeBron, who publicly received advice and encouragement from the “stars” that were in the league when he was still a kid, who knows how much more privately?

        Not only does he not feel obligated to return that favor to the next generation, he doesn’t feel the need to even speak to the kid that her personally put in to that situation

        Again, says nothing about him as a player. Speaks volumes about him as a person

    • sumkat - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:01 AM

      The nba is certainly still a business

      What business do you know that has a total of 12 people on the “project”, and when a new guy is “hired” it’s ok not to even speak to the man for 7 weeks?

      Again, means nothing about Lebron’s game. At this moment, he’s still the best player in the world. But it does speak to him personally, and his lack of common decency

      • charlessb - Aug 24, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        I mean you never know sumkat, maybe lebron did reach out to wiggins. kevin love was discussed way before lebron came to ohio. if management tells lebron they’ve been working to acquire kevin love do you give dion and tristian away (who are both young but shown potential) or wiggins and bennet (who are young and have shown little potential)? obviously you give away wiggins and bennett. someone is going to have their feelings hurt. the only way to avoid this altogether is say he doesn’t want kevin love, even though he may have had no choice in the matter. cavs with kyrie and love would be successful in the east without lebron, they are contenders with him tho

      • marsh025 - Aug 24, 2014 at 1:35 PM

        Lebron is lacking a lot in his personal character. as evidenced by his actions throughout his career.
        but let anyone tell it and they will be chastised on these boards.
        Cleveland can look the other way all they want.
        A leopard can’t change his spots.

  6. antistratfordian - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    Whatever.

  7. bostonfrogs - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    Maybe the coach actually used “could” care less intentionally. Maybe he’s not using bad grammar after all–instead, he’s telling us that the kid places a great deal of stock in what Lebron thinks of him and will be utterly heartbroken if he fails to earn his approval.

  8. campcouch - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    I’m not exactly sure what James would have said to the guy, “welcome, but you might get traded for Kevin Love, if not, then my bad, let’s do this”. It’s probably best he said nothing. Wiggins will be able to build his own identity in Minneapolis and that’s what the league needs…stars spread out around, not concentrated on a few teams. Hopefully his high school coach/PR guy stops revisiting this and lets the guy move forward. Makes it sound like Wiggins really does care what he thinks.

    • apkyletexas - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:59 AM

      People who say it’s probably best to say nothing are usually people with something to hide. In my experience.

    • sumkat - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:16 AM

      “hey, it’s nothing personal. i’m not as young, or a dominant as I used to be. My window is getting smaller, and I just don’t have 2-3 years to wait for you to develop. But if you do get traded, feel free to contact me if you need help with anything, or advice with any situation, I was on a pretty bad Cavs team when I got drafted too”

      Very simple phone call/text message

      Also, this does not help “spread out” stars. With the current structure, they can walk to wherever they want after their rookie contract. The only guy I can think of off the top of my head who I would consider a “star” that is still on the team that drafted him (and did’t leave, then come back after 4 years), is Durant

    • engh533 - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      You are exactly right…Wiggins idolized Lebron and wanted the opportunity to play along side him.But he took it personal when trade rumors started and here we are…LEBRON not reaching out to Wiggins doesn’t make him a bad person…Lebron wants to win now and he knew he had a better chance with KLove.If Lebron could have kept Wiggins and still got KLove I’m sure he would have taken that opportunity in a heartbeat but it was either/or and he chose proven over unproven.You people are always talking about how these players are so weak and couldn’t have played in the eighties and nineties …and now you are saying that they should be making sympathetic phone calls so a another player doesn’t get his feelings hurt.Cmon Man!!!!!!!!!

  9. clevelandrox - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    welcome to the Pat Riley Club…

  10. csbanter - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    Dear PBT

    Andrew Wiggins has moved on, stop trying to create another angle to get a couple of extra clicks. I enjoy the articles on here but find this Wiggins-Lebron thing a bit annoying.

    Thanks

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 24, 2014 at 1:45 AM

      Dear PBT,

      Disregard this comment^^^. Post more and more articles on this topic as soon as you catch wind of a Wigg/Bron beef. Heck, if you guys get the chance to interview either guy, bait them into it with some tricky questions! Let’s get this rivalry rolling babyyy!! Brew some bad blood to perfection! Lol

      • csbanter - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:27 AM

        Let me guess you get all of your important news from World star hiphop. I got it.

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        No. I get all my important news from PBT.

  11. seasickcecil - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:52 AM

    Now that the trade is official is it not possible that Lebron will call Andrew in the not to distant future?

    • apkyletexas - Aug 24, 2014 at 1:00 AM

      If he’s a man he will. But if he was a man, he would have already.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 24, 2014 at 4:58 AM

        Why would he have to talk to Andrew Wiggins? I don’t get this line of thinking. Is LeBron supposed to feel sorry for him? Is it his job to comfort him and tell him that everything will be alright? Do people think he should call to encourage him or to apologize? I really don’t see any reason for LeBron to call him at all.

  12. seasickcecil - Aug 24, 2014 at 1:12 AM

    The Cavalier organization was in lockdown on this Kevin Love deal. We did not hear boo from mgmt. about the trade. There was NO WAY Lebron was going to call Wiggy and have a chat. He certainly can now if he wants to.

    • sumkat - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:20 AM

      Why not? It’s 100% clear LeBron can do and demand whatever he wants from the Cavs organization, and they will fall over themselves trying to make it happen

  13. 00maltliquor - Aug 24, 2014 at 1:34 AM

    Oh sweet baby Jesus I hope this turns into an epic rivalry for the next 7-8+ years!

    I hope Wiggins never becomes buddy-buddy with LBJ and he harbors a lifetime grudge against him and the Cavs franchise of MJ-level proportions. I want him to want to take a big, fat, wet n’ juicy dook on LBJ, K Love and the rest of the Cavs every time they match up year in and year out. That would be lovely!

    • rrhoe - Aug 24, 2014 at 2:10 AM

      Wit u 100% on that,would love to c him drop 50 on CLE in the near future(Wiggins that is) and to c that blank stare LeBron has when he has no clue.

    • antistratfordian - Aug 24, 2014 at 5:06 AM

      Wiggins isn’t the type of guy to hold grudges. He’s a legitimately nice guy. And LeBron is also a nice guy – hard to dislike off the court. They’ll cross paths because of LeBron’s Toronto connections (Drake, Thompson) – so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them being friendly.

      • sumkat - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:36 AM

        A “nice guy” would of reached out to the kid in that situation, a situation the kid is in because of the “nice guy’s” demand to get Love with him, and AT LEAST sent him a text message similar to what I wrote above

        I’ve never been a guy that was a LeBron hater. I’ve rooted against him, but I’ve rooted for him too. If my team isn’t involved, I tend to root for the under dog. When he made the finals with the Cavs, I was rooting for him. Since, I haven’t. Nothing against him, I am the same way in every sport. If my fav team isn’t on, I want to see the guys that “should” lose take it.

        This has no bearing on how good I think he is, he’s still the best in the world right now. I think the gap between him and KD is smaller than it was a year ago, but that has more to do with KD getting better. I don’t think LeBron is any worse than he was a year ago, I just don’t think he’s any better (hard to improve on the best). But it shows you all you need to now about his personality off the court…it’s how Kobe would treat someone

      • antistratfordian - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:29 PM

        The Cavs started going after Love long before LeBron showed up. According to Windhorst the Cavs decided to trade for Love in the middle of this season. Remember, Cleveland tried to trade the #1 pick for him before the draft, but Love said he wouldn’t re-sign there. So you can’t blame that on LeBron. Cleveland was going to trade for him either way.

        But there was no reason for LeBron to reach out to Wiggins. Who is Wiggins to LeBron? And if the Cavs told LeBron that they were going to trade Wiggins for Love then it was probably best that LeBron not try to build a relationship with him. But it was certainly not LeBron’s responsibility to comfort Wiggins. That was more Griffin’s job. Griffin drafted him and Griffin was the one who decided that he was going to try to trade him (before James showed up).

      • 00maltliquor - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        @ sumkat

        Sooo…can I count on you to be cheering a lot for my Lakers this season? 😀

        Since you go for the team that’s “supposed to lose” when your team’s not playing.

      • sumkat - Aug 24, 2014 at 10:31 PM

        @00maltliquor

        Yes, if i happen to catch them on TV (they are the lakers, they’ll be on TV), and there isn’t another game on I’d rather watch, most likely I’ll be rooting for the Lakers this year. I would say unless they are playing my sixers, but we are clearly in another year as lose as much as possible, so I may as well root for them in Philly too

    • glaglaboy - Aug 24, 2014 at 8:09 PM

      don’t you ever use the words lovely, superb or magnificent .. that’s a formal threat

  14. seasickcecil - Aug 24, 2014 at 2:25 AM

    With Wiggins shooting stroke he would have to put up 100 shots to score 50 points.

    • rrhoe - Aug 24, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      Now that’s funny,lmao……

  15. seasickcecil - Aug 24, 2014 at 2:27 AM

    Wait a minute. After that 1-6 4 point performance in the tournament make that 150 shots.

  16. seasickcecil - Aug 24, 2014 at 2:39 AM

    And of course there’s Anthony Bennet who all of a sudden has all of this upside. http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/1/14/5305228/anthony-bennett-rookie-season-statistics-cleveland-cavaliers

  17. coryfor3 - Aug 24, 2014 at 4:58 AM

    I’m confused now…So that means he does care what Lebron thinks? I hate this phrase because no one can say it correctly. Could care less means you care at least some. Holy moly….

  18. ohiobears - Aug 24, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    Great. Now we have bandwagon cavs fans, something I thought I’d never say..please just call yourself Lebron Fans. Anyways, I wish wiggins the best, hopefully he’s a stud, probably the most solid pick Cleveland had since Lebron.

    • 00maltliquor - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:41 PM

      LOL!!^ Says the guy who I’ve never seen on here all of a sudden come out of nowhere trying to rep Cavs like he’s been doing it forever!

  19. fnc111 - Aug 24, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    It’s couldn’t care less. People sound so stupid when they say could care less.

    • metalhead65 - Aug 24, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      no people who play grammar nazi are the ones who sound stupid. we know what it means so what difference does it make how it’s used. we are on a sports blog not a grammar one. so sick of people trying to show how smart they are when they have nothing to offer to the topic being discussed.

  20. jolink653 - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    I’ll never understand why people come to articles, read the articles, and then complain about how annoying those articles are. YOU chose to come here, YOU chose to read, and YOU took the time to comment. You don’t like it, don’t read these articles

  21. myhawks1976 - Aug 24, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    “Andrew Wiggins could care less what Lebron James thinks of him”

    Ummmm….. I’m going to go out on a limb and just suggest that Lebron is probably NOT spending a lot of time thinking of him.

    Cool story though.

  22. eugenesaxe1 - Aug 24, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    Wouldn’t it be grand if the kid turned out to be better than LBJ?

    Yes. Yes, it would.

  23. phluffyclouds - Aug 24, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    So he COULD care less ?

    Or couldn’t ?

    Goodness

  24. udub - Aug 24, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    I don’t get this coach’s comments. LeBron never said anything bad about Wiggins.

    Who knows what LeBron thinks about him. He could love the guys potential for the future, but still rather have Love’s current reality on his team.

    This trade didn’t come about from any LeBron negativity towards Wiggins.

  25. bevan18 - Aug 25, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Why is LeBron expected to talk to Wiggins? Kobe and Duncan get praised for not saying a word to rookies. Even Tony Parker was ignored for a year or two until he proved something to Duncan.

    • mogogo1 - Aug 25, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      The Duncan situation has been a bit overblown. Tony Parker mostly spoke French which Duncan says left him largely unable to talk to him. He says the same was true of when Ginobli joined the Spurs not being super-fluent in English. And I’ve never really seen Kobe “praised” for that behavior.

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