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Recruiting coverage is wrong; Yes, I watched Wiggins’ announcement, too

Tom Sorensen
Tom Sorensen has been a columnist at The Observer for 20 years and has been at the paper for 25, writing about nearly every sport in the Carolinas.

A high school star athlete will step out of a limo, walk into a crowded news conference, put on a video that honors the first 17 years of his life and, to uproarious applause, pull out a cap that indicates his college of choice.

Some of us rip the kid for developing such a large ego at such a young age. But if adults didn’t hang on recruiting as if it were a sport, there would be no reason for a video tribute or a limousine. We did this.

Well, I didn’t. I don’t follow recruiting. It doesn’t feel right.

Think about it. If you’re a high school sophomore with a man-sized vertical jump who can make adults salivate every time you wear their school’s logo on a T-shirt, you might be full of yourself, too.

At about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday Andrew Wiggins, the small forward out of Canada, was going to announce whether he would attend, in alphabetical order, Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky or North Carolina.

I admit I was curious. An acquaintance who works in the NBA saw Wiggins play in an All-Star game. The man wasn’t impressed. He was moved. He said Wiggins will be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

In other words, the Charlotte Bobcats will contend for Wiggins’ services.

At 12:05, I considered turning on ESPN. Even though Wiggins wanted to keep the announcement party small, I figured ESPN would provide red carpets, floodlights and a news team to break stories real and pretend.

This just in: Wiggins is wearing a blue shirt. This means that he will attend a school that wears blue. His choices now are limited to, in alphabetical order, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina.

In 1995 Vince Carter graduated from Mainland High in Daytona Beach, Fla. He could have gone anywhere. He chose North Carolina. Before Carter made his decision, the Daytona Beach News-Journal received several calls a week from a Charlotte columnist who wanted to know which way Carter was leaning – me.

An editor who finally grew tired of answering the Carter questions called me and said he didn’t think I was the kind of guy who would get worked up about Carter’s choice of colleges. I thanked him; he was right.

I asked him to ask the imposter to call me, but the imposter never did.

A guess is that the imposter has moved on. He’s picked a more prestigious name (Scott Fowler) and no longer calls newspapers. He now calls PGA tournaments to complain about an improper drop by Sergio Garcia or Tiger Woods.

At 12:12 I tried not to pick up the remote.

I wish there were a 12-step program to deal with issues such as this. I could call my sponsor and, over Texas hold ’em and a couple beers, be talked out of turning on ESPN.

Alas, there is no sponsor. I picked up the remote and learned Wiggins would attend Kansas.

I went online to look for more information about Wiggins and noticed somebody had taken time to rank high school basketball’s top 100 recruits. Oh, what a good time this was going to be. To sustain the thrill ride I could post an anonymous comment on a message board (everybody is out to get me) and then play a rousing game of spider solitaire.

Or I could turn off the TV and the computer, go outside and not return until my brain did.

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