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KU forward Andrew Wiggins goes No. 1 to Cavs

6/27/2014

By MICHAEL BEAVEN

McClatchy-Tribune

The Cavaliers added a Canadian for the second year in a row with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, taking Kansas freshman forward Andrew Wiggins on Thursday night.

Wiggins, a native of Thornhill, Ontario, is the newest addition to the Cavs following last year's No. 1 pick, Anthony Bennett.

"I think I can be a great player," Wiggins said during a teleconference with the media at Cleveland Clinic Courts. "I want to be one of the best. I think it comes with hard work and dedication to be one of the best."

Wiggins, 19, is 6-feet-8 and 200 pounds. He can play small forward and shooting guard after averaging 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 32.8 minutes per game in his lone season at Kansas.

He played two years of high school ball at Huntington Prep in West Virginia.

"I want to come in and make an impact right of the bat," Wiggins said. "I want to come in, win Rookie of the Year and play in the All-Star Game."

Wiggins later talked about winning championships.

He showed confidence and smiled as he wore a flashy black-and-white suit, and shook hands with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after his name was called first at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Duke's Jabari Parker was the top American selected, going No. 2 to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Philadelphia 76ers took Kansas's Joel Embiid third, the Orlando Magic took Arizona's Aaron Gordon fourth and the Utah Jazz took Australia's Dante Exum.

Wiggins was a consensus second-team All-America selection, the Big 12 Freshman of the Year and an All-Big 12 first-team pick.

Cavs General Manager David Griffin praised Wiggins for his solid defensive skills during a television interview with ESPN, and compared him to Shawn Marion. Others have compared him to Tracy McGrady, as an athletic player with elite leaping ability.

"All of our scouts felt like he had the most upside," Griffin said.

Wiggins is the third Canadian on the Cavs roster, to go along with Bennett and Tristan Thompson.

"We have always been cool," Wiggins said. "I played the AAU circuit with Tristan and AAU and at the national level with AB. There is chemistry and we all want to be good.

"[This is a] great thing for Toronto. Great thing for Canada, actually. Before this, no player from Canada has been No. 1, and now we have two back-to-back No. 1s."

Wiggins expressed excitement about joining a young Cavs team that features Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, Thompson and Bennett.

"They're young, they like to run and they are athletic," Wiggins said. "They are all aggressive and I think we will all get along."

Wiggins also addressed the possibility of playing with former Cavs star LeBron James, who has opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat and filed for free agency.

"It would be great to play with the one of the greatest ever," Wiggins said.

Wiggins is the sixth player the Cavs have selected No. 1 overall, joining Austin Carr (1971), Brad Daugherty (1986), James (2003), Irving (2011) and Bennett (2013).

Carr, Daugherty, James and Irving have each played in at least one NBA All-Star Game.

With the third pick of the second round (33rd overall), the Cavs selected Joe Harris, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound guard/forward from Virginia.

The last Kansas player to go No. 1 was Danny Manning in 1988.

"This is a dream come true," Wiggins said. "The last 24 hours, I have been running around doing interviews. I have been preparing for this moment. ... I've been dreaming of this moment since I was a little kid. My dream was just to make the NBA."

Wiggins said he met new Cavs coach David Blatt last week when he was in town to work out, and feels comfortable with his style.

"I know he's a great coach, a European coach," Wiggins said. "I asked around, no player has ever not liked him. He's a great coach, and I think he's going to do great things for our team and just help us on the come up."