CEDAR RAPIDS - Significant tennis accolades are often the byproduct of substantial individual focus.
But with the Iowa City West boys' tennis team, a team-first demeanor has produced glory for all.
The top-ranked Trojans (12-0, 9-0 Missi ... »
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AMES — The call came shortly after Lindell Wigginton got off the court.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound point guard had just finished his night at the Nike Hoops Summit in Oregon. The event pitted the best high school seniors in the U.S. against the best under-19 international players in an all-star showcase.
Wigginton, who signed with the Iowa State men’s basketball team in November, had 11 points and 7 assists in Team World’s loss. A good showing on an international stage against high-level competition wasn’t new.
The phone call, however, was a bit unexpected. It was former Cyclones point guard Monte Morris and senior Donvan Jackson on the other end.
“They told me, ‘Oh you look like you’re really ready for the college level,’” Wigginton told The Gazette last week. “Donovan, he told me right when I get there he’s going to push me to make me a better player and make me the best I can be. He told me I’ve got to push him also to be the best.
“We’ve really just got to push each other.”
Wigginton, from Nova Scotia, Canada, already was a high level prospect out of Oak Hill Academy this time last year. Throughout his senior year, which ended last month at the Dick’s High School Nationals, Wigginton gained more national exposure.
Rivals recently made Wigginton a five-star recruit while 247Sports ranked him as the No. 31 overall prospect in the country — with a 0.9869 composite ranking. He is the second highest-ranked recruit for Iowa State since 2003 — behind Craig Brackins in 2007.
“I always like going up against the best players just to show where I’m at,” Wigginton said. “I feel like I’ve been playing great against them and every time I step on the court, I feel like I’m the best. That’s just going to make me compete even harder.”
At Oak Hill, a high school basketball powerhouse in Virginia, Wigginton played the shooting guard and averaged 20.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists this season alongside point guard Matt Coleman, a Texas signee. Wigginton anticipates shifting more toward the point guard next season, allowing Jackson to play off the ball.
The beauty of Wigginton’s experiences and Jackson’s skill set, he said, is they essentially can be interchangeable — similar to Morris and Jackson last season.
“I can score at all three levels, but just going (to all-star events) I wanted to show I could play the point guard spot and could be a leader to my team and get them going on the offensive and defensive ends,” Wigginton said. “So I really just wanted to show my point guard skills.”
Wigginton had offers from Oregon, Arizona State, Baylor and Louisville among others before selecting Iowa State. He said of all his prospective schools, ISU Coach Steve Prohm and assistant Neill Berry were in contact the most. Most of the time when his phone would ring or buzz, it was Prohm or Berry checking in.
“(Prohm) told me he was going to build a relationship with me that no head coach would do for me. I feel like he did that,” Wigginton said. “That’s what made me really comfortable at Iowa State and coming in and trying to be an impact player. I know he trusted me and I trust him.”
Virginia transfer Marial Shayok committed Wednesday, leaving ISU with three scholarships to fill. Depending on what happens in the spring recruiting period, the load on Wigginton’s shoulders could be a little heavier next winter.
No matter what happens, he’s ready.
“I just want to win,” Wigginton said. “I want to come in and win and contribute the most to the team that I can contribute. I just want to be an impact player right away and be one of the best freshmen in college basketball.”
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