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From Rags To Wiggins!

This is Keith Ford with Simpson Elite Media, I got a chance to catch up with my guy Nick Wiggins. It’s been a pretty busy summer for him coming back from Taiwan and jumping straight into the traveling and supporting role. Nick attended the playoff games over the summer cheering on his younger brother Andrew as the Golden State Warriors won the NBA Championship. This summer he focused on spending some quality time with his family and daughter. Most importantly he’s staying ready for his next opportunity overseas. When I caught up with Wiggins, he had this to say

1. What did it take to transition from juco straight to a Division 1 school and compete at the highest level in the NCAA playing with Wichita State?

“The transition wasn’t easy from JUCO to D1. It took a different level of focus and commitment. In JUCO you are in a grind, you gotta prove yourself day in and day out. The good will separate themselves. Division 1 is a whole different animal. Everyone is good. Everyone has an elite skill and that’s the reason they are there. But for me, the main thing was holding myself more accountable. Handling my business off the court. In Juco you can float around and do what you want. Nobody is going to chase behind you, especially not your coaches and teammates. So you gotta drop all those bad habits and your only focus should be on 3 things. Focusing on school, becoming a better player everyday, and contributing to helping your team win ball games.”

2. When you guys entered the NCAA tournament undefeated at 34-0 with Wichita state what was the atmosphere like in the beginning of the season? And how did you guys stay so locked in? How would you describe playing with Fred VanVleet arguably the best point guard to come out of Wichita state?

“In the beginning of the season, the atmosphere was great. Due to our previous year (2013-14) making it to the final four, all our returning players had a certain swag, certain confidence. We had a very special group. Zero egos. Everybody was for the team, and not for themselves. We stayed locked in because the only goal in our eyes was winning the whole NCAA. We knew we’d get everyone’s best shot every night, but honestly felt like we couldn’t lose. We were THAT good. It’s not even arguable. It’s facts. FVV is the best guard to ever come out of Wichita state and he’s hands down the best point guard I’ve ever played with. The two years I played with him at Wichita State our record was 67-10. Super IQ for the game, gym rat, and his drive and toughness is second to none. Deserves everything he’s accomplished. Straight up winner.”

3. Being Andrew Wiggins older brother how proud are you? How does it feel to watch him shut the critics up and be a key part of golden states championship this year? If you could share a glimpse of Andrews mind set going into the playoffs, how would you describe that?

“Man, the whole family is super proud of Andrew. Watching him turn his dreams into reality, and have a huge contribution to bringing home an NBA championship was special. As his big brother watching his path he took to get the the league, he deserves a huge praise for the way he’s carried himself and become a true professional. Projected #1 pick. Compared to LeBron coming out of high school. Those aren’t easy expectations to live up to when you’re just a 8th grader, but he wore it so well. He was destined for greatness. To watch him shut all the haters up and silence all the critics was good and I know he felt good doing it because he never paid them any attention or gave their noise any life. True professional. His mindset going into the playoffs was being the best Andrew Wiggins he could be out there on the floor for the Warriors and do everything he can to help them win. Whether that’s defending the opposing teams best player 94 feet from the basket, or taking over games being the best rebounder on the floor. He was locked in, and you seen the result.”

4. If you could give these young athletes a piece of advice when it comes to playing overseas, g league and NBA what would that be?

“The only advice I have for players and athletes looking to compete on the pro/overseas/G league and NBA level is one thing. You have to LOVE the game. Overseas is amazing. Traveling seeing the world with a basketball as your guide. It’s beautiful. But overseas has its up and downs. Time away from friends & family, missed birthdays/events; you’re really on your own for 5-6 months grinding away from home with 11 others guys that you probably don’t know! The NBA and G league are more Americanized -nationalized leagues, so things will be ran a lot smoother than another league across the world. It’s tough. 72 game season. Injuries. Conditioning. Media. Winning. You gotta really fall in love with the process of being a professional basketball player. Wake up, eat, workout (lift) , shoot, sleep. Repeat. Treatment. Repeat. That’s 6/7 days out of the week. If you don’t love it the game, the process will drive you miserable and the game will just chew you up and spit you out.”

5. What does your playlist look like on game day?

“On gameday, I like to listen to some rap or hip hop get me in the mood for the flow of the game. Some of the names I listen to are Kevin gates, young thug, Kendrick Lamar.”

6. What country did you enjoy the most while playing? And where can we see you playing this season?

“My favourite country that I played in was definitely Brazil! I was out there for two seasons. The team set me up really well I was very comfortable away from home and they had me in a really nice apartment. I had a great year playing wise and just the living situation was great! Fans were amazing and the food was great also. I’m looking forward to jumping back in that Asian market. I was in Taiwan last year I’d love to go back!”

Simpson Elite Media would like to thank Nick Wiggins for his time and energy to agree to do this interview. We can't wait to see what Wiggins has in store for himself as he get another opportunity to play Pro ball. SimpsonElite is rooting for Nick Wiggins to sign his next contract and to have a healthy career.

-Keith Ford

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