Watch above: For the second year in a row, a Canadian was the number one draft pick in the NBA. Eric Sorensen has the story.
TORONTO – Andrew Wiggins’ swagger and confidence was apparent the moment he donned the much-talked-about black floral print suit and walked on stage to accept his throne as the 2014 No. 1 NBA draft pick.
“We just wanted to do something different, really stand out, try to win it on both ends, the stylish points and to come No. 1,” Wiggins said after shaking NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s hand Thursday night in Brooklyn.
The 19-year-old baller from Vaughan, Ont. was chosen first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers a year after the club selected fellow Canadian Anthony Bennett at the same top spot.
Wiggins makes it four Canadians playing in Cleveland with forward Tristan Thompson of Brampton, Ont. picked fourth overall in 2011.
Power forward Dwight Powell, a native of Toronto who played four years in Stanford and was chosen by the Charlotte Hornets with the 45th pick, was traded to the Cavaliers along with veteran center Brendan Haywood in return for small forward Alonzo Gee.
“I played with Tristan for a summer of AAU, and I played with Anthony for a while on the AAU circuit and on the national level too, so I’m just excited,” Wiggins said. “The chemistry is already there with those guys because I played with them already. I think big things are to come.”
Wiggins declared his eligibility for the NBA draft after spending just one year at the University of Kansas where some critics say he had an inconsistent season.
Regardless, many scouts believe his elite physical attributes and work ethic may just make him the best player Canada has ever produced.
“Going to high school and college, the opportunity and possibility of going No. 1 came into talk. And now I accomplished that, so it’s just a crazy feeling right now,” said Wiggins.
The six-foot-eight guard is genetically gifted with his father being a former NBA player and mother an Olympic sprinter.
Dad Mitchell and mom Marita were both on hand at the Barclays Center for their son’s shining moment.
“Especially because my parents were pro athletes before, now they can kind of live the dream again through me, and just watch their youngest son do something special with his life, and play at the highest level of basketball,” Wiggins said. “We cherish moments like this. It’s great, great for us.”
Wiggins joins a Maple-Leaf-clad 2014 class along with Nik Stauskas of Mississauga, Ont., who went eighth to the Sacramento Kings and Tyler Ennis of Brampton, Ont., selected 18th by the Phoenix Suns.
“It opens doors for all the youth in Canada, it gives them hope,” Wiggins said. “Coming up when I was in Canada, I wasn’t ranked, I wasn’t known. I didn’t really have any offers or anything like that. I just kept my head straight, kept working on my game, and look where I am today.
“I just think it gives everyone in Canada hope that they can do the same thing and accomplish whatever I do. Because it’s possible if they work hard.”
With files from The Canadian Press