Kyle Wiggins is a 190cm guard from Leavenworth, Kansas that recently completed his college career at Washburn(NCAA2).As a senior he played 17 games averaging 13.9ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 72.6%. In 2012 he won the MIAA tournament with Washburn. He recently spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Thanks Kyle for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your early summer been?
Thank you for the opportunity. My early summer has been great. I’ve been constantly working out preparing myself for any opportunity that comes my way. At the moment I am trying to find a good agent to represent me to start my professional career and staying ready and hungry is what I’ve been focused on.
You finished your illustrious college career at Washburn(NCAA2) in 2015. You didn´t play professional last season. How did you pass the time?
After my final year at Washburn I hadn’t completed my degree. Talking it over with my family we decided that I should finish out school and graduate before chasing my dream. During that time I was heavily involved with the team at Washburn as a Student Assistant Coach. I also practiced quite a bit like a player to stay in playing shape and to compete against the guys.
Did you really pursue going the professional route? What kind of experience has it been tackling the professional waters?
This last couple of months I have really been tackling it head on. It has been a tough uphill battle. I’ve been reaching out to different agencies to try and get some player representation but it’s been tough. A lot of the good agents probably get hundreds of emails from different players so I’m hoping that I can breakthrough and someone takes a chance.
What is your goal now early in the summer of 2016 in terms of trying to start your professional rookie season somewhere?
My biggest goal is to continue training hard until my opportunity comes. To me, luck is when preparation meets opportunity so staying hungry and focused is big. Another goal is just to continue to reach out to great agents and teams to show them and convince them of how great of a player I am. If I keep knocking on the door, eventually someone will answer.
Did you need that year off? Are you ready to go the professional route now?
I did not necessarily need the year off. I was ready to play right after my final season. Since I did though it gave me an opportunity to work on my game and my body so I really tried to turn it into a positive instead of a negative.
You played at Washburn(NCAA2) from 2011-2015. How do you feel did you develop further as a player in those four years?
They were great. I had to quickly adjust as soon as I got there. I was lucky enough to have a two time All-American my freshman and sophomore year to go against in practice every day which was huge. It helped me develop that hunger and drive to get better and compete every single minute. Outside of the major Division 1 conferences it is one of the toughest leagues out there. There are plenty of guys that I competed against who are playing professionally somewhere and having great careers. It really prepared me for any level of completion that I might go against.
Would you classify yourself more as a combo guard or more a shooting guard or point guard as you can score, but also find your teammates at will?
I would say more of a combo guard. I play really well with the ball in my hands in playmaking situations. I can handle and the pass the ball where I can be a great point guard, but I’m also a great scorer and shooter to play off the ball at the shooting guard position a little similar to someone like James Harden. Who can get his teammates involved at a high level but can also be a deadly scorer. He’s a guy I love to watch and take things from.
Would you classify your shooting as your biggest strength? You shot 40% from downtown in two of your last three seasons?
It’s definitely one of my biggest strengths. There is always a place on a team for someone who can consistently knock down shots from anywhere so I really try to always be a consistent shooter. I would have to put my playmaking ability up there with one of my biggest strengths too. I love forcing a defense to react and then reading it and making the right play, whether that be me scoring the ball or finding a teammate.
As a freshman you won the MIAA Tournament. What is your most distinct memory of that winning team that you have now 4 years later?
Just how close everyone on the team was. A lot of those guys from that team or some of my closest friends to this day. I was a freshman on a team full of juniors and seniors so those guys took me in like family. I think that comradery is big on any championship team.
What kind of experience was it playing for the 25th most winningest coach in college basketball Bob Chipman who has been with Washburn since 1979?
Coach Chip was great. Coming out of high school I was in a similar situation I am in now to where I wasn’t really recruited by any big time schools to play. Coach Chip saw something in me and gave me an opportunity to prove myself. He took a chance on me and I was able to play well for him for 4 years and become a top ten scorer in school history. He’s hard on you and pushes you to be the best player you can be. He is a great coach.
How did he groom and prepare you best to pursue that potential professional basketball career?
Just instilling that work ethic in me. Just letting me know that nothing in life is giving to you and that if you want something you have to go out and take it.
You dueled against NBA player Ben Mclemore in a 2012 exhibition losing to Kansas 62-50. What do you remember most from that game?
The thing I remember the most is the energy of playing in Allen Field house. If you know anything about college basketball in America, you know that Allen Field house is one of the toughest places to play. To compete against some of the best like Ben Mclemore on the main stage is what every player wants
When you see the game of Ben Mcelmore, do you feel like you could keep up somewhere in the world in a professional league
There’s no question in my mind that I can. I’ve played against some of the best players and held my own like Ben, or Buddy Hield who is probably going to be a top ten pick in the draft this year. There’s a misconception that guys coming from D2 aren’t as good as the guys coming from D1 which isn’t true. We can compete against anyone in the world we just need the opportunity.
When I say in a 2014 interview before the start of the 2014-2015 season, you won against your brother Cameron 10-9, do you remember what it was?
Haha yes it was something fun we did for a friend we went to high school with.
You guys did agree on some things in that interview like sharing the same taste for Lemonade. Does that come from the very hot summers in Kansas? Is Lemonade the most refreshing drink for you guys after a hard work out?
We both just love lemonade but after a hard work out the number 1 drink is still Gatorade.
Your brother Cameron didn´t play much as a freshman while you were one of the central figures on the team. How do you feel could you help your brother most that one season where you were teammates?
Just competing at a high level against him every day. When you have someone that pushes you it makes you that much better. Iron sharpens Iron.
Who won a one on one in practice in 2014 you or your brother and who would win in 2016 on the court?
Me. No contest. He might get a few point here and there
What do you know in general about European basketball? In the summer of 2012, you were with a touring team in Europe. What memories do you have of that?
I know that the game is a lot more physical then here in the states. The level of competition is also that much higher. Yes we got to play teams from Sweden and from Denmark. It really gave me a better understanding of the way the game is played over there and some of the similarities and differences. It also let me know that I could compete at that level and be effective.
If you could describe your game best in a few sentences as to why you could help any professional team what would you say?
I would say I’m a deadly shooter. Aggressive slasher and finisher and elite playmaker and defender. Anything that needs to be done for the team to win I will do no questions asked. A guy that will work his tail off to get better.
If you had to create your own version of an NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA heads would you use?
There’s really too many guys that shifted the way the game is played to only put 4 up there. Michael Jordan is a no brainer but after that it gets really tough almost impossible.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Captain America Civil War. Great movie.
Thanks Kyle for the chat.