New Cavaliers small forward Andrew Wiggins wants to rewrite Cleveland sports history.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Andrew Wiggins is a quick study when it comes to history.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, they got a player who is aware of the sports history of his new hometown, and more importantly, someone who wants to rewrite that history.
"I know they haven't had a championship in a very long time. I think it's since the '60s," Wiggins said in a conference call with the Cleveland media. "I just want to be able to bring something to the town, bring a championship."
Wiggins was indeed correct, as the 1964 Cleveland Browns were the last team to bring a league championship to Cleveland.
A native of Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, Wiggins is anxious to get on the court with a Cavaliers team that has only a handful of players with any NBA playoff experience.
"I think I'll fit in great," Wiggins said. "They're young. They like to run. They're athletic, and they want to win. All of them are aggressive, and I think I'm like that too. I think we'll get along great. I haven't been on a team where a teammate didn't like me, so I think it'll be good."
During his one year at the University of Kansas, Wiggins averaged 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists over 32.8 minutes in 35 games. However, what sometimes got lost with Wiggins because of his offensive prowess was his defensive abilities. He averaged 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks per game for the Jayhawks.
"My father really (ingrained) in my head that defense is one of the key things in basketball," Wiggins said. "You can't be a great player without playing on both ends of the floor. That's what I need to do."
During the remainder of the offseason, Wiggins "wants to get stronger, perfect everything" within his game, including his shot, and learning to stay low to the ground while defending opponents.
And he will do that because of his desire to become a better player.
"I think I can be a great player," Wiggins said. "I want to be one of the best. I think it comes with hard work, dedication and sacrifice. That's what you do to be the best.
"I have a lot of goals. I want to come in and make an impact off the bat, be a defensive team, be Rookie of the Year, be in the All-Star Game. I have a lot of goals, and know that it's going to take hard work to achieve."
TEAMING WITH JAMES
Just days before the 2014 NBA Draft, the agent of former Cavaliers small forward LeBron James, declared his client's intentions to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat and test free agency for only the second time in his career.
Although Wiggins said he will not attempt to convince James where to go, he would welcome the opportunity to team with the multi-time NBA Most Valuable Player.
"I don't know him too, too well, but he's LeBron," Wiggins said. "Everybody knows LeBron. It'd be great. He's one of the best ever, so it'd be great to play with one of the best ever. That's a level I want to be at too.
"He's a grown man. He's going to follow wherever his heart is, wherever he wants to play."
READY FOR NBA
Wiggins entered the 2014 NBA Draft after only one year at Kansas, but having played in the Big 12 for a season and being a highly recruited player out of Huntington Prep in West Virginia, he feels ready to embrace the intensity and pressure of the professional ranks.
"I think big college teams prepare you," Wiggins said. "Kansas, Duke, Kentucky are always in the spotlight. No matter what, you're always the center of attention. You're like a rock star on the court and off the court, so that really prepared me to transition to the next level."