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Andrew Wiggins 'humbled' by Vaughan naming NBA draft day in his honour

Thornhill Liberal
May 16, 2014
By Adam Martin-Robbins

Top NBA prospect Andrew Wiggins is touched by Vaughan’s move to honour him on NBA draft day.

“Humbled and very appreciative of my hometown's support!” Wiggins tweeted Friday.

His response comes after reported that city councillors, at this week’s committee of the whole meeting, voted unanimously to declare June 26 Andrew Wiggins Day, in part to recognize the fact he is expected to go high in the draft, if not first overall.

Mr. Wiggins, 19, grew up in Thornhill and led the Vaughan Secondary School basketball team to a provincial championship in 2011 before heading to Huntington Prep School in the United States.

This past season, he starred as a freshman with the Kansas Jayhawks then declared his intention to play in the big leagues.

Gus Gymnopoulos, his former coach at Vaughan Secondary School, called it “a phenomenal thing.”

“I think he would be much appreciative of that honour and that designation coming from the City of Vaughan,” Mr. Gymnopoulos said in an interview earlier in the week. “I know he’s very partial to Vaughan, having been raised here.”

Thornhill Councillor Alan Shefman put forward the resolution to dedicate the day to Mr. Wiggins as a way of celebrating his athletic achievements.

“I think it’s really important that we recognize excellence and secondly recognize people that have the potential to be heroes to young people in our community,” Mr. Shefman said, in an interview Monday afternoon. “Andrew Wiggins, a Vaughan kid playing ball at one of our local high schools and growing up in our community, is a great example of somebody who can, through his athletic ability … become not only a hero, but a role model for people.”

Mr. Shefman said his motivation to put forward the motion came, in part, from media reports, which all describe Mr. Wiggins as “a modest and nice kid.”

“It seems like his character was well molded by his parents, who in their own right are well-known and appreciated in our community,” he said.

Andrew is the son of former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and former Canadian Olympic track and field champion Marita Payne-Wiggins.

Mr. Shefman’s resolution still has to get the final stamp of approval from city council later this month, but that will likely be a slam dunk.

“It’s important to celebrate achievement particularly from individuals who exemplify, I think, the very best,” Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua said Tuesday. “Wiggins, from all accounts, seems to be a person with incredible leadership skills, on and off the court.