Freshman Wiggins Emerges for Huskies

By David Scott - December 20, 2006



HARTFORD - As one of seven children (four brothers and two sisters), Doug Wiggins has grown accustomed to waiting, sharing and being in the shadows.

Now, as a freshman for the undefeated (10-0) UConn Huskies, Wiggins is starting to emerge from those shadows and beginning to cast his own. The waiting is apparently over - but not the sharing.

“The way we want to break the press is exactly the way Dougie did it tonight,” said Husky head coach, Jim Calhoun after his teams 88-66 win over Pepperdine in front of 15,117 at the Hartford Civic Center. “Dougie plays end to end and when Craig (Austrie) and (seven turnover) AJ (Price) were playing just okay, he made some end-to-end drives.”

Wiggins finished one point off his career best of 17 (against Texas Southern), scoring 16 points - 11 of which came in the second half - on 5-of-8 shooting from the field in a career-high 29 minutes off the bench.

“In the first half, I kind of didn’t know what to do and what not do, but the coaches told me at halftime to be more aggressive,” said Wiggins, an East Hartford native, playing about five minutes from his home. “I know I’ve got a lot of love coming from the stands. I heard a lot of people screaming my name.”

Those screams will be louder and longer if Wiggins, with his explosve speed and basket-attacking mentality, continues to improve at the level he has over the course of the Huskies’ first ten games.

“Dougie is a unique player,” said Price, UConn’s best overall guard. “He shoots the three well, he handles the ball well and plays good defense. He’s progressing each game and tonight showed a lot of the things he can do. He and Stanley (Robinson, with eight points, nine rebounds and two blocks) came in and picked us up off the bench.”

Wiggins was the focus of a rather heated recruitment that had him first going to Big East rival, St. John’s and then, at the “11th hour,” backing out and staying in-state to sign with Calhoun’s Huskies. The mud-slinging that ensued over Wiggins’s eventual commitment to UConn was the stuff of recruiting legend. The end result? Wiggins is at UConn and he could be a key member going forward as the youthful Huskies look for some reliable outside shooting and aggressive guard play.

“From the beginning of the season and not playing so much, I thought it was going to be a tough year,” said the 6-foot-1, 165-pound Wiggins. “So for me to start playing more earlier in the season (now), and me to be doing what I’m doing - I’m happy right now.”

So too, of course, is Calhoun and his Huskies.

Posted by David Scott at 10:22 PM on December 20, 2006
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