Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sekou Wiggs Leaving Idaho Program

From Vandal Nation, Sekou Wiggs has announced via his instagram account that he is leaving the Idaho program.

On the court, it's a big loss for the Vandals. He could be a ball stopper at times, but he was dynamic attacking the basket, averaging 11.5 PPG. He wasn't an outside shooter (just 8/27 from three), but he was fifth in the Big Sky in the number of fouls he drew per 40 minutes, and he was even better in that category as a freshman.

He also increased his assist rate up to a very respectable 19.3, up a bunch from his freshman year. He was never going to be a great distributor, but certainly he showed enough ability in setting up others to be encouraged. With the graduation of guys like Connor Hill and Mike Scott, he would have been the center of the offense next year.

It's not hard to look at the transfer and believe it is related to an incident at the end of the year. According to reports, Wiggs was late for team breakfast the day of the Big Sky tournament game against Eastern Washington, and as a result did not play the first half, and played just 12 minutes of the game. Coach Don Verlin is big on discipline (well, sometimes), and I would think an incident like that would put him in the dog house, and give him a negative view toward the coaches.

In all, it's unfortunate, because Wiggs would have been a big part of the Vandals roster the next two years, pairing with Perrion Callandret to form a dynamic backcourt. Instead, he'll continue his career elsewhere.

Follow me on Twitter @bigskybball


  1. You need to get all the facts. Here are quotes from Wiggs from the Moscow paper. We were leading the EWU Tourney game without him on the floor. Although I liked him and it didn't seem his teammates disliked him, this might be the reason why we under performed at times this season. If he doesn't want to run set offenses then I have no reason to keep him in Verlin's system. Good luck Wiggs!

    "I don't really like how the last half of the season went for me," Wiggs said "I feel like, to grow and expand my range of getting my name out there, I needed to go to another school where I could play my game up-and-down, to my strengths. I feel like Idaho is a great place but as far as playing to my strengths as player, which is playing fast, playing up-and-down and being athletic, I felt like it wasn't the right fit for me to do that."

    "I feel like, as a player, I'm one of the most athletic in the game of basketball," Wiggs said. "I can do that (dunk like he did against UM) within the game of basketball itself; stuff like driving to the basket on fast breaks, just part of my up-and-down game, which I played my whole life. I got to Idaho and we played a lot of sets and a lot of motion so you can't really break out of the offense to do what you need to do."

    His announcement on Instagram was entirely positive in tone, and suggested his basketball career isn't done.
    "I've been on an amazing journey with this team and it's going to be tough leaving my brothers!" he wrote, capitalizing the first letter of each word. "I've grown to love every single one of these guys and it's by far been the closest team I've ever played for."
    He thanked UI director of player development Milt Palacio "for being an older brother to me" and the UI community "for always being there for me and having my back."

    "Sekou has chosen to leave the program," Verlin said in a UI statement. "We wish him the best."


    Moscow Vandal

    1. Idaho played at the 47th fastest pace in the country last year... He must have some very specific things in mind in terms of playing fast!

  2. Wiggs' touches and shots felt like they decreased in the second half of the year, though part of that has to do with him being a non-shooter. Teams figured out how to stay a couple steps off him and beg him to take long twos. I had wished throughout the year that Verlin would play Wiggs at the four, start a four wing lineup, and see which Big Sky posts can stick with Wiggs off the dribble. The defense would have been terrible, but Idaho's defense was terrible anyway, and starting four scorers instead of three, both of Idaho's posts were neglected by opposing defenses with regularity, could yield a team that would run you out of the building.

    All of that said, I'm curious where he winds up. It's 100% speculation, but a transfer to EWU would give him a more open system to work within and give EWU a solid player to take over post-Harvey and Jois. Idaho certainly looks like a train wreck next year, losing their top three scorers from a sub .500 team.

    1. That four wing lineup would have been a lot of fun to watch, that is for sure...You are right too, the D couldn't have really gotten any worse!

      I doubt he lands anywhere in the Big Sky just because players don't transfer in conference all that often... but of all the Big Sky teams, Southern Utah would intrigue me. They played even faster than Idaho last year, and they could be set up really nice in two years when he would become eligible.

    2. I am not worried about losing our top 4 scorers. At certain points this year we had Sophs and Freshmen all playing on the court. Yes, we may take our lumps early, but we will be ready when conference play starts. We are young and talented. We also have GWU transfer Skyler White eligible to play next year. Barring anymore defections we will be fine. Just need to make sure we are deep at the PG position. We have plenty of people to shoot the ball. Also, if Verlin would learn to stop icing his own players when they are hot, we might win a few more games.

      Moscow Vandal

  3. The problem is not just losing the four scorers, it's the developmental jumps some players have to make for the program to stay afloat (an aside: this program has not grown at all in Verlin's tenure. They're better than the embarrassment they were under Leonard Perry, but Verlin's bar for success from fellow Vandals rests at a spectacularly low level. The only strong positive to come away with is that other than not losing twice as many games as we win, we can now recruit some four year players. At this trajectory, in 40 years we might win the conference). Callandret and Sanders, solid players, will either have to develop into regular contributors or Skyler White is going to need to score around 18 per game. We're certainly not going to make up much production out of the post. Mpawe has developed as much as I believe he can. Mkrtychyan looks like he'll be a player, but his increase in playing time won't alone be able to account for what the team lost. Between graduation and transfers, this team is losing almost 50 points per game.