Lindell Wigginton says he has no regrets about returning for sophomore season
Randy Peterson, email@example.com
AMES, Ia. — You never know who you’re going to run into inside the Sukup Iowa State basketball practice facility late at night.
For example: While hanging out, waiting for Bridget Carleton to show up and talk about being selected in the second round of Wednesday night’s WNBA draft, Lindell Wigginton popped in.
And about 45 minutes later, as Carleton held court with reporters, Wigginton walked out of the facility.
Two wonderful Cyclones basketball players, one from Ontario and the other from Nova Scotia. One was just drafted. The other hopes to be drafted. Both talked separately about what they hope their futures hold.
Ho hum — just another night in the Sukup, eh?
Carleton’s professional profile was high throughout the season. Wigginton saw his status fall from being a potential draft choice after his freshman season, to maybe not even being among the 60 picked during the two-round June 20 NBA draft.
That’s according to those always-precise (kidding, folks) mock drafts that respectable websites push. Fans dig into them with all the zest of a smaller player soaring over the head of a much taller player for a highlight-reel dunk in a Big 12 road arena.
Although some fans embrace them, Wigginton rightly reads them with an “entertainment-only” mindset.
“I know what I can do,” he said Wednesday night. “I think scouts know what I can do. Mock draft people are just people that put out a draft board.”
Wigginton missed 10 early-season games because of a strained foot. When he returned, it was in a reserve role.
“I don’t regret coming back,” Wigginton said during his first comments since announcing on Twitter that he’s hiring an agent and going through his second early-out NBA draft process “with the full intent of staying in (the draft).”
“I think I did learn from the injury and (other) stuff that helped me with my mental stage — just through any situation and adapting to any situation,” Wigginton added. “I think it helped me a lot.”
The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 13.5 points per game and shot 38.1 percent from 3-point range while playing in his new role most of the season. Iowa State went 8-2 during his absence . Freshman Tyrese Haliburton played so well as his replacement that Wigginton became an asset off the bench.
A year ago, Wigginton went through the NBA draft evaluation process after averaging 16.7 points and starting 31 games as a freshman. He shot 40.1 percent from 3-point range. His assist-to-turnover ratio was a not-so-good 88-to-92.
He worked out for Phoenix, Orlando, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, and both Los Angeles teams.
“I did good in all my workouts,” he said shortly after removing himself from 2018 draft consideration. “I could have (stayed in the draft), but I wanted to come back another year.”
So, he returned. He averaged 13.4 points. He had 53 assists against 49 turnovers. He played 25 games, with all but a few as a reserve.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the season I wanted it to be, but I’ve just got to go into the (NBA) workouts and be me,” Wigginton said. “That’s really all I’ve got to do.”
He said he’ll hire an agent. He’ll work out for whoever wants him to work out. He’ll continue to train in Phoenix, where he’s training now.
“I’m still in classes, but most of my classes are online,” he said. “I’ll go through the whole (workout) process.”
This time, it’ll be with an agent.
“You can hire agents, so it’ll definitely be different,” he said. “Last year’s experience will help. I know what it takes to go into the workouts — just be yourself.”
And then maybe hear your name called on draft night.
“That’s been my dream while growing up,” he said. “Not a lot of people make it from where I’m from, so me just being the first person to try and make it means a lot to me and it means a lot to the youth back home.”
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been with the Register for parts of five decades. Randy writes opinion and analysis of Iowa State football and basketball. You can reach Randy at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @RandyPete.
Source: Des Moines Register