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Scholar Athlete: Ferriday guard says school comes before hoops

FERRIDAY — It’s all about priorities for Ferriday High School shooting guard Adrian Wiggins.

The Trojans sophomore currently has a high B average, and a strong focus on academics has helped make him one of the top students on the varsity boys basketball team.

“You have to have your academics down first, then the rest will come to you,” Wiggins said. “I always take care of my business first in the classroom.”

That mindset is stressed from the top down, as Ferriday boys head coach K.G. Watkins said there’s no use working on basketball if you can’t get your schoolwork taken care of first.

Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat — Ferriday’s Adrian Wiggins goes up for a layup in Monday’s win over Homer High School. Wiggins is a leader on the court and in the classroom for the Trojans.

“I’m sure he has parents that emphasize being a good student-athlete, and ‘student’ is the first word there,” Watkins said. “The better he performs academically, the better an athlete he will be.”

But Wiggins said Watkins is not the first person who’s preached to him why it’s important to stay on top of his grades.

“My coaches going all the way back to middle school taught me that, and my mom, Sharon Wiggins, says not to let anything interrupt you from doing your work and staying focused,” Wiggins said. “Schoolwork comes before anything.”

The studying itself is the easy part for Wiggins, who said he doesn’t need people constantly reminding him to get his homework done.

“I can memorize things pretty quickly,” Wiggins said. “A lot of it comes from my memory in class, and all my subjects are pretty easy for me.”

The hard part, Wiggins said, is not letting himself feel too much pressure because of so many things going on at once.

“It’s a little bit hard, because you have a lot of stuff on your mind, like school, basketball and going to college,” Wiggins said. “I haven’t decided where I’m going, but I worry about it.”

The cure for having too much on his mind, Wiggins said, is getting a good night’s sleep.

“I go to bed and think about it for a minute, and then it’ll be off my mind,” Wiggins said. “I never have to stay up late, and going to sleep helps calm my mind down.”

Wiggins said he’s been playing basketball since middle school, and he’s also gotten help by playing for AAU teams in Jonesville, La., Monroe, La., and Baton Rouge. His first love, however, will always be football, in which he plays wide receiver.

“When I was little, I always wanted to play football,” Wiggins said.

As a basketball player, Watkins said Wiggins has a lot of room to grow, and he’ll be relying on the young guard more in the coming seasons.

“The growth potential will be more in the next two years,” Watkins said. “He’s a good athlete, and I’m looking forward to having him around.”

Playing sports is a good way for Wiggins to stay active and not just sit around all day, he said.

“I enjoy sports, because they keep me busy,” he said. “I don’t want to be bored.”

If Wiggins does have aspirations to play sports in college, Watkins said the guard’s mindset when it comes to studying will pay off.

“At the next level, no one wants a player who won’t be a good student,” Watkins said. “Too many kids get caught up in athletics and not the student side.”

Wiggins is also the son of Alfred Wiggins.