Cedric ‘C.J’ Wiggins returns to area to help VSU Trojans
12/21/2018, 6 a.m.
Home is where the heart is.
With just one college basketball season left, Cedric “C.J.” Wiggins has moved closer to his roots, in part to accommodate parents, grandparents and friends.
Following a successful run at North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C., the stylish point guard has transferred to Virginia State University in Ettrick.
The news was welcomed by Wiggins’ “Uncle Johnny” Newman. More on him later.
Early signs are encouraging for Wiggins, the son of Cedric Sr. and Patrice Wiggins of the Richmond area. Wearing orange and blue jersey No. 1, the 6-foot, 180-pound Wiggins averages 8.1 points, while leading the Trojans with 29 assists.
A threat driving to the basket or launching 3-pointers, he’s 14 for 32 (44 percent) from behind the arc for Coach Lonnie Blow Jr. Wiggins has averaged 26.1 minutes per game while filling a vacancy left by the graduation loss of two-year starting point guard Waymond Wright.
VSU is now 7-3 after an 85-61 victory last Saturday over Fayetteville State University.
Coach Blow learned Wiggins might be coming to VSU last spring.
“He’s been great. We’re excited having C.J.,” Coach Blow said. “He works well with our style. He gets the ball up the floor quickly and he’s a strong on-the-ball defender.”
Wiggins comes from winning stock. He helped North Carolina Central win two MEAC Tournament titles and twice advance to the NCAA Division I “Big Dance.”
He was a sometimes starter for Central, averaging six points and two assists per game as a junior.
Before that in high school, he starred two seasons at state private school powerhouse Benedictine Prep, once scoring 46 points in a single game and winning All-State honors.
He had plenty of help at the Catholic military school. Wiggins shared the Benedictine backcourt with Robert Johnson, who went on to be a four-year regular at Indiana University.
Wiggins is an excellent student, with all of his credits from North Carolina Central transferring to VSU, where he is a business marketing major. He eyes a professional career as a sports agent.
Business is in his family tree. Wiggins’ father owns Peoples Choice Insurance Agency; his mother is a vice president with BB&T Scott & Stringfellow.
And now about “Uncle Johnny”
Former University of Richmond and NBA standout Johnny Newman has been close friends with Cedric Sr. and the Wiggins family since at least 1991.
“I think of him as my uncle. I call him ‘Uncle Johnny,’ ” Wiggins said.
The elder Wiggins concurs.
“Johnny’s been around C.J. since birth,” said Wiggins Sr. “I managed Johnny’s Richmond business properties from 1991 to 2004. Johnny hasn’t seen C.J. play yet at VSU, but he plans to. He’s been traveling a lot.”
Wiggins Sr. also offered another tidbit regarding famous family members.
“C.J. probably didn’t tell you this, but he’s a distant cousin of Andrew Wiggins,” a forward with the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves, Wiggins Sr. said.
Andrew Wiggins’ father, Mitchell Wiggins, starred at Florida State University and was an NBA first-round draft choice in 1983 by the Indiana Pacers.
VSU went 25-5 a year ago and hosted an NCAA Regional. But three starters were lost from that squad and talented returnee Walter Williams is out indefinitely with a leg injury.
Wiggins’ arrival was well timed.
Stepping in as a senior, Wiggins has accepted a role of leadership on an otherwise young Trojans outfit.
“Being older (22), coming from a Division I program, having played in NCAAs, I’m expected to be a leader,” Wiggins said. “I think (teammates) look for me to do more.”
So far, Wiggins has been all VSU could ask for and more. A little home cooking can go a long way.