In a period of just a few months, Candice Wiggins went from breaking the Pac-10 career scoring record to leading Stanford to an NCAA runner-up finish to receiving the Wade Trophy Player of the Year.

Then, no sooner than the college basketball season ended, the WNBA season began. Wiggins was the third overall draft pick by the Minnesota Lynx and is averaging 16.4 points a game as a rookie, including being name the league’s Rookie of the Month for June.

As the season progressed, she was a strong candidate for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing as a member of the U.S. Women’s basketball team.

Oh, and somewhere along the line she found time to walk in Stanford’s graduation ceremonies.

So after that whirlwind of events, what does Wiggins do after she isn’t picked and suddenly has some time off while the WNBA takes a break for the Olympics?

She comes home to San Diego to put on a basketball camp at her alma mater, La Jolla Country Day.

What about a trip to Hawaii to relax in paradise?

“San Diego is paradise for me,” Wiggins said.

The Candice Wiggins Basketball Camp is Aug. 1-3 for boys and girls from ages 6 to 17 at LJCD. The camp (for more information call 619-850-6226) was put together quickly once Wiggins realized she had time for a trip home.

“This is huge for me,” Wiggins said. “I have to really thank Coach

(Terri) Bamford — I guess I can call her Terri now — and Lindsay (Kagawa, her agent) to help set up the camp. I went to so many camps when I grew up. Now that I’m in position to do this, I want to be able to give back.”

Not even an injury, a back contusion suffered July 24 in a game at the Indiana Fever, was reason for her to take some time off.

If I know Wiggins, this is only the beginning. Since she was a high school All-American at LJCD, she has said if she gains a platform as a prominent athlete, she plans to use it to help others.

Wiggins is the daughter of the late Alan Wiggins, the catalyst of the Padres’ 1984 National League championship team as a second baseman and leadoff batter.

Her father’s struggle with drugs and death from AIDS-related symptoms has motivated her to launch an anti-drug program at the appropriate time. Wiggins was too young to remember much about her father when he died, but she takes great joy from encountering Padres fans that tell her stories about him.

Although Wiggins would like to be preparing to leave for Beijing, she didn’t second guess the selection committee for the final three spots named earlier this month.

“I knew they were going to pick the best team, and I think they did,”

Wiggins said. “I’m still young, and I look forward to the chance to represent my country in the future.”

The Olympics can wait, but a basketball camp back home can’t.


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