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Wiggins uses court as canvas to create art

Pictured, from left, are Kim, Eden and Maria Wiggins. (Steve Notz Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

“An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.” — James McNeill Whistler

Eden Wiggins handles the ball against Roswell in a cross-town rivalry at Ground Zero on Jan. 26. (Steve Notz Photo)

Goddard’s Grace Shea grabs a rebound and throws a crisp outlet pass to her teammate Bailey Beene. Beene dribbles full-court and is stopped by a Deming defender. Without looking, Beene quickly snaps a pass to her left on the wing. Eden Wiggins catches the ball and in one step, takes a jumper behind the three-point line. In a matter of seconds, the referee raises both hands to indicate the shot was good.

This season is so different for Wiggins than it was last. Wiggins always had the big-time game, but she was playing behind All-State guards and a team that won the Blue Trophy, after only averaging 1.8 points per game last season, she is poised for a season of memories.

Wiggins felt like going against Katherine and Micaela Kolker. Playing against Desi Flores, Victoria Dennis and Lara Carrica in practice allowed her to get better this season.

By going against those players in practice, it inspired her to work harder on her game and defense. When she went against the Kolkers, it made her learn how to move her feet, stop penetration and work on her fundamentals.

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“After losing all of those seniors last year,” Goddard coach Jared Neighbors said, “we knew we needed someone to step up, and she was the obvious choice. We believed that it could be her, and we added more responsibility to her defense and assists.”

Coach Neighbors felt like he was onto something with Wiggins when he called on her to play big minutes against Roswell and Los Lunas in the final four at state. Neighbors liked that she played excellent defense and gave the starters a rest when they needed it.

“This year is really different,” Eden Wiggins said. “We have to take on our own roles. Coach talks about how it’s important to take on what we need to to help the team. Last year, my role was on defense, I had to stop penetration, and I had to do what I could when I was on the bench. This year, since we lost so many players, I had to take it upon myself to change my role and shoot more.”

Wiggins has worked hard to transform her game from the defensive wizard and ball distributor to become a member counted on to score. The Lady Rockets need her three-point shooting as much as they do points from All-Stater Beene and Camarynn Villalpando. Wiggins is not just a three-point shooter, she can put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket. She is third on the team in scoring, averaging 12.2 points a game.

Beene and Wiggins are the only players from last year’s state championship team that did not play volleyball this season. By not playing it allowed them to work with coach Neighbors on their outside shot and game.

When Wiggins is on the court, one cannot help noticing the tattoo on her left arm. It is a tattoo of a sunflower and a butterfly.

“The sunflower is for my dad,” Eden Wiggins said. “His paintings have a lot of sunflowers in them, so it kind of reminds me of him. The monarch butterfly is my mom, so it is always looking down on my mom and dad on my shoulder.”

After she is done playing basketball, Wiggins wants to go to art school and become a tattoo artist and own her own shop. She wants to be a coverup tattoo artist for self-harm scars and post-mastectomy scars from breast cancer, and for people that have burned scars.

Eden almost quit her freshman year, but her determination and work ethic made the difference as she gradually got better each year. Now, she is a co-captain along with Villalpando.

“She has worked hard to get better,” Neighbors said. “To know that she almost quit as a freshman and to see where she is now, I couldn’t be happier or prouder of her. She deserves everything she has gotten and will get this year. She has worked hard on her game.”

Her father, Kim Wiggins, is a renowned painter and works as an artist. Kim Wiggins has Manitou Galleries handle his paintings in Santa Fe. Maybe Eden gets her work ethic from her father. Kim Wiggins is a self-taught artist and a man of faith.

Kim Wiggins remembers trying to break into the art world in Santa Fe and making a living just as an artist. He felt like there were other artists that were more talented and better than him. They lacked one thing: drive or the strength within to keep going. Kim Wiggins feels like it is easy for an artist to get discouraged if things don’t go well at first.

To illustrate his point, he recalled losing a job in which he was using to pay bills. He decided one day to load his car up with art and drive to Lubbock, Texas, and go knock on doors and tell people he was a young struggling artist trying to make a living, and would they be interested in looking at some of his art.

It was the 50the door he knocked on that a little old lady remarked about how tired he looked and invited him in for some iced tea. The lady told him to bring some of his paintings in and picked out a small painting of a church he did in Roswell (a snow scene). The lady bought the painting for $500. Wiggins thanked God because it helped him pay bills that month.

“If you want to make it as an artist,” Kim Wiggins said, “you have to have faith that God is going to open the doors and don’t allow yourself to get discouraged. Try to surround yourself with people who are encouraging and don’t quit.”

Kim Wiggins has taught his daughter work ethic and to never give up, that God will give you enough for each step you take. One of his favorite quotes is, “The artist is nothing without the gift,” Emile Zola said, “but the gift is nothing without work.”

Eden has memories that will last a lifetime, played on a state championship team, and is having a great senior year, all because she did not quit.

“My best memory is winning the Blue Trophy,” Eden said. “I accomplished it with my team and my real family.”

Wiggins creates art every time she steps onto the court.

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