In the middle of the school day Wednesday, the Potomac boys’ basketball team and a few other Potomac athletic standouts headed to the school’s gym. They filled a few rows on the bleachers, sitting behind a few AAU coaches and family members with artistic programs in their hands, in a gym decorated with blue and gold balloons, and a table in the middle with a basketball and an algebra book displayed on it.
Then 6-foot-4 All-Met guard Dion Wiley entered the room. This was all for him, the kind of ceremony schools around the country increasingly hold when their senior athletes sign National Letters-of-Intent.
It wasn’t Da’Shawn Hand’s super-sized version, a process of “The Decision” type proportions broadcast on national televisionThursday, the subject of pre-ceremony online polls and a trending topic for Twitter commentators. But you can bet there was as much pride in the Potomac High School gym as in any gym for any such ceremony around the country this year when Wiley made his commitment to the University of Maryland official.
Wiley is the exception to an unspoken Prince George’s County rule. He’s the superb basketball talent that opted not to take that talent elsewhere. School administrators spoke to Wiley’s character, an “unselfish,” “unassuming” kid who they said proved public school could get you anywhere private schools could, and pointed him out as a product of what the “Potomac family” could give a student-athlete if he or she gave them the chance.
Everyone that spoke broke into tears, and you couldn’t help but feel like this day was as much for everyone in that “Potomac family” as it was for Wiley, himself.
Moments of pride like those at Wiley’s signing will play out again and again in the coming weeks, as the NCAA’s early signing period began this week. Here’s what you missed, or are about to miss, in the realm of DC-area signings this week:
— Also on Wednesday, Christ Chapel’s Stephen Brown signed to play at Bucknell, becoming the first Division I athlete in tiny Christ Chapel’s history.
— St. John’s held its signing ceremony Thursday. Tre Campbell (Georgetown), James Palmer (Miami), Darian Bryant (George Washington), Mike Morsell (Towson), Darian Anderson (Fairleigh Dickinson) and James Mitchell (St. Thomas Aquinas) all made their choices official.
–Clinton Christian will hold a signing ceremony for Byron Hawkins, who is committed to Towson, during its midnight madness event at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
–Bullis center Andre Walker signed with Hoftstra on Wednesday.
–Paul VI senior All-Met forward Ariana Freeman signed with Louisville’s girls’ basketball program.
Here are some photos from the various signing day ceremonies this week:
NUMBER CRUNCH: 9
The number of major Division I scholarship offers received by Dion Wiley. In addition to Maryland, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Miami, North Carolina State, Rutgers, Texas, Virginia and Virginia Tech all pursued the sharp-shooting guard.
— In case you (somehow) missed Da’Shawn Hand’s decision yesterday, see which school the nation’s top-ranked recruit chose and why
— Groundbreaking female head football coach Natalie Randolph stepped down from that position at Coolidge this week after four years leading the Colts
— Oral commitments just aren’t what they used to be: a story from Brandon Parker about why nothing’s official until pen touches National Letter-of-Intent paper
PHOTOS FROM LAST NIGHT:
Sheridan Street’s second-half goal gave River Hill its second straight Maryland 3A girls’ soccer championship. Check out these photos from the match.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
It’s Friday, and playoff football begins tonight. Check out these previews from three of the weekend’s most intriguing matchups.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Playoff football begins Friday night at 7 p.m. in Maryland and Virginia, and you can bet Allmetsports.com will have all the details. If you’re planning to check out some of the evening’s best game’s, here are a few suggestions:
— Robinson at Patriot, 7:30 pm.
— Damascus at Urbana, 7 pm
— Gaithersburg at Northwest, 7 pm
— Arundel at Old Mill, 7 pm
— Chantilly at Lake Braddock, 7:30 pm
— Battlefield at Langley, 7:30 pm