With Dion Wiley committed, Terps pressing hard for Team Takeover teammate Phil Booth


Dion Wiley is on board. Maryland wants Phil Booth to be next. (Washington Post)

Shortly after Dion Wiley orally pledged his commitment to the Maryland basketball team early Friday morning, fellow Team Takeover guard Phil Booth found his cellphone buzzing with a text message from Terps assistant Bino Ranson.

“All we have to do is bring in you,” Booth recalled Ranson saying.

Even with Wiley’s commitment, which alongside Romelo Trimble gives Maryland two hot shooters for its class of 2014, Coach Mark Turgeon and his assistants seem unwavering in their dedication to bringing Booth to College Park, too, even if would create an anticipated back-court logjam of similarly capable guards.

As is, the Terps are projected to have six guards on scholarship for the 2014-15 season, including Wiley, Trimble, current incoming freshman Roddy Peters and Seth Allen. Barring any early NBA entry or attrition, Dez Wells and Nick Faust will be seniors that season, not to mention perimeter weapons Evan Smotrycz and Jake Layman.

So maybe adding Booth isn’t realistic or even feasible at this stage, but the Terps are all-in on this approach, even with plenty of lengthier options still available on the open market.

“I don’t know what that means,” Booth said, upon hearing that some expected Wiley’s commitment would close the door for Booth. “There’s still a good chance of me going to Maryland. I don’t think that affected my decisions.”

Ranson talked with Booth about coming back to visit and watch the current Terps practice this summer, though he’s already taken two unofficial visits to Maryland. From “Day One” of his recruitment, Turgeon opened the Comcast Center doors to Booth, saying he would be welcome at anytime.

Ideally, it seems, the Terps would assemble a relatively small yet hyper-talented back court for its class of 2014, playing toward Trimble’s, Wiley’s and Booth’s strengths as extremely accurate shooters. Booth, who averages 12.2 points on 48.3 percent three-point shooting in 17 games for Team Takeover this summer, said he and Wiley have a “very good” on-court relationship, especially on kick-outs in transition.

“We know where each other is going to be,” Booth said. “We play off each other very well. I give him a pass, and he drains the shot, or vice versa. We’re very good on the fast break with each other.”

But it’s not really a question of whether Maryland projects Booth and Wiley together at the next level. Since Wiley committed, the ball falls into Booth’s court. He hasn’t set a date yet, but will visit Villanova soon; his trip there last week got canceled. Georgetown and Indiana also have offers out, per 247sports.com, while Ohio State has shown strong interest.

Wiley figures to do his part, texting Booth days ago about playing together. “He’s got something up his sleeve,” Booth said. “I know where he’s going, but no matter where he’s going, I don’t think it affected me too much. It’s good for him.”

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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Alex Prewitt · June 7, 2013

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