Melo Trimble and Dion Wiley have never faced each other. They were supposed to last summer, but an injury kept Wiley sidelined. Before long, the two local sharpshooters will arrive in College Park, one-half of the Maryland basketball team’s hyped recruiting lass of 2014.
This weekend, at the Tobacco Warehouse just beyond the Brooklyn Bridge on the shores of the East River, Wiley and Trimble will square off for the first time as participants in the Under Armour Elite 24 all-star game, broadcast Saturday on ESPNU. Seven players have orally committed to colleges. Two, Wiley and Trimble, are headed to Maryland.
“We’ve never played each other, but I think it’ll be fun,” Wiley said in a telephone interview. “Tomorrow, we’re competing against each other too” in Friday’s three-point shooting contest.
Trimble’s Team Coney Island is coached by former NBA player Mario Elie. Local playground star and former NBA player Pearl Washington guides Wiley and Team Bed-Stuy.
They arrived Wednesday, but Trimble said the players haven’t toured the Big Apple much.
“Too many people out here,” he said. “I’m a chill person, so I like to be spaced out. I’d only come to the city on weekends, not live in a place like this.”
Reached Thursday evening, hours after Maryland received a commitment from Georgia center Trayvon Reed, both Trimble and Wiley expressed enthusiasm over the big man, who rounds out the class of 2014 as a shot-blocking rim protector, brought into to complement the outside game of Trimble, Wiley and Pennsylvania swingman Jared Nickens.
“It’s good news,” Trimble said. “A 7-2 center, that’s pretty good. He’s going to help us a lot. I haven’t met him, but I’ve seen him play a couple times. He’s tall. Long.”
“I think it was great news,” Wiley said, upping the adjective slightly. “We got a defender, a 7-footer, he needs to develop more offensively, but I think our recruiting class so far is good.”
Before Reed, ranked a top-75 player by many recruiting services, committed on his official visit Thursday morning, Coach Mark Turgeon had assembled a group ranked third nationally. With nine of ESPN.com’s top 12 still uncommitted, Maryland might slide down, but a top-10 finish is well within reach.
The question now becomes whether the Terrapins put a cherry on top. Before Reed committed, they had aggressively pursued Riverdale Baptist center Chinanu Onuaku. Local power forward Martin Geben and North Carolina forward Gary Clark were also in the mix for Maryland, which appeared to hedge against future attrition by recruiting a currently unavailable fifth scholarship. Now, in light of Reed’s pledge, will Maryland keep going after Onuaku?
“I don’t know if they’ll bring in a fifth guy, but if they did, I hope that Chinanu would come,” Wiley said. The Potomac guard texted with Onuaku after Reed committed, and the center replied, “I guess they don’t need me anymore.” Wiley insisted Onuaku was joking around.
If the Terps indeed want Onuaku , a DC Assault teammate of Trimble who recently received an offer from Louisville, they can seek help from the players themselves.
“It’s up to him,” Trimble said. “If someone talked to him, like me or Dion or one of the players who’s already at Maryland, he’ll understand that Maryland is still considering him.”