The No. 13 Potomac (Md.) Wolverines might wish they’d been able to knock off No. 2 St. John’s in their meeting in early December. Guard Dion Wiley wishes he’d been able to play at full strength in his team’s six-point loss to then-No. 5 O’Connelll. Coach Renard Johnson and his team likely wish they’d hit a few more free throws and executed a little more precisely in a four-point loss to league rival Largo last week. But consider the fact that the Wolverines are 8-3 overall and second in the Prince George’s County 3A/2A/1A standings despite being without a full-strength Wiley for a week, and you’ll understand why no one in the Potomac gym seemed too concerned about the Wolverines’ fortunes.
In the wake of that loss to Largo, Johnson ran his team all over the Potomac High School gym, doing sprints and a handful of those pesky drills so beloved by basketball players that are created by coaches aiming to make players forget they’re running by making them pass or dribble a ball while they do it.
Every once in a while, Johnson would chase down a player and tell him to run harder, lest the team have to go again. But as he stood on the sideline he couldn’t help but break a smile as he looked back on his team’s development.
“I like what [Smith and Broddie] did — they both picked up the slack for me when I was hurt,” Wiley said. “I liked how they held their own when I was hurt and out.”
Neither player slowed his pace much when Wiley returned: Broddie’s averaged more than 16 points in three games with the Maryland commit back in the backcourt.
“It’s great [playing with Dion],” Broddie said. “It’s easy playing with a shooter because you become comfortable with their stats and where they want the ball. Dion's like a big brother to me. Of course he's going to Maryland, so he gives me a lot of advice.”
Wiley and Broddie have been complemented by the emergence of Smith inside. Smith, who boasts a knack for finishing in heavy paint traffic, has scored 20 or more points in five of the Wolverines’ 11 games, and is averaging just fewer than 17 points per game.
“Man, I’ve watched [him] develop on his own over the summer,” Broddie said. “I knew he was [going to] come in this year and make noise. I hope he keeps it up so everyone can see.”
Broddie, Smith, Wiley and the rest will get their chance for revenge against post power Abdulai Bundu and Largo (9-1, 7-0) later this month. For now, Broddie says he and his teammates feel good knowing they “haven’t reached their peak,” a peak Wiley believes is high.
“I think we’re going to progress more this season than last year,” Wiley said of a 2012-13 team that didn’t lose its third game until Feb. 20. “We’re working hard, we’re going to be fine.”