The cellphone rang early, at around 8:15 a.m., by no means an unusual occurrence for Maryland men’s basketball Coach Mark Turgeon. Except this call, made by Potomac (Md.) shooting guard Dion Wiley, represented another milestone in Turgeon’s quest to secure top local talent.
Wiley had known for days he would orally commit to the Terrapins, but waited until Friday morning to make it official. A heralded shooting guard recruit, Wiley picked Maryland from among a star-studded roster of suitors, including Miami, Florida, Georgetown and Indiana, after a lengthy courtship process that included numerous visits from Turgeon.
“Someone told me if the head coach isn’t after you, you don’t really mean that much to them,” Wiley said. “Coach Turgeon has been on me since day one my 10th-grade year. . . . I really did this because I feel comfortable.”
The significance of Wiley’s commitment weighs heavy for several reasons. As of Friday, the Terps had locked down the top-ranked Class of 2014 players from two local states, Virginia and Maryland, after Bishop O’Connell combo guard Romelo Trimble pledged his commitment last December.
Wiley is averaging a team-high 14.1 points per game this summer for Team Takeover, the nation’s top-seeded AAU squad entering the EYBL Peach Jam. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Wiley is also shooting a blistering 48.1 percent from three-point range, and when paired with Trimble is expected to bring some perimeter firepower to College Park. As a junior for the Wolverines last winter, Wiley averaged 17.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.4 assists and led Potomac to 22 wins and a berth in the Maryland 3A title game. He was named a first-team All-Met.
Scoring the top prospect from both Team Takeover (Wiley) and DC Assault (Trimble) marks a colossal recruiting landmark in Turgeon’s short tenure, entering its third year. Keeping assistant coach Bino Ranson, a Baltimore-area recruiting guru, and adding DC Assault alumnus Dalonte Hill to his coaching staff represented a concentrated effort to keep area prospects at home, but Wiley’s commitment was primarily Turgeon’s doing. Potomac Coach Renard Johnson said Turgeon attended at least a half-dozen Potomac games and regularly spoke with Wiley each weekend.
The most recent call made official what Wiley had known for days.
“Coach Turgeon was one of the first coaches to come after Dion. I guess that really impressed Dion,” said Mike Gray, Wiley’s longtime mentor and AAU coach with the Maryland Ruff Riders. “It wasn’t like a beating him across the head, calling him everyday type thing. It’s just that Coach Turgeon seemed to impress him. He took a liking to him, and felt like it would be a good fit if he went there, that Coach Turgeon and his staff would take care of him.”
Wiley’s commitment was several years in the making. His smooth shooting stroke and diverse skill-set, which has him rated by ESPN.com as a five-star prospect and the third-best shooting guard nationally in the class of 2014, dates back even further. Wiley first joined the Ruff Riders organization around age 7, and could already execute a deadly crossover once Gray found him three years later. “To watch him,” Gray said, “was a thing of beauty.”
Wiley will join an already loaded and electric Maryland back court once he arrives next summer, one that projects to include speedster Seth Allen, five-star point guard Roddy Peters and Trimble. Barring any attrition, NBA draft or otherwise, the Terps will also have Nick Faust and Dez Wells as seniors during the 2014-15 season.
But even without the unmistakable allure of playing with those big names, Wiley’s commitment was inevitable given Turgeon’s full-court press.
“The biggest factor is the way they recruited me,” said Wiley, who can’t sign his letter-of-intent until the early signing period begins on Nov. 14. “They let me know that I can come in as a freshman and make an impact.”