There may have been questions about how Maryland’s move to the Big Ten would affect the program when it came to local recruits. If the last two commitments picked up by head coach Mark Turgeon are any indication, the Terrapins could be in good shape.
After landing point guard Romelo Trimble in December, Coach Turgeon and his staff have reeled in 6-3 shooting guard Dion Wiley according to InsideMDSports.com.
Wiley’s a Top 50 prospect from Oxon Hill, Md., and he chose the Terrapins over high-major schools such as Florida, Georgetown, Indiana and N.C. State according to the report.
With the addition of Wiley Maryland has now landed players from both D.C. Assault (Trimble) and Team Takeover (Wiley), two of the best grassroots programs in the area.
Turgeon broke Maryland’s extended drought with one local AAU power, D.C. Assault, by snagging [Roddy] Peters and Trimble. Wiley, meanwhile, is the Terps’ first recruit from the other – Team Takeover. The state’s flagship basketball program hasn’t enjoyed such success recruiting its talent-laden home territory in years, a local groundswell not lost on Wiley.
“I think it was [a factor]. They’re really trying to keep local guys locked down and letting these guys know about everything that Maryland has to offer. They’re still Maryland, and they’re getting back to where they were,” Broach said. ”It’s one of the best schools in the country. One experience he had was, when he went to the Maryland Duke game and Maryland won, that was an experience that compared to nothing else.”
With young players such as Peters, Trimble and now Wiley on board (not to mention Seth Allen and Nick Faust), Maryland won’t lack for perimeter talent when they enter the Big Ten in 2014. And with the move to a league that isn’t exactly in Maryland’s backyard from a geographical standpoint, winning recruiting battles for the top local talent becomes even more important for Turgeon.
One of the issues Maryland ran into late in the Gary Williams era was the rising influence of grassroots programs on the recruiting process, which famously led to the recruiting brouhaha involving Rudy Gay.
“The last five or six years, I would say that was the dramatic change,” Williams said in a Washington Post article in 2009. “With the change in the AAU has come incredible influence over the player, even the players with parents there. The AAU in the last five years has gained a phenomenal foothold with a lot of families in terms of directing their kid where he winds up going to school.”
If Maryland is to have success in the Big Ten, the strength of its relationships with local recruits will be critical. Landing Trimble and now Wiley is certainly a step in the right direction.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.