Mark Turgeon

Report: 2014 shooting guard Dion Wiley commits to Maryland

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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.

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.