Dion Wiley’s weekend at Peach Jam a good sign for Maryland

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Despite winning 25 games last season, perimeter play was an issue for the Maryland Terrapins in 2012-13. Of course there’s the highly discussed point guard situation, with Seth Allen, Nick Faust and the now departed Pe’Shon Howard all getting a shot at running the show.

In addition to the inconsistency at the point, Maryland also had to deal with spotty perimeter shooting. As a team the Terrapins shot 33.9% from beyond the arc, ranking ninth in the ACC in that category. It’s safe to say that improving their production in the backcourt has been a priority of sorts for head coach Mark Turgeon and his staff.

There’s hope that the three-member 2014 class that Maryland’s already received verbal commitments from, Jared Nickens, Romelo Trimble and Dion Wiley, will help address these issues as the Terps make their move into the Big Ten.

And from a shooting standpoint, Wiley’s skills were on full display at the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam in N. Augusta, S.C. this weekend.

Wiley, a native Oxon Hill, Md., knocked down 18 of his 35 attempts from beyond the arc for Team Takeover this weekend. Wiley finished tied with Boo Williams (Va.) guard Robert Johnson for most made three-pointers at Peach Jam, and his 51.4% shooting for deep ranked third in the event.

As for what he believes Maryland needs to add to its 2014 recruiting haul, Wiley’s response to CSN Washington’s Daniel Martin reveals that he’s on the same page with much of the Terrapin fan base.

“Now we need a big,” Wiley says, looking ahead to what Maryland could do for the remainder of 2014. “We know that we can do our job outside, but we need a guy inside.”

For the Terrapins, that means one of three major targets: Trayvon Reed of Georgia, Chinanu Onuaku of Maryland, or Goodluck Okonoboh of Massachusetts.

Maryland has four expected contributors in its front court who will have eligibility remaining come 2014: Evan Smotrycz, Shaquille Cleare, Charles Mitchell and Damontre Dodd, but there’s still a basic need for depth.

Who else Turgeon and his staff are able to add to the program remains to be seen, but the three verbal commits already on board are a very good start for Maryland as they prepare for their new surroundings.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Sun Belt approves new scheduling format

Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference
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With an 11-member setup the Sun Belt Conference has played a 20-game conference schedule the last couple of years, which may be seen as a positive when it comes to determining the regular season champion (home-and-home between every team). But for a conference that spans from North Carolina (Appalachian State) to Texas (UT-Arlington, Texas State) travel was far from easy in that setup.

And with Coastal Carolina joining next season, it was clear that the league needed to do something with its scheduling.

Thursday the Sun Belt members approved an 18-game conference schedule, which will begin with the 2016-17 season when the league consists of 12 members. Included in the agreement is the assignment of travel partners (similar to setups in the Pac-12 and Ivy League), and teams playing no more than three consecutive conference games on the road.

Schools will also be guaranteed at least five weekend home games during conference play, and there will be no more weekends in which teams play conference games both home and away (thus cutting down on travel). Obviously with the addition of Coastal Carolina the Sun Belt needed to make some changes in their scheduling, and this week the conference made the moves they needed to make.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.