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.

Missouri lands No. 1 player in Class of 2017 as Michael Porter Jr. commits

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Missouri and new head coach Cuonzo Martin have landed the No. 1 player in the Class of 2017 a week after he took the job as forward Michael Porter Jr. committed to the Tigers on Friday.

Formerly a Washington commit under now-fired head coach Lorenzo Romar, the 6-foot-9 Porter was released from his Letter of Intent this week and many believed he’d end up back at Missouri.

The Porter family lived in Columbia for many years as two of Michael’s older sisters play for the Missouri women’s team while Michael Porter Sr. was an assistant coach for the women’s team.

When Porter Sr. was hired to Missouri to be an assistant coach on Martin’s staff this week — after losing his assistant coaching job at Washington when Romar was fired — it all but sealed the deal that the Porters would return to Missouri and Michael Jr. would play for the Tigers.

Missouri might not be an NCAA Tournament team next season after struggling to an 8-24 finish and 2-16 record in the SEC. But Porter might be the most productive freshman entering college basketball next season as he has a chance to be dominant in the SEC.

Oklahoma State promotes assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach

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Oklahoma State has decided to promote assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach, the school announced on Friday.

Boynton was an assistant with the Cowboys under former head coach Brad Underwood, who left Oklahoma State to take the Illinois job last weekend. Also an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin, South Carolina, Wofford and Coastal Carolina, Boynton is a native of New York City who played his college ball for the Gamecocks.

The hire of Boynton is surprising since he doesn’t have any head-coaching experience as it follows in the footsteps of Cal promoting assistant coach Wyking Jones earlier in the day. Boynton also notably won the job over broadcaster and former Oklahoma State guard Doug Gottlieb as Gottlieb interviewed for the job but wasn’t selected.

 

Rhode Island junior E.C. Matthews will return to school

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Rhode Island junior guard E.C. Matthews will return to school for his redshirt senior season, the school announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-5 Matthews led the Rams in scoring at 14.9 points per game this past season as he returned from a torn ACL and helped Rhode Island reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.

Besides for being a talented scorer, Matthews is a good overall playmaker for the Rams as he also put up 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

With Matthews returning, it gives head coach Dan Hurley a huge weapon for next season as Rhode Island returns everyone besides the senior front court of Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson.

Cal promotes assistant Wyking Jones to head coach

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Cal will promote interim head coach and former assistant coach Wyking Jones to head coach, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The story was first reported by Jon Rothstein of FanRagSports.com

A native of Inglewood, California, Jones has been an assistant coach for the Golden Bears for the past two seasons as he replaces former head coach Cuonzo Martin, who departed to take the Missouri job. This promotion comes as a bit of a surprise for some since Jones has never been a head coach at the Division I level.

Jones has spent 15 years as an assistant coach at the Division I level at places like Cal, Louisville, New Mexico, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount — where Jones spent his playing career.

Helping Louisville to the Final Four in 2013, Jones is a respected coach and recruiter who gets a great opportunity for his first head coaching job at the Division I level with Cal.

The Golden Bears made the NCAA tournament last year but finished 21-13 this season as they missed making the field of 68. Sophomore big man Ivan Rabb has already declared for the NBA Draft and it will be interesting to see what kind of roster Jones gets to work with right away.

One of the reasons Jones might have been retained is to help Cal keep its solid five-man recruiting class from bolting. While the Golden Bears don’t have any five-star talents coming in, it is a solid foundation for the program’s future led by a four-star guard in Jemarl Baker.

Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac declares for 2017 NBA Draft

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Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac has declared for the 2017 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-10 Isaac was a five-star prospect out of high school as he averaged 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. One of the most versatile defenders in the country, Isaac could protect the rim (1.5 blocks per game) and also switch out to the perimeter and cover smaller wings as well (1.2 steals per game). Also showing a solid skill level, Isaac shot 50 percent from the field, 34 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the free-throw line.

That kind of versatility is what Isaac is banking on in the NBA Draft as he’s expected to be a top-15 pick. If Isaac can prove that he’s a reliable perimeter shooter then teams could be intrigued by him as a matchup nightmare in the front court.