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.

Old Dominion lands former four-star center

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Elbert Robinson came out of high school in 2014 as a borderline top-50 recruit with offers from the likes of Florida, Kansas and Louisville before he ultimately chose to attend LSU.

The 7-foot-1 center, though, never even averaged 10 minutes a game in Baton Rouge and now will be finishing his career as a graduate transfer at Old Dominion, according to multiple reports.

“Old Dominion was perfect for him,” Lawrence Johns, Robinson’s grassroots coach, told the Virginian-Pilot. “I know for a fact that nobody in (Conference USA) is over 7 feet.

“I told him to go there and show people why he was the No. 1 center the year he came out.”

Robinson, who sat out last year for medical reasons, could step right into a major role with the Monarchs, who lost their starting frontcourt this offseason. He averaged 2.1 points and 1.4 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game last year for the Tigers.

VIDEO: Mixtape for North Carolina-bound Nassir Little

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Nassir Little is one of the most improved players in the high school basketball ranks, going from being a guy that was a borderline five-star prospect to being a potential No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and athleticism to burn, he has all the makings of being one of the switchable wing defenders that are en vogue in the modern era of the NBA.

Former UNC star Phil Ford has surgery for prostate cancer

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina says former point guard Phil Ford has had surgery for prostate cancer.

Team spokesman Steve Kirschner said Wednesday that Ford underwent the procedure Tuesday after he was diagnosed during his annual physical. Dr. Eric Wallen, the UNC physician who is treating Ford, says the cancer was caught early because Ford “has been proactive regarding his health.”

Ford played for Dean Smith in the 1970s and scored 2,290 points, a mark that stood as the school record until Tyler Hansbrough broke it in 2008. Ford also spent 12 seasons as an assistant to Smith after a seven-year NBA career in which he was the rookie of the year in 1979.

Bruce Pearl: ‘Good chance’ Auburn returns four players testing the waters

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Bruce Pearl told reporters on Monday that there is a “good chance” that his Auburn program will return all four of the players that are currently testing the waters of the NBA draft.

“I think there’s a good chance they’re all going to consider coming back,” Pearl said. “There’s a chance they’re all going to come back, but that’s been the case since the beginning.”

“I just feel as we get closer to the deadline and they gather more and more information, I think that chance improves. It would not surprise me, still, to see a couple of them stay in.”

Those four players are Mustapha Heron, Austin Wiley, Bryce Brown and Jared Harper. Brown was the leading scorer for the Tigers last season, while Heron was arguably their best player and Harper a steady floor general that is the piece that holds everything together. Wiley did not play after he was ruled ineligible as a result of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball. If he returns he will be eligible to play the 2018-19 season.

Heron will be the most interesting decision of the four. A former McDonald’s All-American, when he declared for the draft last month, he announced that he intended to sign with an agent. But he has told reporters in the last week that he never actually signed and is still “50-50” on whether or not he will return. He was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week. Wiley was, but he did not make enough of an impression to earn himself a first round guarantee. Brown and Harper are very unlikely to be drafted, but both juniors will get feedback from NBA teams on what they might need to do to play their way into the league.

Auburn is coming off of a year where they shared the SEC regular season title with Tennessee, but they struggled down the stretch of the season after Anfernee McLemore suffered a gruesome ankle injury. As it stands, under the assumption that Heron and Wiley are gone, we currently have the Tigers ranked as a top 15 team in the country in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25.

With Heron and Wiley back, however, Auburn will have the pieces to make a case as one of college basketball’s five best teams next season.

Forward Lance Thomas transferring from Louisville

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With Anas Mahmoud out of eligibility and Ray Spalding having made the decision to enter the 2018 NBA Draft, new Louisville head coach Chris Mack had some holes to fill in the front court ahead of his first season at the helm. There’s now another departure to account for, as it was announced Tuesday afternoon that 6-foot-8 forward Lance Thomas has decided to transfer.

Thomas, who will have three seasons of eligibility remaining at his next school, appeared in 12 games for the Cardinals last season and averaged 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in 4.2 minutes per game.

Losing Thomas may not appear to be a big deal based upon his production as a freshman. But, given the combination of player departures and misses on the recruiting trail this spring it can also be argued that Louisville is not in a position where it can afford any more personnel losses.

Louisville is now down to four scholarship players in the front court, wings V.J. King and Jordan Nwora and forwards Malik Williams and Steven Enoch, with Enoch eligible after sitting out last season after transferring in from UConn.

Williams made 12 starts as a freshman, averaging 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game, with King averaging 8.6 points per game and Nwora 5.7 points per game. Enoch played in 29 games at UConn during the 2016-17 season, averaging 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per appearance.