Maryland freshman looking to use summer trip as springboard into 2014-15

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Unlike his fellow freshman teammates at Maryland, 6-foot-5 guard Dion Wiley was able to work a trip to Europe into his summer plans. Wiley was part of a team made up of college players that played six games in Europe last month, and the experience proved to be a productive one for him. Wiley, who’s been praised for his ability to shoot the basketball, averaged 15 points per game on a trip that saw the team finish with a record of four wins and two losses.

In a story written by Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun, Siena assistant coach Greg Manning (who was the head coach on the trip) had some nice things to say about Wiley’s skill level and feel for the game.

“For a kid who hasn’t played and hasn’t been coached much yet on the college level, he has a feel for the game,” Manning said. “When our point guard would drive, he [Wiley] would move without the ball pretty well.

“He shot off the catch, off the dribble he struggled a little bit from 3 and he’s not exactly ready to come off screens and catch and fire because of his footwork, but off the catch he was knocking them down.”

With Wiley, point guard Romelo Trimble and shooting guards Jared Nickens and Richaud Pack joining the perimeter rotation led by Dez Wells and Jake Layman, Mark Turgeon’s team shouldn’t lack for offensive options in their first season as a member of the Big Ten. With that being the case defense will be the key, and for a player like Wiley effort on that end of the floor could very well determine the amount of playing time he receives.

Last season defense was an issue for Maryland, as they ranked ninth in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (41.7%) and eleventh in three-point percentage defense (34.1%). Maryland would have been ranked slightly higher in those areas had they been a member of the Big Ten last season, with the field goal percentage defense slotting into seventh in the conference and three-point percentage defense ranking ninth.

Yet even with that being the case, Maryland will need to improve on that end of the floor. And the need to perform well defensively is something Wiley made note of when watching the Terrapins play during his senior year in high school.

Wiley said that he learned how difficult the adjustment can be watching close friend Roddy Peters struggle as a freshman. Despite an early-season injury to starting point guard Seth Allen, Peters played sparingly the first few games because he wasn’t play hard enough on the defensive end. Peters transferred to South Florida after his freshman year.

“It really motivated me to play defense more and put more pride in my defense,” Wiley said. “That’s one of the main reasons he wasn’t playing last year.”

There’s little doubt that Wiley can put points on the board, and it’s an attribute that should help Maryland this upcoming season. But he’ll also need to prove his worth on the other end of the floor, and that seems to be understood at this point in time.