Background: At the DMV Tip Off Classic Maryland pledge Dion Wiley went head-to-head with another fellow future Terrapin in Romelo Trimble. Wiley and his Oxon Hill (Md) Potomac squad lost, and Wiley showed some room for growth going forward.
On Offense: This is typically where Wiley is a standout. He is both a shooter and a scorer. Wiley usually can hit from deep with his jumper or use his strength, solid ball handling, and good athleticism to get to the rim and finish using the drive. However in the game you could tell he was really struggling.
Wiley was noticeably bigger, and will have to drop some weight before getting to college, and that seemed to slow him down a little bit. Also he was battling a bit of a sprained ankle that limited him some, especially in the second half.
Because of his added weight, Wiley wasn't as quick to the rim or as explosive. He still had some of his drives where he finished through contact and also in the mid-range, but that same explosion to dunk on a defender or having a lightning first step wasn't there with Wiley in this one.
Also he did knock in a few jumpers, and typically that is what he does as well as any player, but it didn't seem like he was ever completely comfortable with his base, and therefore didn't launch as many shots as typical, and wasn't as aggressive looking to score as normal.
Wiley still has big time offensive skill, and in college definitely projects to be a high level scorer, but when he isn't at the top of his game physically, he has to learn to adjust and battle through a little bit better than he did at the DMV Tip Off. That is something that comes with time and experience, but it was a clear learning experience for Wiley.
On Defense: This has never been the area of Wiley's game where he has excelled. Since he isn't the most athletic kid laterally, he has never been an excellent defender, and also like most high school kids his focus has clearly been more on the offensive end then on defense.
Also given his ankle injury, and added weight this clearly wasn't going to be the game where he showed a great improvement on that end of the floor. Wiley didn't really try to pressure the ball and was content to rebound and just kind of be in the right place within Potomac's defensive system.
That is fine as Wiley will learn what it takes to be a quality defender once he gets to the college level. Given his size and natural strength combined with long arms, Wiley projects to be an average to above average defender once he gets to college. Since he isn't especially quick he will never be somebody asked to guard the other team's best player, but he should be more than capable on the defensive end before it is all said done.
Overall: Clearly this wasn't the best game for Wiley. The sprained ankle gives him a bit of a pass, as it was clear he was laboring and he does deserve points for toughing it out and trying to help his team. However the far greater concern is that Wiley has to get into better shape.
During his junior season he was excellent shape and it showed in his play. Then over the summer he began to get bigger, and now as a senior he is far bigger than he was 12 months ago. That brings up questions of commitment, and whether founded or unfounded it is a concern.
Clearly Wiley is going to be able to score the basketball in college, that is just what he does, but to put himself into a position to be the elite scorer that many expected when he picked the Terrapins, Wiley will have to show that commitment to being great.
Brian Snow and Rachel Klein contributed to this report