Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wiley, Nickens commit to Terps

It's been a busy month for Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon.

Just two and a half weeks into June, Turgeon has secured commitments from a pair of sharpshooting wings -- Dion Wiley and Jared Nickens -- to join combo guard Melo Trimble in the class of 2014.

The commitment from Wiley was significant for a number of reasons. First, he was clearly Maryland's top priority in the class. He was the top-ranked player in the state of Maryland, and he joins Trimble -- the top-ranked player in the state of Virginia -- to form the Terps' future backcourt.

Wiley's AAU outfit -- Team Takeover -- is a Nike program, and one that Maryland has not had much luck with over the past few years. Between Under Armour-sponsored DC Assault and Nike-sponsored Team Takeover, the DC Metro area has two of the nation's top AAU programs. So a pipeline into both programs would be huge for obvious reasons.

Next, Wiley's commitment came early. That allowed Turgeon to focus his efforts on landing another swingman (more on that in a moment) and a big man for a four-man class in 2014.

Wiley is ranked the No. 49 player in the class of 2014 by Rivals, No. 39 by 247sports and No. 22 by ESPN. And through 18 games on the EYBL circuit, he led Team Takeover (16-2) in scoring and three-pointers.

And just a week or so later, Turgeon landed commitment No. 3 in the class of 2014 with Pennsylvania swingman Jared Nickens.

Nickens, who plays for Under Armour-sponsored Sports U in Pennsylvania, reclassified from 2013 to 2014 to gain an extra year of AAU play. And it paid off. Through a strong start to the AAU season, Nickens held offers from Oregon State, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Temple, Providence, Wake Forest, Miami (FL) and a number of mid-major programs.

He's not as highly rated as Wiley, but he, too, is a phenomenal shooter in a lanky frame. Some have loosely compared his game to former Terp star Drew Nicholas. One Rivals analyst said he'd be a top 100 player in the next set of rankings, while 247sports has him the No. 152 player in the class of 2014. 

Turgeon has put together a three-man class full of elite shooters that ESPN and 247sports rank the third- and fourth-best recruiting classes in the country. Meanwhile, with one remaining scholarship to spend on a big man (i.e. Chinanu Onuaku, Pascal Chukwu, Trayvon Reed or Goodluck Okonoboh), the Terps' coaching staff can focus its efforts on closing out the class of 2014 on a strong note. 

You can watch game footage of Dion Wiley here...

And watch game footage of Jared Nickens here...