Even with a career filled with injuries, Dion Wiley has found himself back at the top of the roster.
A former blue-chip and top 50 high-school recruit coming into college, junior Dion Wiley has had an up-and-down career at the University of Maryland. Wiley was a part of the 2014 recruiting class that featured Jared Nickens and fellow Maryland native Melo Trimble.
Nickens, now a senior, has been a constant feature in the second unit for head coach Mark Turgeon throughout his career. Trimble was arguably the most popular and well-recognized Terrapin since fan-favorite Greivis Vasquez graduated in 2009. Dion Wiley has often been the forgotten one from the 2014 recruiting class, as injuries have plagued the 6-foot-4 guard’s Terp career so far.
As a freshman, Wiley struggled with his confidence. He averaged roughly 14 minutes a game. His sophomore season was cut short due to a torn meniscus in his right knee that forced Wiley to redshirt that year. Even after the redshirted year, Wiley was still battling injury. Plagued by a lingering back ailment, Coach Turgeon was forced to shut Wiley down for large stretches throughout last season.
With all the injuries throughout his college career, Wiley struggled to find a rhythm because he could not stay on the court for long periods of time. Last season, Wiley averaged only ten minutes per game which was a slight decrease from his freshman campaign.
Before Wiley was set to begin his junior season this year, Coach Turgeon made a point to sit down and have a heart-to-heart conversation with Wiley.
“These last two years haven’t been any fun,” Turgeon told him, “but you’re going to remember these last two years more than any of them. So let’s make the most of them.”
Wiley was the first guard off the bench for Maryland in the first two games of the season. In the season-opening 76-61 win over Stony Brook, Wiley tallied five points, two rebounds and sank one three-pointer. Then, during the home opening 96-43 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore, Wiley nailed three three-pointers to go along with 13 points.
A big moment arrived for Maryland’s first test of the season against Butler in College Park last Wednesday, as Wiley earned his first start since December of 2014. He made the most of his first start in three years, finishing in double figures in consecutive games with 11 points and sinking three three-pointers in consecutive games as well.
The most important statistic in these first three games has been the total minutes Wiley has logged (25, 26, & 30). Prior to this year, Wiley had played more than 20 minutes in a game just once in his career. That game came against Division III opponent St. Mary’s College of Maryland last November.
A promising sign for Wiley and Terrapin fans is that Wiley appears durable and has been able to play solid minutes and contribute on offense as well as defensively for Coach Turgeon.
Through three games, Wiley is averaging 27 minutes per game and shooting 50% from deep (7-14). If Wiley is able to stay healthy and keep his hot shooting going, he will be a key player in determining how much success the Terrapins are able to achieve this year.