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DION WILEY: RISING STAR IN DMV’S CLASS OF 2014
By Ron Bailey
Dion Wiley has established himself as a hot commodity on the national recruiting scene. This was basically done during the summer past, as previously only schools in the District-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area, or coaches with very strong connections there, like DePaul and then UMass, really knew he existed.
A summer with Team Takeover’s top 16u squad has changed things for the now 6-foot-4, 210-pound, Class of 2014 swingman.
“You want offers?” asked Wiley, after classes one day at his school, Potomac HS (MD), when asked to supply a college list.
“My offers are, Maryland, Georgetown, Rutgers, Miami, Cincinnati, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Villanova” and another school he couldn’t recall, at that moment. It’s understandable, as Wiley was going through literally a bucket full of mail from schools throughout the country, while talking; schools are putting the press on him, so to speak. Presently, there is no leader for his services, and a decision is “a long way away.”
When it comes to school criteria, at this point Wiley doesn’t have many demands, simply saying with a laugh “Yes, basically”, when asked if shots and offensive freedom were premium for him.
Why did Wiley become a national recruiting name? Well, first of all he’s an excellent shooter, out past three-point land, one that also lets the game come to him, seemingly always making the right basketball play. He can also face up, scoring off stop and pops and getting to the rim. One must also respect his passing ability, which is formidable. During his sophomore season at Potomac, Dion did much of the same, dropping 18.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.1 steals, per contest.
Wiley, a laid back guy, sometimes seems to behave in similar fashion on the court. That criticism is both fair and unfair; it’s good for a shooter to always keep letting it fly and not be fazed, but there have been times when he’s needed to play harder, particularly defensively. To the point of strapping with more energy consistently, Dion sees it, noting “Takeover helped me to play defense first, then score.”
He also recognizes what his high school has done for him, saying “Potomac has meant a lot…It helped me because in ninth grade I went from bad to good. I was ineligible, than I got the grades.”
His coach at Potomac, Renard Johnson, recognizes Wiley’s academic turnaround, saying that same day “No question, he’s totally embraced the challenge. I like what the teachers are saying. I like what the counselors see.” At Potomac it’s a building wide effort to keep students on track academically.
Does Johnson plan on enacting punitive measures if Wiley has any scholastic slippage? “No question. Absolutely” he quickly responded. “I will sit him down if he’s late for a practice, let alone a grade.”
Count the coach as in Wiley’s corner, on the court as well.
“Put it this way, and I mean this very humbly; I think he’s our best player, and probably our best teammate,” he opined. “I wouldn’t trade me for anybody in the country…He’s my guy.”
Potomac has also impacted Wiley from a physical perspective; he apparently has lost a bit of weight, as all of his teammates that don’t play football, must run cross country. Of the experience, Wiley admitted “It’s hard, tiring, but we got used to it.” He also plans on hitting the weight room in earnest, going forward. Doing so will allow him to strengthen his upper body strength – aiding driving, rebounding and finishing through contact – while also improving his overall athletic ability – through core and leg work.
Any goals for Wiley this season?
“Win the state, play better than last year,” succinctly answered Wiley. “People know who I am now, so I have to play better.”
Being better well known extends to coaches – high school and college – but fans as well now. Having heard the chatter, how does Wiley remain focused? “I don’t let it get to me,” he said. “I just stay humble, and continue to shoot.”
With that formula, Wiley has a bright future in front of him.
(For a review of Potomac HS’s upcoming team, see i95Ballerz.com)
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