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A lot of commotion has been made about the comments Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com said regarding Dion Wiley and his potential upside. Per Johnny Boy himself:
Dion Wiley reminds me of another Sean Kilpatrick. 6-4 and rock solid. Should have a terrific career at Maryland. Needs to score in reserve.
For those who don’t know, Sean Kilpatrick was one of the more accomplished players in Cincinnati Bearcats history. A second-team All-American his senior year, Kilpatrick was a 20+ PPG scorer last season and a career 15 and 6 guy at Cincy. The comparison at first is very high, but when you think back on Kilpatrick’s game, the resemblance is uncanny. The quick release from deep, the smooth finishing in the lane and crafty passing, the 6’4″ sturdy frame; Rothstein may have hit the nail on the head with that one.
While Kilpatrick is very high praise for a kid who hasn’t played a minute of collegiate hoops, we’re more focused on the role Rothstein views Wiley performing within the confines of the team. As a reserve his freshman season, Kilpatrick averaged 9.7 points per game and shot 37% from deep. Those are really good raw numbers for a Big East freshman (the old Big East), and were good for putting Kilpatrick third on the team in scoring behind Yancy Gates and Dion Dixon. That team was also a #6 seed in the tournament, too.
But Kilpatrick was also a year older than the competition when he got started, having redshirted his freshman year because Lance Stephenson chose Cincy over Maryland and they played the same position, in addition to playing a prep season back in high school. Kilpatrick wasn’t even in the same stratosphere a recruit as Dion Wiley, even though (in retrospect) he was stupid skilled at scoring.
All that is to stymie some of those expectations a bit. Wiley is young, on a team with more established scorers than Cincinnati had at the time, and won’t be asked to become the #3 scorer for the Terps, not by a long shot. With Wells, Layman and Smotrycz on the roster, there is simply no reason to suspect that the Terps will lean that much on Wiley right away. With Romelo Trimble thrown into the mix, that’s even more of a certainty.
But Wiley is likely going to pair up with Richaud Pack to be the definitive anchors of the second unit for Maryland, and with that will come a lot of opportunities to score. And as a supposed top 15 shooting guard in the country (for his class), Wiley should be capable of contributing along the lines of some other guys within a few spots of his ranking. So let’s look at that for starters.
In that 10-15 range of shooting guards, there’s usually some real talent to be had there. Lets take a look at some of the players that range of recruit has produced over the past three years that 247sports.com has been doing these rankings:
10: Brannen Greene, Kansas| Stephen Domingo, Georgetown| Wayne Blackshear, UL
11: Matt Jones, Duke| Gabe York, Arizona|Levi Randolph, Alabama
12: Conner Frankamp, Kansas| Aaron Thomas, Florida State|Sir’Dominic Pointer, SJ
13: Xavier Rathan-Mayes, FSU| Jordan Price, Auburn|Ben McLemore, Kansas
14: Zach LaVine, UCLA| Torian Graham|Nick Faust, Maryland
15: Anton Gill, UL| Nik Stauskas, Michigan|Rashad Madden, Arkansas
When we look at these 18 players, the underlying trend is that while the majority aren’t freshmen phenoms, many of them were more than capable players. Zach LaVine hit the most three pointers by a freshman in UCLA history, while Aaron Thomas was a solid contributor at Florida State with his deep shooting. Even the notorious Nicky Baltimore was a decent contributor his first year in college. Obviously Ben McLemore was a supreme talent for Kansas, but he’s an exception; one of every six players in this group is an NBA player.
But this group very much tends to produce specialists. Stauskas, Thomas, LaVine, Faust — all billed as shooters coming out of high school. Wiley, too, has been pegged as exactly that. But he’s better lumped into a group with Rathan-Mayes, Thomas, and Faust rather than those NBA types. Doubly so when you consider the roster he’s walking into.
Wiley’s probably best-suited as the sidekick to someone as well. In high school he won a state championship playing alongside Randall Broddie, and him not being a naturally aggressive scorer should come in handy when he’s spelling Wells with a proven shooter in Pack on the court at the same time.
Turgeon hinted to Rothstein that Wells is probably going to have to play some point guard again this year, but that’s never ideal. There’s probably an equally probably scenario wherein Pack plays the point, and even Wiley when they’re on the court at the same time. Both Wiley and Pack played point in high school, but neither will provide much better or worse than Wells. Still, it’ll allow all three to get rest.
Maryland played a total of 3, 673 minutes of basketball last year, and the minute breakdown was as follows:
1016: Jake Layman
980: Dezmine Wells
876: Nick Faust
865: Evan Smotrycz
601: Charles Mitchell
594: Seth Allen
484: Roddy Peters
440: Shaquille Cleare
291: Jonathan Graham
166: Damonte Dodd
115: Varun Ram
45: Auslander, Susskind, Barks, Lipinski, Metz
With the departures, Maryland loses 2,995 minutes! You read that correctly. 2,995 minutes that need to be eaten up. At first the number is daunting, but when it’s broken down the entire thing is more manageable.
The big man departures (Mitchell, 601 MP and Cleare, 440 MP) should be subtracted from that group, leaving us with 1,954 minutes to play.
Let’s also exclude point guard minutes (Allen, 594 MP and Peters 484 MP) from that total for obvious reasons. We’re now left with 876 minutes — Faust’s exact total. Varun Ram played 115 minutes for Maryland last year, but I expect that to plummet to zero next year, so we’ll add his (plus the other bench guys 45 minutes) to the mix to get to a round 1,036 minutes.
Wiley is likely going to end up playing somewhere in the range of 450 to 550 minutes; below Seth Allen’s massive total he racked up in his return from injury and higher than Peter’s limited minutes after Allen returned. In that time, Allen attempted 219 shots (pretty high) while Peters took 123 shots (a little low). If we split the difference, we can come to Wiley attempting somewhere in the range of 160 shots, which sounds like a pretty fair number. That’s exactly five shots a game, but it could easily be closer to six. That would come closely to replicating Charles Mitchell’s performance.
If you figure that Wiley will take at least a couple three pointers a game, and hit them at a decent rate, there’s no reason why he couldn’t average somewhere in the range of eight points per game. If Wiley plays a role like that his first year, he could easily get a great start to his career. Not being asked to do too much while providing more efficient scoring than what Mitchell was able to provide off the bench last year.
Rothstein wasn’t far off with his prediction when you look at the numbers, despite how high the praise was initially.