Tracking the College Stars of the Future
Sunday, May 5, 2002
By Thad Mumau
his game for C-USA wars
Derrick Wiley feels he can help East Carolina
join the elite echelon of Conference USAís basketball teams. That challenge
is one of the things that attracted him to Greenville.
The 6-4 wing guard/small forward completes an
outstanding recruiting class for Bill Herrionís Pirates. He joins 6-4
shooting guard Luke Mackay of Lon Morris Junior College, 6-7 1/2 forward
Corey Rouse of Kinston (NC) High School and 6-3 combination guard Belton
Rivers of Atlanta (GA) Frederick Douglass.
Originally from Durham, Wiley averaged 20
points and seven rebounds this past season for a Moberly (MO) Community
College team that finished 30-7 and fifth in the national junior college
Wiley has been a bit of a nomad, not staying
more than a year at any of five stops in the past five years. He was at
Riverside High School in Durham as a junior, then threw in 27 points a game
for Raleigh Bonner Academy his senior season.
He was a scoring sensation at Montgomery Junior
College, pouring in 31 points a game while grabbing 7.8 boards per contest.
He spent one semester at Pratt Community College in Kansas and sat out a
year before winding up at Moberly CC.
"I left Montgomery because I wanted to play
against stronger competition, and also so more people could see me play,"
Wiley said. "Providence and Georgia were the only two big-time schools to
look at me when I was a freshman. Montgomery was a Division II junior
college, and I wanted to play D-I."
So Wiley moved on to the next destination, only
to be unsettled by a staff shakeup.
"When I got to Pratt, the coach got fired, and
I didnít get along with the new one," he said. "A close friend put me in
contact with Coach (Pat) Smith at Moberly, and I signed with them."
Smith called Wiley "a slasher who takes the
ball to the basket well and has a nice mid-range game, which is rare these
With so many of todayís players bent on
shooting three-pointers or flying in for dunks and acrobatic drives, there
is a lot of open space in between for anyone willing to use a ball fake and
a dribble or two ó a fact not lost on the versatile Wiley..
"I hit a lot of pull-ups from around 17 feet,"
Wiley said. "I didnít hit that many threes, but I didnít shoot that many."
Wiley understood how he could most effectively
contribute to the team's offensive attack and he executed accordingly, noted
the Moberly coach.
"We had two kids who made a lot of threes,"
Smith said. "Iím big on roles, and Derrickís role wasnít to shoot
three-pointers. He took the ball to the basket and he posted up. He is a
very good post-up player for a guard."
It's no secret Herrion was on a mission to nab
some 'shooters' in this recruiting class, and Wiley is already preparing
himself to be effective in a slightly different role.
"I know I can shoot the ball," Wiley said.
"Itís probably the thing I need to work the most on, and Iím doing that. But
I have no doubt that I can become a consistent three shooter. Itís just a
matter of doing it."
Wiley hit 46 percent of his field goal attempts
last season and was a 77-percent free throw shooter. He scored a season-high
32 points in the playoffs against Lon Morris College, where a future ECU
teammate, Luke Mackay, played.
Wiley was named to the All-JUCO tournament team
after averaging 27.3 points in four post-season games. He was also an
All-Region XVI selection.
According to Smith, Wiley has the physical
tools and determination to succeed in the league he's headed for.
"Derrick is well built and is pretty strong (at
195 pounds)," Smith said. "He is such a great athlete, a definite Conference
USA-type player. He is a tremendous leaper.
"Defensively, he has come a long way. He was
very good off our press and steadily improved. He is a real good
anticipator. Heíll make some mistakes, but if youíre patient with him,
Derrick will make some plays."
Noted primarily for his offensive abilities,
Wiley recognized last season what his biggest weakness was and set out to
eventually make it a strength.
"Defense is probably the biggest challenge for
me," Wiley said. "I have to work on funneling people in and not letting them
get outside me. I worked hard on defense, though. I took pride in that."
He doesn't take failure lightly and he relishes
the opportunity to help ECU achieve success against the Cincinnatis and
Louisvilles of the world.
"Iím a guy who hates to lose," said Wiley. "I
love the competition in Conference USA. Night after night, weíll be playing
big-time teams. I know I can play at that level.
"Iím not worried about starting or playing
time. That will take care of itself. If I start, I start. If not, Iíll get
He's also not worried about whether he'll have
what it takes to land a spot on some team's roster when his days as a Pirate
"Iíll be playing somewhere after college," he
said. "I know that. Iím confident in my ability."
Wiley reeled off a long list of colleges that
showed interest in him. They included St. Louis, West Virginia, South
Florida, Illinois-Chicago, Western Illinois, Wagner, Stephen F. Austin,
Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Creighton, Fresno State and
UNC-Wilmington, as well as East Carolina.
He paid visits to only two of his suitors and,
in the end, his decision came down to an affinity for Herrion and a chance
to be near loved ones.
visited Wagner first and then East Carolina," he said. "I really like Coach
Herrion, and I felt real comfortable there. Being from Durham, my family
will be close by and can see me play. My fiancťe and two children are in
Durham. Iíll be getting married in July."
Smith sized up Wiley's signing with the Pirates
as a logical move for both parties.
"I think itís a good fit both ways ó for
Derrick and for East Carolina," Smith said. "He will be a good player for
them. They needed some guard help, and he can provide that."
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02/23/2007 02:39:48 PM