Small town, big time.
P r e p b a s k e t b a l l
BLUE RIVER - Drew Wiley got a jump on the college basketball recruiting process.
The McKenzie junior has received scholarship offers from Oregon and Washington State among other schools after he spent the summer impressing college coaches at AAU tournaments in Vancouver (Wash.), Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
"After the first few summer tournaments our coach told me that a couple colleges were watching me, and so I kept playing hard and they liked what they saw," Wiley said. "I knew that the summer between your junior and senior year was supposed to be a big time, but I didn't think it would come this sudden."
Oregon is rich in prep basketball prospects right now with Lake Oswego's Kevin Love and South Medford's Kyle Singler leading the list for the class of 2007. Wiley, a 6-foot-6, 185-pound wing, had been under the radar at Class 1A McKenzie where he was named Mountain West League most valuable player as a sophomore.
Wiley has spent the past few months moving near the top of the list of in-state recruits in the class of 2008 along with Westview center Andy Poling, who has committed to Gonzaga, and point guards Brad Tinsley of Oregon City and Michael Harthun of South Medford.
Oregon was the first school to show interest in Wiley after he attended the Ducks' team camp in June with his McKenzie teammates. Many other schools got a look at Wiley when he averaged nearly 27 points per game with the Oregon Rebels 16-and-under team during the summer season.
"Oregon was the only school that knew of him going into the Vancouver tournament, but he played well there and got some more attention from Northwest schools," said Glenn Johannes, who watched Wiley while coaching the Rebels' 18-and-under team.
After Vancouver, the Rebels moved on to Vegas for the Reebok Big Time, a tournament featuring more than 300 teams from around the nation. Wiley scored 31 points and made five three-pointers in a game against a team from Houston that featured a few Division I players.
"Coming out of Vegas, a lot of schools started to show interest, and they followed us to Los Angeles and started watching Drew," said Johannes, who will coach Wiley this season after recently being hired to lead the boys basketball team at McKenzie. "You started to see Oregon State, Montana, Washington State, Oregon and some other schools from California like Santa Clara at our games."
Wiley received his first offer nearly a month ago from the University of Portland. On Sept. 24, Wiley visited Oregon and he received a scholarship offer from Ernie Kent.
"According to Ernie, he has never offered a kid this early before," said Mike Wiley, Drew's father, who recently stepped down after six seasons as McKenzie's boys basketball coach.
It is believed that the last time Oregon offered a scholarship to a player before his junior season was in 1995 when Jerry Green recruited Tyron Manlove of Wilson High in Portland. The earliest Kent has offered a scholarship was to Luke Jackson during his junior season at Creswell.
Wiley was excited to get an early offer from the Ducks.
"That was big for me," he said. "I was happy with that because I grew up watching Oregon and being an Oregon kid, that was great."
In addition to Portland, Oregon and Washington State, Wiley has an offer from Montana but said he does not plan to commit to any school right away. He plans to make unofficial visits to Washington State, Gonzaga and Washington later this month.
"I'm not going to rush into anything," he said. "I want to make visits and find out what might be the best fit. I'm not in a rush to commit to anyone. We'll probably have a good idea where I'm going to go by next summer."
Wiley said he would prefer to stay close to home in part because his younger brother, Jordan, will be a freshman at McKenzie when Drew is a freshman in college.
"I'd like to come home and visit every once in a while," Wiley said. "I'd like to watch my brother play high school basketball and stuff like that."
Wiley earned first-team all-state honors as a sophomore when he averaged 23 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocked shots per game for the Eagles. He shot 57 percent from the field, 42 percent from three-point range and 82 percent from the free-throw line.
He has added 20 pounds since last season and will look to add even more.
"This summer has been great and a lot of people started to get interested, and they think he has potential and I think he does, too," Mike Wiley said. "I'm probably his toughest critic, but you start noticing him do things that kids his age don't do on the perimeter. He's gotten quicker and stronger, and he can take you off the dribble and finish. I think Oregon is hoping he's another Luke Jackson. He's not in that caliber yet, but I think he has the potential to get in that ballpark. He's not as quick as Luke was, but he has two more years of high school ball."
Johannes agreed that Wiley's all-around game grabbed the attention of college coaches.
"He can score, he can shoot from all over the court and he does other things well," said Johannes, who is a former Churchill assistant coach. "He can play the `2' guard or the '3.' He puts the ball on the floor and is a decent rebounder. Offensively, he can score with anyone, it doesn't matter what level."
Despite rumors that he would transfer to a bigger school, Wiley plans to stay at the 1A level for his final two years of high school and will continue to play with his friends at McKenzie.
"I've gotten some notice over the summer, so I don't feel like I have to go play at a big school for more notice," Wiley said. "I'm happy with what I received this summer, and I don't want to leave the community."
Added Mike Wiley: "He'll finish up here. We've had ample opportunities to send him to a bigger school in town, but we feel a sense of community. He's from here, so why can't a good player stay home and play?"
Wiley, who is playing wide receiver for McKenzie's football team in the fall, will look to lead McKenzie to the state tournament in Baker City after the Eagles lost in the sub-tournament during the past two seasons. Wiley has kept a relatively low profile around the state, but that will likely change now that he has become one of the few 1A players in state history to earn a Division I scholarship offer.
"It's exciting," Wiley said. "It's overwhelming, and it all hit at one time. To think I could be playing college basketball in a couple years is exciting."
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|Title Annotation:||Sports; McKenzie's Wiley tips off his junior year with Division I scholarship offers in hand|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Oct 10, 2006|
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