There are only 27 days until the start of the 2019-20 season for Maryland men’s basketball. As the Terps get ready for a highly anticipated year where they’re ranked in the top-10 of every major preseason poll, we’ll be breaking down head coach Mark Turgeon’s roster, which promises to be the deepest he’s had in his time in College Park.
If there’s one player being overlooked right now for Maryland, it’s rising sophomore Aaron Wiggins, who promises to make a big jump with a spot in the starting lineup. He only started four games for the Terps last season but impressed with his three-point shooting, which will be crucial for this team’s success.
Hometown: Greensboro, NC
High School: Weleyan Christian Academy
2018-19 stats: 8.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Wiggins proved himself as the key sixth man for the Terps last season, making the most of his minutes and providing big sparks of momentum with his fiery play.
He made 62 three-pointers in 2018-19, which is the second-most for a freshman in school history behind none other than Kevin Huerter (65). The now Atlanta Hawk started that season, playing 29.4 minutes a game and shooting 37.1 from long range, while Wiggins only started four games and averaged 23.5 minutes a night. So just imagine what that could look like as a starter.
Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of his game.
As noted, the first strength for Wiggins is about as obvious as it gets: he’s lethal from beyond the arc. He shot 41.3 percent on three-pointers last season, which tied for 11th most all-time in program single-season history. He had 12 games with at least three-pointers made, often times giving Maryland the extra edge and getting Xfinty Center fired up.
While he is obviously his own player, it’s hard not to continue to compare Wiggins to Huerter, who will now be going by Red Velvet. The two have pretty similar builds and strokes, and their numbers speak for themselves.
As mentioned, Wiggins shot 41.3 percent on threes as a freshman in 2018-19. Huerter found his way to an NBA squad by shooting at a 41.7 percent clip his sophomore season.
The young Terp takes the edge on free throws after going an impressive 86.7 percent at the line last year, while Huerter averaged 71.4 percent as a freshman, with just two more chances, and 75.8 on his Maryland career. I’m not saying Wiggins is a better shooter yet, of course, but there is so much untapped potential here.
This looks like something Kevin Huerter would do pic.twitter.com/AhigNukbBQ— Jared Goldstein (@_jgoldy17) January 22, 2019
And look how he creates space for himself here.
Aaron Wiggins was just like "I'm gonna step back and shoot this and make it" pic.twitter.com/oQPBZfFSCm— Jared Goldstein (@_jgoldy17) February 12, 2019
Here he uses the pump fake to throw of his defender and drain the three.
Now Aaron Wiggins decides to toy with Edwards. This is just getting disrespectful. pic.twitter.com/QiHQOSqHMt— Justin Fitzgerald (@jfitzgerald52) February 13, 2019
But even if a guy is in his face, Wiggins will still make the three with ease.
Aaron Wiggins with the DEEP 3 and a huge bucket for Maryland. pic.twitter.com/ZnqGMxBwCj— Justin Fitzgerald (@jfitzgerald52) February 7, 2019
Buy stock on Aaron Wiggins if you haven't already. pic.twitter.com/fMfTnWM96l— Justin Fitzgerald (@jfitzgerald52) December 7, 2018
Of course Wiggins can shoot it like no one else on Turgeon’s team, but let’s not forgot that he can throw down a pretty mean dunk when need be.
Maryland wasn’t great at running the break in 2018-19, but when it did, Wiggins was usually involved, whether it was through a steal or dunk like this one against Nebraska.
In this one below, Wiggins makes the most of Maryland’s second chance on offense, storming into the paint and attacking the basket with force.
One of the more unique parts of Wiggins’ game is his defensive play. In limited minutes, he produced 26 steals, often resulting fast break points for the Terps.
The Terps didn’t have many bright spots against Nebraska in the Big Ten tournament, but this was surely one of them.
Wiggins has a great shot, and he needs to me more aggressive and use it more. Being a freshman with players like Bruno Fernando and Anthony Cowan could have definitely played into this, but if he is going to take the next step in his game, Wiggins has to have the confidence to create shots for himself more often. Because when he does, he impresses.
Aaron Wiggins is so good at finding a shot for himself pic.twitter.com/kHiE4IUjN7— Jared Goldstein (@_jgoldy17) December 1, 2018
While the Greensboro, North Carolina, native had a percentage on three-pointers, his shot from the field wasn’t as impressive. He made 38.5 percent of the field goals he attempted, so he’ll need to work on his game in mid-range shot this season to expand his game.
Outlook for the 2019-20 season
When asked who of the sophomore class had made the biggest jump from their sophomore year at Big Ten media day, the first player Turgeon mentioned was Wiggins.
“During the summer I thought it was Aaron Wiggins,” Turgeon said. “He made a huge jump. Kid was working out like four times a day. He really got better. We need him to be more aggressive offensively for us to take that next step.”
As Turgeon pointed out, Wiggins’ aggressiveness could make the difference for Maryland. He has the best shot of anyone of the team, and the more threes he takes, the better. And he also gained 25 pounds in muscle, according to The Baltimore Sun, which should be a big asset in the paint.
If all goes according to plan, this could easily be the sophomore’s last year in a Terp jersey.
Bleacher Report had the guard going No. 27 in its only 2020 NBA mock draft so far, which came out in late June, while Yahoo Sports had him at No. 24. This is all based on a season where he didn’t even start, so with a much bigger role this season, expect Wiggins to be getting a ton of attention from scouts.