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Maryland basketball’s Jalen Smith, Aaron Wiggins earning 1st-round projections in 2020 NBA mock drafts

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This is the Maryland Minute, a short story followed by a roundup of Terps-related news.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s never too early to start thinking about the 2020 NBA Draft. Mock drafts have already started to circulate, and Maryland basketball rising sophomores Jalen Smith and Aaron Wiggins are being projected as potential first-round picks.

In Bleacher Report’s first mock for 2020, Smith was projected as the No. 14 pick by the New Orleans Pelicans, while Wiggins was projected No. 26 to the Toronto Raptors. Yahoo Sports has Wiggins slightly ahead of Smith in their first mock draft for 2020, with the Greensboro, North Carolina, native touted as the No. 24 prospect compared to the Baltimore product’s No. 29 ranking.

Both players are coming off solid freshman seasons, and are part of a young core that has high expectations for this upcoming season. Smith averaged 11.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and was named to the Big Ten all-freshman team in 2018-19. He could’ve potentially been drafted this year, but decided not to declare and return for his sophomore season instead. Smith will need to continue to get stronger this offseason and show more consistency when the Terps return to the court in November.

Wiggins was Maryland’s sixth man, averaging 8.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. He also shot 41.3 percent on three-pointers, and his 62 triples were the second-most by a freshman in Maryland history. Wiggins will have to show he’s more than just an outside threat and will have to improve on the defensive end to improve his pro prospects this season.

Next year’s draft is nearly a year away, but it’s still something to watch as the season progresses.

In other news

Our Maryland football position preview is up to Wide Receivers Week, and Thomas started the week off with a look at the talented but inexperienced group.

Former Maryland soccer goalie Zack Steffen wore the captain’s armband for Team USA in Saturday’s Gold Cup match against Trinidad and Tobago, becoming just the third Terp to do so.

The new Premier Lacrosse league brought the Maryland-Johns Hopkins rivalry to the professional ranks this weekend in Baltimore.

Former Maryland women’s basketball players are powering the Washington Mystics offense so far in the 2019 WNBA season.

Maryland men’s soccer coach Sasho Cirovski and women’s lacrosse coach Cathy Reese have won a combined 657 games and eight national championships in College Park. The two were enshrined in the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame this weekend.

Speaking of Hall of Fames, former basketball coach Lefty Driesell will be inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday,