Rising four-star small forward recruit Aaron Wiggins commits to Maryland

The first member of what Maryland men's basketball coach Mark Turgeon is hoping to be a blockbuster 2018 recruiting class committed to the Terps on Saturday during his official visit to the campus.

Four-star prospect Aaron Wiggins, a 6-foot-6, 180-pound forward who recently jumped from No. 84 to No. 62 in the 247Sports.com national rankings and is expected to continue to move up, announced his decision on Twitter.

"After transferring to Wesleyan Christian Academy last year, and having the opportunity to play two AAU seasons with Team Charlotte, I have been blessed with the option to [choose] between many Division 1 colleges," tweeted Wiggins. "After giving it much thought, and speaking with my family, coaches, and those closest to me, I have decided to commit to the University of Maryland!"

Said Wesleyan coach and former Terps point guard Keith Gatlin,  “He’s a great kid. He’s a great basketball player, but he’s a better person. Great family, great student. Maryland is getting a gem all the way around.”

Wiggins was shown on Twitter wearing a Maryland uniform – No. 2,  worn by Melo Trimble the past three seasons – in separate photos with his family as well as with Turgeon and his staff. Wiggins had become a priority for Turgeon and assistant coach Dustin Clark in recent months.

"Give Coach Turgeon and his staff credit," Gatlin said. "They came down and did a fabulous job on the young man."

Wiggins is one of three players on Gatlin’s Wesleyan Christian team that have been offered scholarships by Turgeon for 2018.

The Terps are also recruiting four-star small forward Jaylen Hoard, ranked 28th nationally, as well as three-star power forward Ian Steere ranked 175th.

Asked why Wiggins has jumped so dramatically in the recruiting rankings in recent months, Gatlin said the exposure and competition he received after transferring to Wesleyan Christian in High Point, N.C., from Grimsley High in nearby Greensboro helped.

“He’s not anymore, but he was the best kept secret in the country,” Gatlin said. “The kid is very talented. He can handle [the ball], he can shoot it. Very smooth player. He came to our program and he played in national events.

"I think it was the right time for him, for us to get him. His family bought in to me and to our program. Once he started playing on the national stage, everybody was like, ‘Where has this kid been?’”

The commitment from Wiggins gives Turgeon and the Terps some momentum going into an expected official visit later this month from five-star prospect Jalen Smith, a 6-10, 195-pound forward who was The Baltimore Sun’s Player of the Year as a junior this past season at Mount Saint Joseph.

As far back as the beginning of his sophomore season, Smith has pledged his loyalty to the Terps. Smith has also said that rejoining former high school teammate Darryl Morsell, who will be a freshman at Maryland in 2017-18, helps Maryland's chances.  

The Terps recently made the final four among the schools being considered by another five-star Baltimore player, John Carroll point guard Immanuel Quickley. Considered the top point guard prospect in the country, Quickley also has Kentucky, Kansas and Miami on his latest list.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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