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Maryland guard Aaron Wiggins keeping name in NBA draft, will forgo senior season

Maryland men’s basketball guard Aaron Wiggins is keeping his name in the NBA draft and will forgo his remaining eligibility, he announced Monday.

As a junior, Wiggins was the Terps’ second-leading scorer, averaging 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

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Wiggins, along with fellow rising senior guard Eric Ayala, announced in April his intention to test the draft waters. Wiggins had pre-draft workouts with at least six NBA teams. He also participated in the G League Elite Camp and after a standout showing was invited to stay in Chicago for the combine.

In three years, the Greensboro, North Carolina, native has averaged 11.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 28.2 minutes per game. He was voted the 2020 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year and named a 2021 All-Big Ten Honorable Mention selection.

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Wiggins, whom ESPN has rated the 64th-best prospect, had said his decision would hinge on being a first-round pick or getting some form of guarantee or promise from an NBA team. Unlike first-round picks, second-round selections typically do not receive fully-guaranteed contracts.

“Just trying to show my ability to handle the ball, make the right reads, make the right plays,” Wiggins said in June at a pre-draft workout with the Golden State Warriors. “I think a lot of teams know that coming out of my freshman year and with what I displayed in college, I can shoot the ball. Just trying to show my other abilities, such as guarding the ball, guarding more than just one position and, offensively, being a threat on multiple levels.

“It all depends on how I feel and what I’m hearing and the conversation that I have with my parents after the entire process is over.”

Wiggins said he kept in contact with Maryland coach Mark Turgeon through the pre-draft process and met new assistant Danny Manning while splitting time between College Park and various NBA markets for workouts. He also relied on former Terps Anthony Cowan Jr., Kevin Huerter and Jalen Smith (Mount Saint Joseph) for advice and what to expect.

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Maryland guard Aaron Wiggins, playing against Michigan March 12 in Indianapolis, is keeping his name in the NBA draft and will forego his remaining eligibility.
Maryland guard Aaron Wiggins, playing against Michigan March 12 in Indianapolis, is keeping his name in the NBA draft and will forego his remaining eligibility. (Michael Conroy)

The Terps now lose perhaps their most talented player and one who played like it over the final stretch of the 2020 season. Wiggins averaged 17.9 points per game on 50.6% shooting, including 40.8% from beyond the arc, over the Terps’ final 12 games.

Wiggins’ departure will push players such as Hakim Hart, James Graham and incoming freshman Ike Cornish into more of a prominent role in the backcourt. Utah transfer Ian Martinez, who tore his meniscus during a summer workout but is expected to return for the start of the season, is also expected to contribute.

Maryland, which even with the loss of Wiggins is expected to be ranked in The Associated Press Press Top 25 poll at the start of the season, will have one more open scholarship for the 2021-22 season. The team has already brought in four transfers during the offseason: Martinez, center Qudus Wahab (Georgetown), guard Fatts Russell (Rhode Island) and forward Pavlo Dziuba (Arizona State).

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