Sunday, May 28, 2017

TCA Yearbook Page 1 --Austin Wiley Class of '16

When Austin Wiley arrived at the doorstep in late August, it’s fair to say the high expectations, hype, and hearsay followed.
 At just 17 years old—and maturity beyond his years as many would soon notice—Wiley was fresh off an MVP performance during the prestigious Elite 24 game.

Wiley turned in an efficient account of himself, scoring 22 points and pulling down 12 boards with the game’s lone double-double.

Laced with the silent killer instincts few are capable of, the towering and skilled Wiley soon inherited some ownership of this first-year program.

That’s how head coach Shaun Wiseman wanted it to be. That’s how his teammates, who fed off his monstrous presence, anticipated it.
 Of course, developing a rapport with heady point guard David Sloan and bullish, bounce-heavy combo guard LuGuentz Dort helped the team established a much-needed identity and inside-outside game.

Oddly enough, Wiley was a minimal factor in the prep team's first-ever and SIAA-opening 70-62 win over eventual SIAA champion Oldsmar Christian.

Rather than feeding the post, TCA was buoyed by consistent scoring from Dort (who, at the time, held offers from Florida, Louisville, Missouri, Oklahoma, and a variety of other programs) and pivotal shots from David Sloan during the second half.

The hot hand of lesser-known, unheralded 3-point sniper Malcolm Farrington proved to be the difference maker. TCA nearly buckled and crumbled over a pulsating Oldsmar run, one which saw Conrad whittle a 16-point lead down to seven. With the pressure ratcheted up a few notches, a rattled Wiseman called for timeout.

The ensuing play unfolded as Farrington emerged from the corner, came off a screen and fired in a contested 3-pointer. The shot wasn’t a stake through Oldsmar’s heart, though it sure was necessary.

"Coach always instills confidence in me and always tells me to be ready at all times so it just sticks in my head," said Farrington, who shot a game-best 5-of-7 from downtown.

"An open shot is a good shot for any shooter. I was feeling it so I had no hesitation at all. As soon as the ball touched my hands I just looked at the rim. I had enough space so I just pulled it."

Wiley soon found his niche as a massive, rim-protecting big was a steady supply of post moves. Following a 27-point performance during a loss to Deandre Ayton and Hillcrest Prep in the Bahamas, Wiley stamped his imprint during a wild two games at the Charlotte Hoops Challenge.
 The athletic 6-foot-10 C, who thrives in the rim-to-rim game, scored 42 points and tore down 25 rebounds in back to back wins over Independence (NC) and Bishop Sullivan (Va.).

While Luguentz Dort (23 points) turned in several extravagant dunks tailor cut for the poster, Wiley was equally as perilous in the up-tempo, above-the-rim assault.

Wiley’s deft interior moves and ability to finish with contact while effortlessly blocking shots rendered him a beast-amongst-boys.

Fame and Fanfare found Wiley quick.
The Alabama-bred big was often asked to take photos considerably smaller fans


ZS: How was your trip to Auburn and which aspects of the school had the most appeal to you?

AW: My trip was great. I had fun. The coaching staff helped me make my decision. I am cool with all of them, especially coach (Bruce) Pearl and coach (Chuck) Person. Coach Person is my cousin and I've known him my whole life.

My family ties, the tradition, and the opportunity to get the basketball program where it needs to be at helped me choose Auburn. I want to start a new legacy. They were recruiting me since I was in ninth grade, when BP got hired.

If it wasn't about basketball, I would still go to Auburn. I just love the campus and love the people.

ZS: How do you describe the recruiting class of 2017 at Auburn?

AW: We are a solid class. We all bring different aspects with our games. I feel like we should be special.

Davion Mitchell and Chuma, I got to hang out with them this weekend. Davion's got quickness and ability in the pick and roll and just his ball handling is crazy. His bounce is impressive. I can't wait to get started with him.

Chuma, he brings toughness and attacking. He's going to have a lot of mismatches at the 3 and the 4 position and he's going to help me a lot.

 He's going to help by stretching the floor and helping me rebound the ball.

ZS: What do you hope to accomplish this year at The Conrad Academy (FL)?

AW: I want to get better in the court and in the classroom, work on my body, get in top-shelf shape, and just mature as a human being. 

What I like about Coach Wiseman's system is he likes to speed it up and I like to play at a fast pace. So I just think that will help me evolve my game.

I like the fact that I'm going to be playing against top-level competition. From what I've heard, the SIAA is serious and I'll be challenged every night. Also getting my body right and working with my man coach Brad (Traina) has helped. Coach Brad is an absolute machine in there. He's played the game at the professional level and he's still in the right shape and can give us the right ingredients on how to be successful working on our game or any little thing that will push us to be better the next day.

It was real tough to say goodbye to Spain Park HS (AL) because I grew up in the Birmingham area and I was born and raised there. So, it was hard to say goodbye to everyone. Everyone was supportive of my decision, they wished me nothing but the best.

ZS: Who has been the most influential figure in your development as a player and your career?

AW: Both my parents. Aubrey Wiley and Vickie Orr Wiley. They've always pushed me to be the best student and the best athlete and they've given me life lessons that will help me in the long run. They've always told me to stay humble, to not judge people and to keep family first.

ZS: Any pressure, knowing your mom's legacy at Auburn and your father's career as a forward and professional overseas?

AW: No. None at all. They've done a good job of taking it off. I think I've created my own image and being my own person, staying true to myself and not trying to emulate others. I've always tried to stay on my own path.

ZS: What was your top-8 and what choices allowed you to ultimately choose Auburn over the others?

AW: Auburn, Alabama, Duke, LSU, Mississippi State, Florida, UAB, and Kansas were my top-8. I just wanted to see a program that's not where it's supposed to be ultimately get to where they want to be. I love the idea of being an underdog and surprising people.

ZS: What aspects of your game are you looking to refine and enhance during this season?

AW: My face-up game, shooting, and just getting more post moves into my arsenal. I'm going to add to what I'm already capable of.

Coach Brad Traina, he's been great with preparing me and getting my face-up game polished. 

He's helping me improve my footwork, conditioning, and helping me add new facets to my arsenal of moves and finishing ability and really working at assessing my game and making it better. 

It's great because we have another 7-footer in Aristide (Boya) who has coach Johann (Mpondo) showing him the ropes of the big man game and really helping him evolve. So I think we're going to be ready with our frontcourt this season.

ZS: What do you hope to accomplish this season, as the final chapter of your high school career?

AW: First and foremost to win a championship. That would put the cherry on top. I also want to win the league and help the program grow in here in Orlando. It's only a year, but I'd like to make the most of my time and opportunity here.


                                                            November 9, 2016


For the past several months, Austin Wiley has spent considerable time on the road. The commitment to excellence takes maturity and sacrifice.

 A hyper-competitive basketball schedule has allowed him to visit Spain, New York City, and most recently Florida.

Last month, he spent time in Colorado training with the USA basketball team.

The suddenly well-traveled Center is cognizant that he won't always have his tight-knit, Birmingham-bred family around him.

And so on Wiley's signing day today in Orlando, he spent five minutes FaceTime chatting with his mother, Vickie Orr Wiley.

It was an event Orr Wiley,  back home in Birmingham, Ala., simply did not want to miss.

Sporting a perma-smile and a blue and gray hoodie with AUBURN emblazoned on the front, Wiley inked his LOI and made it official.

"It's a blessing, I'm just glad to get it over with," said Wiley, who chose Auburn over Duke, Kansas, LSU, UAB, and a barrage of other top-shelf high-major programs.

"Not just basketball-wise, it is a great place for me overall. I really enjoyed the school. Even if I didn't play basketball, I would go there as a regular student. That's how much I think of it. I love the family environment."

Auburn represents family both figuratively and literally for Wiley.

The aforementioned Orr Wiley was a legendary basketball player at Auburn, piloting the team to numerous national title game berths. She collected two medals during her career with the United States national women's basketball team.

His father, Aubrey Wiley, played forward at Auburn. He was known as a tactical big man who embraced the physicality of the interior. This was during an era rife with bruisers, when a rougher style was green-lighted.

Wiley's cousin, Auburn alum and former NBA forward Chuck Person, is currently an assistant coach under Bruce Pearl. His other cousin, former NBA guard Wesley Person, played alongside his father during their Auburn heyday.

 Wiley was quick to note his close relationship with Bruce Pearl eventually facilitated a decision of this magnitude.

"Our recruiting class is a group of guys who have the chance to make an immediate impact," Wiley said.

"We all work hard and we all have kind of an edge to us, to where we don't take losing as an option. We're all going to bring everyone together, we should be able to make history at Auburn."