Free agency goes on, and the Nets remain quiet. We continue with our Summer League coverage here, by evaluating Jake Wiley. Wiley has agreed to a partially guaranteed contract with the Brooklyn Nets.
Height/Weight: 6’7 / 220 lbs
Hometown: Bellevue, Washington
College: Montana (1 year), Eastern Washington (1 year)
2016-17 College Statistics: 35 minutes/game, 21 PPG, 9 RPG, 2.8 BPG, 2.5 APG, 64% FG
Jake Wiley is one of the most interesting prospects in this year’s draft class. If you haven’t heard about his unbelievable story, it’s available here.
“I literally woke up one day and said, “I’m going.” It wasn’t even a discussion. There was no process. I woke up and said, “I’m out of here.” I was totally at peace with that decision, my mom was totally against it. Any logical person would be.”
-Jake Wiley, at 14 years old
Wiley has overcame just about every obstacle life has had to offer up to this point. His dad was an alcoholic, he became a father before earning a college degree and he’s witnessed the death of several family members, including his father.
As a young kid, Jake was routinely in trouble and had difficulty keeping his grades up. He never had aspirations to play in the NBA. During his days as a high-school basketball player, Wiley showed glimpses of the player he could become: an athletic, bouncy physical specimen with the fundamental tools to become an efficient player.
As his high-school career went on, Wiley attempted to establish a relationship with his father, Jeff. While he still faced troubles with alcohol, Jeff Wiley began to play a healthy role in the Jake’s life. His on-court performance improved, and more importantly, he felt increasingly obligated to succeed in the classroom.
Unfortunately, Jeff Wiley passed away in the midst of his high-school career. Jake has had to grow up fast because of events such as this. His grandmother and grandfather have also passed away.
Jake received one scholarship offer after his senior year: University of Montana Grizzlies. So, Wiley was on his way to Montana to begin his college career. He had only been playing competitive basketball for four-years before signing on with Montana. Once he arrived on campus, he felt overwhelmed with schoolwork and basketball, which to him, felt like a “full-time job.”
So, after one season, he quit. He averaged 3 minutes per game.
He took some time off, tried running track, tried playing football, but he was not satisfied. As a result, he opted to play NAIA basketball for Lewis-Clark State in Idaho. He shined during this time, and received one more opportunity to prove himself at the Division-I level. Not only did Wiley want the chance at redemption, but also knew what it took to accomplish this feat. He had experienced more than most at his age, and was ready for the challenge.
Wiley played for Eastern Washington as a college senior. After posting impressive numbers and leading his team to a 22-12 record, he was named Big Sky Player of the Year. He further made the case for being a serious talent by displaying his eye-popping skill and athleticism. It was not until then Wiley seriously considered playing in the NBA.
Sean Marks has been searching for high-character players. Does Wiley fit? Absolutely. He’s mature, he’s driven and he’s battle-tested.
Some thought Wiley could sneak into the second-round of the NBA Draft, but fortunately for Brooklyn, they were able to sign him as an undrafted free-agent. He’s now on a two-way contract with the Brooklyn Nets, giving them the ability to move him from the G-League roster to the Brooklyn roster.
Wiley garnered serious interest as the draft concluded. He’s 6’7″ and spends most of his time playing power forward. His vertical exceeds 40 inches. He’ll need to improve his jump shooting, as he only hoisted 7 attempts from beyond-the-arc last year at EWU (he made 5). However, he converted on 83% (159/192) of his attempts at the free-throw line. Free-throw shooting is known to be a solid indicator of how a player may progress from a shooting standpoint at the next level.
The Nets have been searching everywhere for talent, and are bound to strike gold eventually. They have found solid rotational pieces such as Spencer Dinwiddie, Isaiah Whitehead and Sean Kilpatrick. But, the Nets’ ultimate goal is for one of these players to become something special. The Nets could use a break, and Wiley is anxious to seize his opportunity.
You’ll be hearing a lot about Jake Wiley, beginning on July 7th in Las Vegas. Jarrett Allen’s hip injury will keep him from competing in this year’s Summer League, which will only increase Wiley’s role. Be sure to tune in.