BROOKLYN, N.Y. — On almost every trip, it seemed like Austin Wiley was pulling down a rebound, or chasing after a loose ball, or doing things that might not have shown up on the stat sheet to help his team win.
Wiley, an Auburn commit, was all over the place during his 26 minutes of action on Saturday in the 11th annual Elite 24 game at Brooklyn Bridge Park. And though his Team Clutch came up short, falling 140-134 in overtime to Team Drive, it certainly wasn’t for lack of effort on his part.
The 6-11 senior-to-be finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, the only player in the game with a double-double. In the process, he earned a share of the MVP award.
Wiley attributes his prowess on the glass to an intense summer workout regimen.
“I got in the weight room a lot,” he said. “I have a long way to go. But I feel like I improved my upper body.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that Wiley was going to leave Spain Park (Hoover, Ala.) to attend a prep school in Florida which has yet to be identified.
Wiley said that he struggled with the decision to leave home, but ultimately felt it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“I’m going to miss all the people at Spain Park and the school,” Wiley said. “But it was just a choice for furthering my education and furthering my basketball talent. I just had to get better as a player and a person, so that’s why I made the move.”
In Alabama, he led Spain Park to the Class 7A final. But in Florida, he figures to face top-quality opposition on a more regular basis. And that was the big takeaway for Wiley from his Elite 24 experience. He saw what facing top opponents could do for his game.
“I feel like I got better,” he said. “It was hard competition. I just got better as a player.”
The No. 19 ranked player in the Class of 2017 by ESPN.com will now look to continue to improve as he prepares to head to Auburn next fall.
This week, though, was all about having fun for Wiley and enjoying his trip to New York.
“I had a great time,” Wiley said. “Great fun. Great fans. Great environment. I had a blast.”