(by EWU Athletics)
In a way, it was a blessing for former Eastern Washington University basketball player Jacob Wiley not to be chosen in the two rounds of the National Basketball Association Draft in Brooklyn, N.Y. But he'll wind up in Brooklyn anyway, as the Nets, Wiley and his player representative – former Eagle Alvin Snow – agreed to terms Friday (June 23) on a partially guaranteed contract. Wiley, who like Snow earned honorable mention All-America honors and was a Big Sky Conference Player of the Year, will begin his NBA career July 7-17 at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Nev. "He had a ton of interest," said Snow, who played for Eastern from 2001-2004 and now works for Worldwide Sports Management. "About 12 different teams were trying to lock him in after the draft. That's why it might have been better for him to not be drafted. It gave us more leverage and we could talk to all the teams who had legitimate interest. We got a feel for what they were willing to offer, and Brooklyn had the best opportunity for him and was the best situation." Wiley was named by Associated Press as an honorable mention All-America selection on March 28, becoming just the fourth Eagle to earn that honor in 34 seasons as a member of NCAA Division I. Snow was the first in 2004, with Rodney Stuckey earning back-to-back awards in 2006 and 2007. Tyler Harvey was the latest to be recognized in 2015. "It is a great day to be an Eagle! No man has worked harder than Jake over the past 12 months and it is absolutely exhilarating to see his dream of playing in the NBA come true," said new Eastern head coach Shantay Legans, a veteran of nine seasons as EWU's coach. "Jake has earned this opportunity, and I know he will find his spot in the NBA and represent the Eags in the brightest light. We are extremely happy and proud of him. Cheney will definitely be catching more Brooklyn Nets games next season!" Snow played in the NBA Developmental League (D-League) and the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) after leading Eastern to the NCAA Tournament in 2004. He went on to a more than 10-year professional career that included stops internationally in Poland, Turkey, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Israel, Cyprus, Slovenia, Ukraine and Kosovo. "It's incredible and it means a lot to both of us," said Snow of being former Eagles playing in the pro ranks. "Jake wants the culture of Eastern Washington University basketball to be more widely understood and appreciated, as do I. This obviously helps that." With his aggressive and productive play from the moment he stepped foot on the Eastern campus, Wiley was on a collision course with the NBA. If he plays a regular season game in the NBA, he'll join NBA veteran Rodney Stuckey (most recently with the Indiana Pacers) as the only Eagles to accomplish that. Eastern has had three previous draft choices in school history. The reigning Big Sky Conference MVP raised some eyebrows with his All-Tournament performance in March at the four-day Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Portsmouth, Va. He then received more than a dozen workouts for NBA teams leading up to the draft. Wiley was selected as the MVP of the Big Sky Conference in his lone season as an Eagle, and went on to earn first team All-District 6 honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He graduated from Newport (Wash.) High School in 2012.Wiley made Big Sky Conference history in the 2016-17 season by becoming just the second player in league history to score at least 639 points and have at least 303 rebounds in a single season in the league's 54-year existence. He finished with totals of 694 and 309, respectively, and no other player in league history has coupled that with at least 58 blocks (Wiley finished with 94 to come one shy of the league record) or a shooting percentage of at least .621 (Wiley finished at .643). Montana's Larry Krystkowiak (now head coach at Utah) is the other player to have at least 639/303 in the same year, and he had 709 points and 364 rebounds in the 1985-86 season. Wiley finished the season ranked sixth in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage (.643), eighth in blocked shots (2.76 per game), 29th in scoring (20.4), 48th in rebounds (9.1) and 112th in free throw percentage (.828). En route to earning league MVP honors, he led the Big Sky in field goal percentage, rebounds and scoring, and was sixth in scoring. In league-only statistics, Wiley led in scoring (24.6), rebounding (10.3), blocked shots (2.5) and field goal percentage (.659). At Portsmouth, Wiley averaged 17.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in three games at Portsmouth to be selected among the 12 players on the all-tourney squad. He made a big impression on the dozens of National Basketball Association and international scouts in attendance at the event, which included 64 of the nation's top college seniors competing in a four-day, 12-game event. "(Wiley) possessed one trait that scouts in Portsmouth seemed to love: energy," wrote Tommy Glasgow from Midmajormadness.com. "Wiley was the engine that powered his team to a pair of victories, and he put up a dominant 29-point, 11-rebound performance on Friday. He displayed some bouncy athleticism on the boards and hustled up and down the court in transition. Facing off against some high-major big men, the 6-foot-7 Wiley more than held his own and was a topic of conversation all week." Wiley scored 15 points and had eight rebounds in his PIT debut, then followed that with a monster game the next day. He made 11-of-14 shots from the field and finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds in 29 minutes of action. Besides ranking sixth in the tournament in scoring and fourth in rebounding, he also made 53.8 percent of his shots from the field (21-of-39), 88 percent of his free throws (10-of-12) and had five blocked shots. He played for K & D Round's, which finished 2-1 in the tournament and also included former Weber State standout Jeremy Senglin. Wiley was married on April 8, then headed for Portsmouth for the 65th-Annual PIT. The tournament took place April 12-15 at Churchland High School. Eastern legends Ron Cox, Rodney Stuckey and Tyler Harvey are EWU's previous NBA draft choices. Cox was the first in 1977, taken by Cleveland in the sixth round (121st pick overall). Stuckey was a first-round choice by Detroit in 2007 (15th) and Harvey was the latest by going in the second round to Orlando in 2015 (51st).