Wol Maiwen considered the University of Maine the front-runner among his college basketball suitors for a long time.

Maiwen, who starred at Edward Little High School and recently finished a year of prep school, never thought he’d be part of a wave of homegrown talent that appears bound for Orono.

Edward Little’s Wol Maiwen throws down a dunk during the 2019 Class AA North semifinals at Cross Insurance Arena. Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald

“A lot of people tell me I should play for a team out of state,” Maiwen said. “But Maine is only going to go up with the way coach (Richard) Baron is building that program. I love all of the Maine people coming up. It would be great for a team with so many from Maine to be the first to go to the (NCAA) tournament.”

Maiwen, who led Edward Little to the 2018 Class AA state title, announced his commitment to Maine via social media on Saturday. That was not long after news came out that one of his former high school rivals and AAU teammates, Matt Fleming, will also play at Maine.

Fleming, a 6-foot-7 forward played at Oxford Hills before transferring to Bangor, where he led the Rams to the 2019 Class AA state title after defeating Maiwen and Edward Little in the regional final. Fleming, who originally committed to play at Army, spent this year at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School. His brother, Andrew, recently finished his senior season at Maine.

Last month, Sanford star Leyton Bickford, a 6-foot-6 forward, announced he was committing to Maine. Rumors have swelled recently about other former Maine high school stars considering transferring to Maine.

Known as an intimidating shot blocker and force inside while he was playing center for Edward Little, the 6-foot-5 Maiwen developed his perimeter game in his season at Williston Northampton school in Easthampton, Massachusetts.

“This season helped me expand my game,” Maiwen said. “My shot is a little better. My ball-handling’s better. I’ve gotten a little more confident and attack and get to the rim better now.”

The Wildcats’ season ended Feb. 29. The school is now on an extended spring break and will be offering only online classes when the break ends due to the coronavirus, so Maiwen is back in Auburn working out with Edward Little coach Mike Adams.

Edward Little’s Wol Maiwen dunks the basketball as Windham’s Dierhow Bol watches during a Class AA North quarterfinal basketball game in Auburn in February 2019. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

“He had a great year and he’s so grateful to (Williston Northampton) coach (Ben) Farmer for the academic and athletic opportunities he gave him,” Adams said. “I’ve always said that if you give him an opportunity and a gym that he can go to every day, it makes an incredible difference with him.”

Normally a four (power forward) or five (center) at Edward Little, Maiwen played the three (small forward) and even some two (shooting guard) this season. Refining his skills while taking a year to mature physically and mentally should make a big difference at the next level for the 19-year-old Maiwen, Adams said.

“He’s much stronger now,” Adams said. “And he’s still so athletic. When you add some more skill to an already athletic frame and a great work ethic, you can see a player change and improve a lot.”

Bangor’s Matthew Fleming takes a shot against Edward Little’s Wol Maiwen during the 2019 Class AA North at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald

Maiwen said Baron hasn’t indicated what role he will play at Maine. It’s possible that he could redshirt next year.

Maiwen said he had discussions with New Hampshire, Hartford and Bryant University, but getting a four-year scholarship from Maine with a coach that he trusts kept Maiwen’s sights set on Orono.

“Whatever they want me to do, redshirt or whatever, is good,” he said. “I’ve just  got to keep improving my game and getting a lot better so that I’ll be able to make an impact when it’s time.”

“I think I made the right decision,” he said.


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