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2011-12 Player Preview: #0 Jamil Wilson

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Since we're a few years removed from his senior season of high school ball, it's easy to forget what a hot commodity redshirt sophomore Jamil Wilson was in 2008-'09.  A stellar junior season for Racine Horlick saw Wilson named to the All-State team, and coming into his senior year, Jamil had trimmed his list of potential college destinations to three: Michigan State, Oregon, and Texas. (He'd eliminated Marquette from consideration, you'll probably recall, after accusing Coach Buzz Williams of playing mind games with him in the fall of 2008.)

Another stellar season at Horlick (20.5 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 3.5 apg) made Wilson a unanimous choice for the All-State team, and, at the end of the day, Jamil was a four-star recruit ranked No. 94 overall by Rivals. In March 2009, Wilson surprised quite a few observers by deciding to play his college ball at Oregon and throwing in his lot with Coach Ernie Kent, who was rumored to be on the hot seat after limping through an 8-22 season and a 2-16 mark in the then-Pac 10 in 2008-'09.  The move, perhaps somewhat predictably, didn't work out well: Jamil managed a couple of decent performances in the non-conference schedule (including an 11-point, 7-rebound effort against Mizzou) but fell out of favor at the end of the year. Wilson didn't even get off the bench in six of Oregon's last nine games and ended the year with a forgettable 4.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.0 apg line.

Coach Kent was relieved of his duties at Oregon a week after the 2009-'10 season ended, which caused immediate speculation that some of his prize recruits might sprint for greener pastures. That was certainly true of Jamil Wilson, though there'd already been rumblings for weeks before that Wilson regretted his decision to move across the country and wanted to relocate closer to home. That bird came home to roost in June 2010, when Wilson decided to play ball 30 minutes from home at Marquette.

Minimum Expectations: This is a very difficult question to answer, given three things: (1) the (well-earned) pub Jamil got in high school; (2) the failure to live up to the pub in his freshman year in Eugene; and (3) the pub Jamil got during his redshirt year last season, when there were whispers that Wilson was the best player at Marquette's practices. In light of Items (1) and (3), I was about to set the Minimum Expectations bar at 12.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg. In light of Item (2), I'm ratcheting the bar down to 10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg. But that's a minimum. Capiche?

In My Wildest Dreams: This question is also hard for me to answer, but for a different reason: I don't know when it happened, exactly, or why, or even how, but at some point along the line, I did a 180 on Wilson. You might remember that I was skeptical as hell when news first broke that Jamil was coming to Marquette. Now? He was the only player I was watching during Marquette Madness. I've drunk the Jamil Wilson Kool-Aid, and I've gone back for seconds and thirds, so I'm going to get a little nutty here:

The last time I heard the kind of "he's the best player in practice, and it's not even close" talk we heard about Jamil Wilson last year was in 2000-'01, when an unknown freshman named Dwyane Wade was sitting out the season as a partial qualifier.

Yeah. I went there.

In My Worst Nightmare: This one's easy: in my worst nightmare, Jamil Wilson is the second coming of Odartey Blankson. In case you're too lazy to click the link, here's what I'm talking about:

After two years at Marquette, "ODB" transferred to UNLV. He believed that leaving MU would get him a better role and closer to the NBA. This was a miscalculation, as he did not get drafted, and missed Marquette's Final Four run.

Officially Unofficial AE Sanctioned Nickname: I started kicking around "Son of Plastic Man" last week, since Wilson's lanky frame and spider-leg arms remind me a lot of former UNLV wing Stacey Augmon. But I'm not beholden to that one, by any means. What else ya got?