With the 2014-2015 season now in the books, we take a moment to look back at the performance that each member of YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles this year. While we're at it, we'll also take a look back at our player previews and see how our preseason prognostications stack up with how things actually played out. We'll run through roster in order of total minutes played (lowest to highest). This year's reviews wrap up with today's installment, which is focused on the same player as last year's finale.
#12 - Senior - 6'1" - 210 lb.
What I Think We'll See
I honestly have no expectation that we'll see anything different from Wilson this year than what we saw last year. Solid ball handling, good passing, nice defense. Any difference in his game that we see will likely be due to the random cast of the die as to who is on the floor with him. I maintain that a nice rotation of Matt Carlino, Duane Wilson, John Dawson, Jajuan Johnson, and/or Sandy Cohen next to Derrick will radically alter how Marquette looks on the floor compared to last season. Given that, it's completely possible that Derrick could have a season that is statistically similar - both traditional and advanced metrics - but he'll appear to be playing much, much better.
What I Want To See
An aggressively minded Derrick Wilson, taking the ball to the rack on a regular basis, drawing fouls and draining free throws. Even if he's not comfortable shooting three pointers or mid-range jumpers, Wilson has to be better at shooting free throws this season. He's a career 44.7% free throw shooter, and that CAN NOT continue. It's possible that Wilson's desire or interest in shooting the ball is tied to his free throw percentage, meaning perhaps he doesn't want to end up in a situation where he's costing the team points because he drew a foul and misses both free throws. He did hit three of four freebies against Wisconsin Lutheran, so hopefully that is a good omen.
What I Don't Want To See
The same old Derrick Wilson looking like the same old Derrick Wilson. He's a perfectly competent point guard, as long as he has pieces around him that mask his weakness. Marquette is going to play hard and fast this season, and that should help Wilson. But if the other players around him struggle - if Carlino isn't hitting threes, if Jajuan Johnson doesn't break out of his shell, if Duane Wilson takes a while to acclimate to Division 1 - it's going to leave Derrick out on an island, doing what he does best, but still looking like the same player who can't help spark his team's offense.
Here's what we learned about Derrick Wilson this season: He's never going to be a guy you want shooting the basketball.
That's not to say that his confidence didn't improve and that's not to say that he didn't actually get better as a shooter. His confidence was obviously way up, as he shot the ball more than he ever has at Marquette. He got significantly better at shooting, too. His field goal percentage, 3 point field goal percentage, and free throw percentage were all career bests.
Derrick just never turned into a good shooter.
This doesn't mean that he had a bad season, either. In fact, Derrick might have fit better into this particular Marquette team than he did into last year's squad. After a season full of being paired with the one trick pony that was Jake Thomas and the always erratic Todd Mayo, Derrick had more reliable running mates this season. Matt Carlino wasn't just a shooter, accounting for nearly four times as many two point attempts as Jake Thomas did, while Duane Wilson, even as a freshman, was a much more reliable option for the Golden Eagles.
As a result, we got a career best season from Derrick, even if the win-loss record for the team didn't show it. He posted career bests in minutes, points, rebounds, assists, blocks, offensive rating, effective field goal percentage, true shooting percentage, defensive rebounding rate, assist rate, and as a sweet bonus for those of us that remember freshman year Derrick, a career low in fouls called per 40 minutes.
Even head coach Steve Wojciechowski originally underestimated what Wilson could contribute to this team. Wilson didn't start in Marquette's first three games of the season, and played less than 20 minutes in the first two. He got the nod in the next three, but even with a short lived trip to the bench for the start of the next two games, Wilson never played less than 24 minutes for the rest of the season. While he might not be a scorer, Derrick Wilson proved yet once again that his stone cold reliability everywhere else on the court meant that Wojo needed him out on the floor as much as possible.
But with everyone save for Jajuan Johnson (a game-high 19 points, 3 steals) flailing around him, the always-steady Derrick Wilson came to the rescue. Tenaciously attacking the rim, snaring three offensive rebounds, clamping down on Tyler in the last 10 minutes, even rattling home a deep 3 with a minute to go (and earning effusive praise from Dickey Simpkins at every step along the way), De. Wilson was the man of the match with an impressive 15-9-6 line, with just one turnover.
Season Grade, on a scale of 1-10: Look, maybe it's a low bar for Derrick. But I think he cleared the bar we set for him easily. He busted his hump over the summer to get better and had to prove himself to a brand new coaching staff. He had the chance to go out on a high note as a senior from a personal point of view, and he absolutely took advantage of that opportunity.
While I'm happy with what we saw from Wilson this season, from an objective standpoint, I can't go totally nuts with the grade. I'm comfortable going with a 7, though. He exceeded expectations and had his best season at Marquette, so we have to end our Player Reviews on a positive note.