It’s been quite a busy summer for future Marquette point guard Duane Wilson, and his schedule won’t be getting any lighter moving forward.
No matter, though. This is just the way he wants it.
After winning a state title with 2015 Marquette prospect Diamond Stone for Dominican H.S., Wilson has competed with his Playground Elite AAU team, played in the Whiz Kids Summer League in Milwaukee and, most recently, the NBPA Top 100 Camp this past weekend. He will compete at the Deron Williams Skills Academy this weekend in Chicago, followed by a trip to Florida in July for the Nike Peach Jam.
“I look forward to it,” Wilson said of his packed schedule. “Basketball is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and you won’t ever get this again. I love going to the camps because there’s something new to learn at every single one.”
One camp Wilson said he learned plenty from was the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Virginia, open to the top 2013 and 2014 recruits in the country.
It was a chance for the top-60 recruit to play against some of the nation’s best, but it also allowed him to play with fellow 2013 Marquette commit Deonte Burton. Since Wilson verbally joined Burton in the 2013 class, the two have played together at Marquette in open gym settings (including on Jameel McKay’s unofficial visit) and in the Whiz Kids Summer League, but the Top 100 Camp allowed the duo to show off their skills.
“It was fun to play with him on fast breaks, just throwing the ball up to him on breaks for dunks,” Wilson said.
Both players played together on the “Memphis Grizzlies,” and were teammates with Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Jordan Mickey and Stanford Robinson, among others.
And while Wilson admitted some of the top players weren’t playing as hard and came in with too much confidence, the future Marquette duo wanted to make a statement and improve their games.
“Me and Deonte wanted to prove a point,” Wilson said. “I feel like I got better defensively. I really got a chance to lock up some of the top guards.”
Wilson said he received important advice from Chicago Bulls point guards Mike James and John Lucas III and Washington Wizards guard Roger Mason Jr., all of whom were in attendance at the camp.
“Everything you do, go hard. Don’t take no breaks in the gym, push yourself to another level and do drills on your own,” Wilson said the pros told him. “It was a good experience learning new drills.”
Wilson and Burton also had the chance to do some recruiting over the weekend, “tag-teaming” two particular recruits into looking at Marquette further. A few others inquired Wilson about his relationship with Buzz Williams.
So with the Top 100 Camp in the rear view mirror, Wilson now has his sights set on the Deron Williams Skills Academy. When he heads to Chicago this weekend, Wilson said he has one goal in mind.
“I want to be better with my basketball I.Q. I know when I get to Marquette I won’t just be a point guard, I’ll be more of a combo guard,” Wilson said. “That’s what Buzz wants, for everyone on his team to be versatile. So I need help with my point guard skills, with my decision-making and my I.Q.”
The Skills Academy should help Wilson in his progression as a point guard, but self-motivation has led the way for him this summer.
Hanging in his bedroom, Wilson has ESPN.com’s list of the top point guards in the 2012 class. Currently ranked as the No. 11 point guard, Wilson checks off each name ahead of him after he plays against them. Above the list, Wilson has written, “I MUST be #1 Point Guard in the country before I graduate!!” When Wilson printed off the list, he was ranked No. 16 in the class.
“It really made me play with a chip on my shoulder. It motivates me to go harder,” Wilson said. “I checked off five names at the NBA Top 100 camp, and I have three more to (check off).”
Things also changed this summer for Wilson at Marquette when Tony Benford accepted the head coaching position at North Texas. Benford was the lead recruiter for Wilson and Burton.
But Wilson said his relationships with Buzz Williams, as well as new assistant coach Isaac Chew made it an easy transition.
“Me and coach Benford had a great relationship, but I had a relationship with Buzz, too,” Wilson said. ”Coach Benford and Buzz both recruited me, and I had been going to Marquette camps since I was 10 (years old), so it was really nothing new for me. I wish I could have gotten a chance to play for coach Benford, but coach Chew was recruiting me at Missouri, so I knew him, too.”
Wilson said that, since the texting period began Friday at 12:01 a.m., he has texted and spoken with Chew and fellow assistant coach Brad Autry every day.
Wilson also has bulked up, helping him with his vertical explosiveness and quickness. He credits his improved physicality to his trainer Steve Becker, who trains Wilson year-round. Becker has worked with future North Carolina Tar Heel J.P. Tokoto as well as members of the Portland Trail Blazers. He works at Mike Lee Basketball under Mike Lee, who trained Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder in Milwaukee during Marquette’s school year.
Wilson has shot up recruiting rankings everywhere, and the nation is beginning to take notice. Last night at the Whiz Kids Summer League, Paint Touches had Wilson down for 46 points on 18-of-26 shooting, seven rebounds and four assists. And at each camp he attends, Wilson knows he’s representing Marquette.
“(At Whiz Kids), I was walking around in the MU shorts, and everybody was like, ‘That’s one of the kids going to Marquette.’ At the NBA camp, everyone saw me and Deonte as the Marquette kids,” Wilson said. ”Everywhere I go, I wear a Marquette T-shirt. We want to start something.”