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Jamil Wilson: “Don’t Let Me Down”

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Editor’s Note: With the Marquette basketball season right around the corner, it’s time to once again drop the comprehensive guide to men’s and women’s basketball here at the Marquette Tribune. We know you’re antsy to get your hands on this year’s Golden  Eagle (in print and online tomorrow) so we decided to give you a little taste of what’s to come.   

By Mark Strotman

Redshirt sophomore forward Jamil Wilson is aware that the expectations of him are high. But as he prepares for his first season on the court for the Golden Eagles, his focus is on meeting one person’s expectations.

His own.

The Racine, Wis., native said people have expected the most out of him ever since he started playing basketball. But Wilson has listened to advice from his father on how to temper those expectations and focus on playing his game.

“(Others’) expectations shouldn’t matter because your expectations of yourself should be higher than theirs,” Wilson said. “And that’s all I can say. Everyone probably expects a lot from me, but I really have to play.”

Oregon fired coach Ernie Kent in March 2010, and three months later, it was announced that Wilson would leave for Marquette. He averaged just 4.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in 16.9 minutes at Oregon, but the athleticism and size that made him a top-30 recruit in 2008 were evident.

Comparisons to former Marquette forward Jimmy Butler have been made, in large part because of Wilson’s similarities to Butler’s stature, both players are 6-foot-7, and skill set. But Wilson, who played against Butler every day in practice last season, said he doesn’t feel added pressure to become the player Butler was.

“(Marquette) brought me here because of my ability as a player,” Wilson said. “Will I be compared to Jimmy with his numbers and production? I probably will be. And if I don’t do as well or do better, you never know, but that’s nothing I can control. I’m just here to play.”

Like Butler, Wilson fits the bill as a “switchable,” a player who can play multiple positions, in Marquette’s offense. He said he has the ability to play both forward positions and guard anyone from the point guard to the power forward.

NCAA rules kept Wilson out of games last year, but the 220-pound forward used his transfer year to become a student of the game, putting in time around the clock to improve his game and ready himself for the following season.

“I think just overall learning the game,” Wilson said of how he improved during his year off. “Observing the game and watching the game and going back and watching things over and over. I have learned so much on this year off, it’s ridiculous.”

Senior forward Jae Crowder said Wilson’s skill set will allow Marquette to give defenses multiple looks on the offensive end.

“He gives us another athletic big body we can depend on,” Crowder said. “As he gets a feel of how we play, he’ll be a great player. So he brings a lot to the table for us.”

Wilson’s size, athleticism and skill set make him an ideal player in Marquette’s offense. But coach Buzz Williams said Wilson needs to continue his progression as he suits up for the Golden Eagles.

“Jamil has really grown, relative to what I believe is important in (Marquette’s) culture,” Williams said. “The difference is now he’s got to continue to grow because he’s going to be in the public eye, and we need him to be really good.”

The hype surrounding Wilson is high. But for him, all that matters is living up to the goals he has for himself.

“I do expect a lot out of myself because that’s part of being a good player,” Wilson said. “You have to push yourself and you have to put pressure on yourself in order to maintain and achieve goals.”

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  1. Jamil Wilson is not Jae or Jimmy, and that’s just fine | Paint Touches - October 18, 2012

    […] as the replacement to first-round draft pick Jimmy Butler going into the start of last season. Expectations soared for the 6-foot-7 redshirt sophomore, as a starting role was all but […]

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