What he did well: Defend. Coming into the season Derrick Wilson knew the only way freshmen see minutes under Buzz is to play defense at a high level and Derrick took it to heart. He became a cog in the defense for offense lineups and saw action in all but two games this year. His defensive performance against Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor was one of the best this season and shows his potential on that end of the floor. With great lateral speed and tremendous upper body strength, Wilson is able to stay in front of anyone.
Yet as good as Wilson’s defense was, he has to stop with the hand checks. Ken Pomeroy had Wilson committing a whopping seven fouls per 40 minutes. In order to get to the elite level defensively, which he can get to, Wilson has to stop committing dumb fouls left and right.
On the offensive end, Wilson didn’t rack up assists but did a great job at not turning the ball over, giving it away only nine times compared to the 24 assists he dished out.
What he could have done better: Offense. No one is expecting 10 points a game from Wilson any time soon, but he at least has to be a threat to score for opposing defenses to respect him and not completely sag off him. Wilson scored 20 points all season going scoreless in 24 games he played. More troublesome than that is the fact that he attempted three shots only once, two shots three times, one shot seven times and no shots 23 times. Not only was Wilson not scoring, he wasn’t even pretending to score. This has to change.
Wilson’s shot isn’t the prettiest, as his 47% from the free throw line shows. He has to raise that percentage by at least 20 percentage points next season. Wilson seemed visibly scared every time he was at the charity stripe, even air balling a free throw this season. This is all a confidence issue. Once he feels confident on the line, he will be able to use his strength to get to the hole more often and won’t be afraid of getting fouled.
Aki’s Analysis: “Defensively, without a doubt. That’s one of the reasons we recruited him, because defensively he can be a star at this level in the Big East. Did I think he was going to get rattled? A little bit. But he’s got that football background, he’s a tough guy, so he has that mentality that he’s not going to back down from anybody. I think our upperclassmen, the other guys on the court, also helped him early in that game to make sure his nerves were there. Junior told him before the game, “Go out there and play your game. I’m there if you need me.” Even though Junior wasn’t on the court, there was a link between the two of those guys and once he got over the early jitters and didn’t turn the ball over, got a couple stops, picked up a foul on Jordan Taylor, I think his confidence grew in that game. And then we started playing well, and he made a lot of really big plays down the stretch. I think he’s a gamer and he did a great job in that game.
And I think his future here is brighter than maybe some people would imagine. Because you look at him, and he doesn’t really look at the basket. But he accepted that role. He knew if he wanted to play this year, Buzz typically doesn’t play freshman a lot minutes, but he knew if we wanted to play this year he had to do it on the defensive end. And we actually had to start encouraging him to look at the basket. He was so used to passing the ball to Jae and Darius and whoever else was on the floor with him, that he just kind of settled into his role. So this is going to be a big spring and summer for him. He had an awful summer going into his senior year, but going into that year he was ranked top 60 in the country. So he has ability, it’s just getting more comfortable looking at the basket and looking for your shot.
It ended up long-term hurting his development on the offensive end because he was so cognizant of defend it, don’t turn it over. He wasn’t aggressive seeking out opportunities to score because he was trying to maintain the game. If everybody’s healthy and we have our full team, that’s fine. But when we started losing bodies we needed him to do a little bit more on the offensive end.
Best performance: at Wisconsin (0 points, 2 rebounds, 20 minutes)
If you just look at the box score, this will seem like a very strange selection for Derrick’s best performance of the year. However, without a doubt those who watched this game can attest to his impact. With Marquette playing without a suspended Cadougan, Wilson laced up his Nikes and played lock-down defense on pre-season All-American Jordan Taylor, forcing him into a season high 5 turnovers. Wilson played his role of defensive specialist perfectly and helped the Golden Eagles come out with a victory in the Kohl hole.
Worst performance: vs Winthrop (0 points, 4 fouls , 14 minutes)
For a player that only scored 20 points on the season, hanging a goose egg in the point column is not the worst thing in the world. However, not being able to tally any positive stats, whether it be rebounds, steals, assists or blocks 14 minutes of playing time against a hapless opponent is. Wilson was still adapting to Marquette’s system in this his third game of his career, but even his defense was suspect, drawing four fouls on the night. The performance didn’t bar MU from getting a W, but it is a night Wilson won’t soon be remembering.
2012 outlook: The point guard position is still thin on depth with Cadougan and Derrick comprising the only true point guards on the team next year. Incoming recruit T.J. Taylor appears to be more tailored to the shooting guard positions while Blue and Mayo will see spot minutes at the one again. But as the game against Florida in the Sweet 16 showed, the team is at its best with Cadougan at the helm. As long as Wilson can play the same type of aggressive defense he showed this year, he will continue to see the floor on a regular basis.
Wilson will need to step up his role on the offensive side though. He has this summer to continue working on his shot, but more importantly, gaining confidence in his abilities. A Division I point guard can’t be afraid to get to the line.
Defensively Wilson will continue to shine. With the experience of having a year under his belt and another summer completely devoted to basketball, Wilson should be able to stop committing silly fouls 40 feet from the basket and learn how to play physically without fouling. Wilson won’t become a star next year, but with added confidence and experience he should be a solid backup point guard.