Player Breakdown: Derrick Wilson

(Photo by A. Martina Ibanez-Baldor)

(Photo by A. Martina Ibanez-Baldor)

What he did well: Described by coach Buzz Williams as one of the best defensive freshman he ever coached last season, Derrick Wilson’s best attribute his sophomore season remained his tenacious D. Although it’s difficult to quantify with numbers, as his steal rate isn’t eye-popping, Wilson does a tremendous job at keeping his man in front of him. This is due to his lateral quickness and impressive upper body strength. He isn’t the fastest guy up and down the court, but he reacts very quickly and has the physical tools to prevent penetration.

More importantly, he became a much better defender now that he’s no longer committing fouls every other possession. Yes, he still gets called for hand checks more than any player on the team, but whereas he used to commit 7.0 fouls per 40 minutes last season, he cut that down to 3.6 per 40 this year. That allowed him to stay on the floor for longer stretches of time, increasing his impact on the team.

Still not buying the hype that Wilson’s defense was anything special? Then take Synergy’s word for it. Derrick limited opponents to 0.588 points per possession when isolated against them. Compare that to Cadougan, who allowed 0.737 ppp in isolation. Marquette was at its best defensively when Wilson was at the helm.

He also played the role of game manager very well. We will get to his offensive ineffectiveness in a bit, but for now, it is important to note that even though his minutes and usage went up, Wilson’s turnover rate went down. Buzz can trust him not to turn the ball over, a trait that will carry added significance with young point guards backing him up next year.

It’s easy to forget just how well Derrick played in the early non-conference portion of the schedule. Be sure to read Mark’s analysis from December highlighting that Marquette’s offense was more efficient under his command than Cadougan’s. Obviously he was not able to maintain that pace as the season went on and the competition improved. Nevertheless, it does hint at the fact Wilson does have the capacity to grow.

Picture 2

What he could have done better: Take a second to digest this info. Derrick shot 27.3 percent from the field, 12.5 percent from 3-point range and 45 percent from the free throw line. Those data points were double checked and triple checked, that’s how unbelievable they are. It is not enough to say Derrick was a poor offensive player, he was downright terrible. Yes, his sample size was low as he very rarely looked to score –he only attempted 55 shots, 8 threes and 20 free throws all season– but that still is no excuse for such negative numbers.

Taking another look at the numbers, Derrick ranked in the bottom 8 percent of the country in points per possession (0.476). When you take transition baskets out of the picture it gets even worse as Wilson only scored .386 ppp, ranking in the bottom 5 percent of the country. Keep in mind that this includes DI, DII and DIII schools as well. Yikes.

And while Derrick realized his limitations and didn’t force the issue, that in and of itself became a problem as teams were basically on a power play any time Derrick was in the game. He could be left wide open with absolutely no consequences. This allowed defenses to clog the paint and really key in on Davante Gardner and Chris Otule, limiting paint touches and open looks.

Best performance: This is a difficult category to choose with a player like Derrick, whose stats don’t even come close to telling the full story. On a statistical basis, his performance against Florida would probably get top honors. He scored a career-high six points in 22-minutes of action, taking a career-high five shots and making a career-high give shots. Not to mention that he added two assists, two rebounds and two steals along with the high point total. Yet, most of the production came with Marquette down 20 or more, making it ultimately irrelevant.

Much more consequential was his performance against Butler in the NCAA Tournament. Yes, he failed to record a point or an assist in his 16-minutes of play, but the box score wouldn’t tell you how he helped lock up a shooter with flames coming out of his hands in Rotnei Clarke. His defense on the Butler guard in the first half wasn’t anything to write home about, but he swallowed up Clarke late in the second half. He took away the right hand, forcing Clarke to go away from his hot spot and limited the senior to only six points on 2-8 shooting. Don’t trust my opinion, though, Buzz Williams himself said they wouldn’t have advanced without Wilson’s defense. Case closed.

Worst performance: Again, this category is littered with nominees, many of which could easily take the title. In this writer’s subjective opinion, the Syracuse debacle in the Elite Eight was Wilson’s poorest outing.

He went 0-2 in his 10 minutes of action, failing to record a point, rebound or assist. His lone statistical contribution was a meaningless steal. But it’s not so much that the numbers are disappointing, he went scoreless in 18 games –including the entire NCAA Tournament. What really made this game stand out was that he too fell into desperation mode, launching a three in the first half that was comically off-mark. With Cadougan struggling, he could have been a tone-setter, but fell into the Syracuse trap instead.

2013-’14 outlook: You are looking at your 2013-’14 starting point guard, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, Duane Wilson will challenge for the position and might even play more minutes come Big East time, but if there is one thing that we know it’s that Buzz Williams is as loyal a coach as there is. He respects Derrick’s demeanor and play just as much if not more than any other player. He will be Marquette’s starter at the 1. Take that to the bank.

However, and this is a big however, it is up to Wilson’s offensive progression to determine the number of minutes he will ultimately see. If Derrick remains a meager shooter who can’t penetrate or score, he will remain in the defensive stopper role, seeing about 15 minutes every game. If he can upgrade his shooting to poor or maybe below average, Derrick’s defensive prowess, low turnover rate and understanding of Buzz’ system will see him get the biggest load of the minutes of any player at the point. No matter what, expect Wilson to increase his role with Junior Cadougan gone.


Categories: 2012-13 Review, Analysis, Home, Offseason, Player Review


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