Marquette Year in Review: Jamil Wilson

Photo by Anthony Giacomino/Paint Touches

Photo by Anthony Giacomino/Paint Touches

We apologize for these player reviews being so late into the offseason — Marquette played its last game nearly two months ago — but that pesky thing called the real world got in the way. That, and the coaching chance made us put these bad boys on the back burner. We’ll try and give you some good information while also linking back to the stellar work Anonymous Eagle did on its respective player reviews. We’ll have a dab of Synergy, a touch of KenPom and our own eye-test analysis to break down exactly what each player did well, where he struggled and how he can improve for next season. For the seniors, that final part will be replaced with where he’s headed post-Marquette.

Past player reviews

4/28: Deonte Burton
4/29: Juan Anderson
4/30: Steve Taylor
5/1: Todd Mayo

5/2: John Dawson

Jamil Wilson, 6-foot-7, SF

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where that first report came from, that redshirt freshman Jamil Wilson was the most talented player in practice during his off-year, but it did him absolutely no favors for the expectations piled on him from that day on. The former top-40 recruit with an NBA body and elite athleticism was thought to be a perfect fit for Buzz Williams’ up-tempo, interchangeable offense with room to grow as he caught up with the speed of Division I basketball — he averaged a paltry 4.7 points on 43 percent shooting and 3.2 rebounds in 17 minutes per game as a freshman at Oregon.

Willson was supposed to be the taller version of Lazar Hayward, the more athletic version of Jimmy Butler; he was supposed to be the picture next to the word “switchable” in Buzz Williams’ dictionary, the player who didn’t need to rely on heart and grit to win games — the Marquette stereotype — but instead talent and athleticism. The hometown kid had returned back to Milwaukee after watching Marquette in the NCAA Tournament and wanting to be part of that group, wanting to be the leader of that group.

He was an exceptional role player as a sophomore and junior, and he had his moments early in his senior year. It included a 24-point explosion against Cal-State Fullerton, nearly singlehandedly brought Marquette back on the road against eventual Final Four Wisconsin and went for an impressive 17, 7 and 6 against IUPUI. The flashes were never the problem for Wilson, and at times there was no question who the best player on the floor, for either team, was.

[MORE: Jamil must become Marquette’s heart and soul]

As we wrote in March, there seemed to be a glimmer of hope in his senior season, when in a five-game stretch in early February he averaged 17.2 points on 48 percent shooting and 7.6 rebounds during Marquette’s 4-1 run. But in his final five games, he averaged just 8.2 points on an ugly 26 percent shooting while the Golden Eagles reversed their record, going 1-4 to miss out on both the NCAA tournament and NIT. No one person can be blamed for Marquette’s misfortunes this season, but he was the one player with the talent and experience to reverse them and it never happened.

If there’s one statistic that really jumps off the page, it was Wilson’s isolation numbers. In 21 possessions, he shot 5-for-22 (23 percent) and had just five more attempts than Derrick Wilson. That “killer instinct” label (or lack thereof) that seemed to follow Jamil Wilson wherever he went was pretty evident here. Trying to avoid cliches as best as possible, Wilson was the type of player expected to have an “eft it” attitude when the going got tough and Marquette needed a bucket. Again, it never happened.

[ANONYMOUS EAGLE: Jamil Wilson’s 2013-2014 player review]

On the other end, Wilson was Marquette’s second best isolation defender, showing off that athleticism and long frame. He was also phenomenal in the post, allowing opponents to shoot just 36 percent in 30 such possessions. His Defensive Win Shares (1.5) led Marquette and there’s a strong case for Wilson being the Golden Eagles’ best defender, which means something even if he didn’t reach the expectations most had for him.

So now the question becomes what’s next for the talented junior. And as’s Carl Berman wrote, things seemed to go pretty well.

The Marquette standout was impressive at the PIT. He averaged 18 points per game and six rebounds. He has a nice skill set. He can put the ball on the floor. He has good court vision. He is a very good athlete. He is also a threat from beyond the arc. The question with Wilson has always been effort and consistency. A player who lacks effort and consistency is probably not a player who has the dedication to work hard enough to improve. How hard he works and the improvement that results will be the key that determines whether he has a shot to play in the NBA.

It’s probably a stretch to think Wilson has any shot at being drafted, but a team may take a late second-round flier on him (as always, the Marquette brand could work wonders). More likely is Wilson earning a spot in some team’s training camp with a shot to earn a roster spot if his outside shooting continues to improve.

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Categories: Analysis, Home, Player Review


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