A deeper look at KU basketball target Jalen Wilson
By now, you’ve probably at least heard the name Jalen Wilson mentioned a time or 20 in connection with Kansas basketball.
And, yeah, it appears as if there is mutual interest between the 4-star guard who recently requested his release from Michigan and KU, making a future pairing easy to see.
What you might not know, however, is exactly who Wilson is or how he got to this point.
So let’s take a look.
Originally pegged as a Top 50 recruit in the Class of 2019, the 6-foot-8, 210-pound Wilson was destined to join the Wolverines the moment his recruitment began, having been named after former Michigan legend Jalen Rose.
That, of course, did not keep other programs — including Kansas — from going after him. But nearly a year ago now, Wilson chose Michigan over finalists Baylor, Kansas, Marquette, Oklahoma State and UCLA.
He did so in style, too, releasing a 2-minute Twitter video in which he copied Kyree Irving’s “Uncle Drew” persona with “Uncle Lue,” who went to a local court in Dallas to play some pick-up games and announced his decision to attend Michigan at the end.
MY DECISION HAS BEEN MADE… pic.twitter.com/Z4rvamWi0F
— jwill (@thejalenwilson) May 30, 2018
The biggest reason for his pick was his relationship with Michigan coach John Beilein, who recently was hired away by the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. And it’s Beilein’s departure that laid the groundwork for Wilson to reopen his commitment.
“We are thrilled to have a player of Jalen’s caliber join the program,” said Beilein in a news release after Wilson’s signing became official last November. “He is a strong, physical wing with the ability to score in a variety of ways… His versatility gives him the ability to play multiple positions on offense, and his strength allows him to be able to come in and be an impact defender.”
A four-year varsity player at Guyer High in Denton, Texas, Wilson averaged better than 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in high school and also scored nearly 20 a game while playing on the Gauntlet AAU circuit.
With his signature back up for grabs — 247 Sports’ Brian Snow recently reported that Wilson plans to consider KU, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and Florida this time around — the Jayhawks have become a popular pick of many recruiting analysts given Wilson’s close friendship with 5-star prospect R.J. Hampton, who sits at the tippy top of KU’s current wish list.
There’s little doubt that the two would love to play together. And landing both players would be a huge turn of events for the Jayhawks.
While there remains a lot of work to be done to get Wilson into a KU uniform, three Rivals.com recruiting analysts are giving KU the early nod.
Eric Bossi and Corey Evans both called KU and UNC the “front runners” and added that it’s likely a “two-horse race” between Kansas and Carolina.
Added Dan McDonald: “I probably lean towards Kansas here. The Jayhawks were in strong the first time around and the possibility of pairing him up with his buddy R.J. Hampton could be a big deal. All four programs involved make sense though.”
KU assistant Jerrance Howard played a strong role in recruiting Wilson the first time around and likely will be a factor in the weeks ahead, as well.
Here’s a look at some Wilson highlights, which, to me, bring to mind a mixture of Kelly Oubre, Perry Ellis and a stronger Lagerald Vick.
• BONUS VIDEO!!!!
Hampton (No. 14 in white) vs. Wilson (No. 10 in black)