Hoops Hello: DJ Wilson Comment Count

Brian October 6th, 2013 at 2:38 PM


Wilson pictures are thin on the ground. Via Rivals.

CA SF/PF DJ Wilson has committed to Michigan. Informative update…



Rivals Scout ESPN 247
3*, #135 overall 3*, NR 3*, NR overall
#52 PF
3*, #219 overall
#49 SF

Wilson's ratings are pretty meh. He's a skinny 6'9" kid who was injured for much of the all-important evaluation periods the last couple years and put up about ten points a game when healthy. So those rankings are legit, for generic club X.

For Michigan, he's a fit for what they want to do and may outperform the middling-at-best expectations above. John Beilein likes three things: length, shooting, and intelligence. Wilson brings all three in spades. His AAU coach:

"D.J. can shoot it, handle it and pass it at 6'9 and is just scratching the surface in his basketball career. He is going to surprise a lot of people. He's a great kid and an extremely hard worker who wants to be really good at his craft. Schools just wanted to see if the back was an issue and clearly it's not."

At 6'9", he's a jumbo wing in the extreme or good-sized stretch four. He's got a sweet jumper with range out to three, and he's a 4.0 student who took an official visit to Columbia. The one in New York.

That back issue held him out for the entirety of last year's AAU circuit, which held his rankings down. He missed a big chunk of this year's, as well. This is from late July:

The last player into the 2014 Rivals150 at No. 150, D.J. Wilson has been sidelined by injuries for most of the past six months. Finally healthy, the 6-foot-8 combo forward from Sacramento (Calif.) Capital Christian is starting to show some things. …

What jumps out immediately about Wilson is his ability to stroke deep jump shots and the ease with which things seem to come to him on the offensive end. Because of his size and skill, he plays as a both a plus-sized wing or a face-up four who can stretch defenses and knock down shots.

Another evaluation from that tourney:

DJ Wilson had the college coaches buzzing with his play. Standing at 6’8” with a skinny frame, Wilson showed off a text book jump shot and went 3-3 from behind the line in a strong first half performance. His shot was smooth and effortless with range several feet behind the arc. When pressured Wilson used a pump fake to drive to the basket and finished with a soft floater.


Has a knack for doing a lot of things on the court and being very efficient. Wilson rebounds the ball well, handles, looks to get contact in the paint, and shows a nice touch with his left. Uses his length to his advantage on defense as well.

Here a lack of ridiculous athleticism is made up for by sheer length and craft.

A lack of assertiveness and questions about his energy level are the other consistent complaints, which get referenced even when he's playing well. Scout:

…back on the court Saturday and looked really good. Wilson hasn’t stopped growing and has now hit the 6-foot-8, 6-foot-9 range, only adding to his value as a prospect. Wilson played harder than he has in the past, scored on the offensive glass and hit three triples off the catch. He’s a project but no doubt has upside.

ESPN's evaluation loves his upside ("quintessential frame with long arms and overall great length"; "great ball skills"; "impressive" three point shot") but lingers on a lack of energy exerted on both ends of the floor, especially when it comes to rebounding and defending. Hopefully that's an evaluation impacted by the lingering back issues.

Those back issues are a concern, as they had the specter of something chronic with their duration and consistent flare-ups. The CU Rivals site has the best description of what went down there:

The spring was a successful one, until injuring his back and having to sit out the July live period. An inconsistent recovery looked to be completed when Wilson averged 15.4 points per game over the first seven of the season.

But problems with his back creeped back up, eventually keeping him out of this past spring evaluation period because of inflammation.

"I could have played but I'd rather wait until summer," he said of sitting out the spring. "I didn't want to risk anything."

FWIW, his doctor told Wilson that the injuries were "things that only happen once."


Likes ice cream.



Wilson had offers from Gonzaga, Cal, Colorado, USC, Harvard, Columbia, and a few others. There were reports that everyone who lost out on Chatman (Oregon, USC, and Arizona) tried to get Wilson to dump his M visit and visit them this weekend, FWIW.


Square root of negative one fakes. You can't write i these days without getting it autocorrected at the start of a sentence.


Junior year video:

UMHoops scouting video:

Wilson features extensively in a recent Capital Christian workout video that is for hardcore folks only:

One-on-ones start at about seven minutes and are the most interesting bit. Also the difference in Wilson's body from video one to this recent one jumps out; guy has done a lot of work despite the back injury.


If you're still betting against Beilein's ability to unearth talent, you're hanging out at the penny slots swearing a lot. Don't sweat the rankings too much. Wilson's a high-upside project who fits well with Beilein's system and is a good bet to maximize his potential. He's an academic fit who should be able to generate shots with his brain in Beilein's system, and his injury makes it likely he's underrated.

ESPN compared Kam Chatman to Tayshaun Prince, but it's Wilson who's eerily reminiscent of the lanky 6'10" shooter and long-armed devil, down to that baby hook in the lane that is one of Prince's go-to moves. Wilson brings the stretch four shooting and good-enough driving ability that Prince does; he's skinny and lacks crazy athleticism but is also good enough in those areas.

The downside here is Evan Smotrycz: a quality-shooting stretch four with the ability to get to the basket who's allergic to rebounds and defense and eventually drives Beilein so crazy he bites his head off like a bat. Then he transfers to Maryland. Wilson, not Beilein. Or the bat. Bat's dead, bro.


Wilson fills one of Michigan's combo forward slots; since they were willing to take both Wilson and Donte Grantham it seems they will woo a few guys going forward, most prominently Australian transplant combo forward Jonah Bolden.

Bolden's recruitment will end in the spring; Michigan's pursuit of a shooting guard is going to conclude much more quickly, with both IN SG James Blackmon Jr and MS SG Devin Booker likely off the board by the end of the month. If Michigan gets one of those plan A SGs it's status quo—unless there's attrition, Bolden or bust for scholarship #5 and only if Bolden plays like a must-take—but if they miss on both they might hold onto scholarship #4 if they feel confident in Bolden and confident they can get away with a class consisting almost entirely of skinny combo forwards, especially if OH SG Javon Bess is off the board to Michigan State by then.

Can they? I think so unless they're getting early entry vibes from Stauskas. He'll have two more years when this class arrives, as will Caris LeVert. You could even slide Zak Irvin down if you wanted; Michigan does just fine with SGs who are more shooter than penetrator, and gol dang if that's not a huge lineup.



October 6th, 2013 at 3:12 PM ^

...screams Beilein system kid. He'll benefit from a year of Sanderson's S&C program and scout team duty before he's called upon to contribute.


October 6th, 2013 at 4:34 PM ^

I love the Ivy offers, especially the one from Harvard.  Amaker has been doing some good work there, so if he likes a kid it probably means he's not just a fit academically but can compete.


October 6th, 2013 at 6:03 PM ^

Love how we seem to be getting guys who either contribute early then leave for the league, or guys with big upside who stay all four years and contribute late.


October 6th, 2013 at 8:56 PM ^

I don't really see the Smotrycz comparison at all, really...

I really like the pickup, however....

2014 Team looking pretty good???


PG- Derrick Walton, Spike Albrecht

SG-  Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert

SF-  Zak Irvin, Kameron Chatman, DJ Wilson

PF-  Mark Donnal, Max Bielfeldt 

C- Jon Horford, Ricky Doyle



October 6th, 2013 at 9:31 PM ^

PG - Walton, Albrecht

SG - Stauskas, Levert

SF - Irvin, Chatman

PF - Donnal, Wilson (if not redhirted)

C - Horford, Doyle

This is before a potential (fingers crossed) Booker/Blackmon addition to the class and doesn't account for the flexibility with a lot of those players.


October 7th, 2013 at 10:56 AM ^

Agreed - I don't think Wilson ever plays the 3 at Michigan. First, because we have a lot of wings ahead of him, but he just looks like the type of 4 JB loves. I don't think he redshirts, but I think he spends his frosh year playing sparingly while he develops and then he'll be a full time PF from his Soph year on.

True Blue Grit

October 7th, 2013 at 10:45 AM ^

He'll need some time to develop, but I can definitely see the upside.  Also, he's the kind of kid that will stay the full 4 years I believe.  The program needs those types of players in addition to the two and dones.  Welcome aboard DJ and keep eating those big sundae's!!