January 25, 2008

Wilson remains focused on junior campaign

When it's all said and done, Jamil Wilson may go down as the most coveted basketball prospect in the history of Wisconsin prep basketball.

A 6-foot-7, 190-pound forward from Racine (Wis.) Horlick, Wilson is not only the top in-state prospect, but also ranks among the nation's elite in the 2009 recruiting class.

Though he has interest from some of the top universities in the country (UCLA, Texas, Wisconsin, Marquette, Kansas, Duke, etc.), Wilson said he does not have any official offers at this point, information that was a bit surprising, but in all likelihood, a situation that will change in the following months.

"I'm not sure about offers, I don't think I have any official offers as of now," Wilson told BadgerBlitz.com Thursday night. "I get a lot of love from a lot of different schools. A lot of different schools stay in touch with my coaches and my Dad. As of right now, I could see my see myself playing with any of the schools recruiting me.

"Things have slowed down a lot because it's during the season," Wilson continued. "I think most of the college coaches are worried about the present. I'm still getting a ton of mail, but there is really nothing new on the recruiting front."

Over the next year, Wilson figures to be the top priority for Marquette's Tom Crean and Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, two head coaches who do not want to see this rare talent escape from their backyard.

"Both are great schools," Wilson said. "They both have great programs and great coaches. It's weird because they are both similar and both different at the same time. Wisconsin is more of a slow down, half-court offense with a hard-nose defense, while Marquette is more of a running team."

When it comes to his final decision, Wilson insists that distance will not be a factor.

"Distance isn't really a big factor when it comes to my decision," he said. "It's a time for you to get away from mommy and daddy and grow up at the same time. It's time to be a 'big boy' as my Dad says.

"I want to go somewhere I can grow up and be away. I want to go through my own struggles in life. With that being said, I don't want to be too far. You know, if I need something it would be nice to call my Dad go out to diner and see him."

When college coaches start pressing for Wilson's services, they may also want to place a call to Wilson's close friend and fellow AAU teammate, Johnnie Lacy, a junior point guard at Milwaukee Bay View.

"Me and Johnnie Lacy are really close," Wilson said. "I always check in with him and we talk about the season and school. Actually, me and Johnnie have talked about going to school together. We had this discussion toward the end of our AAU season.

"One day we were talking about college in general and our coach was the one who brought it up to us," Wilson continued. "It's definitely a possibility. Him and I have been playing together since the fourth grade. Johnnie is my boy, we know each other like the back of our hand."

If a package deal were in order, it would seem Marquette has the upper hand. Crean is shown a good deal of interest in Lacy, while the coaching staff at UW currently does not appear to be pursuing him.

At the same time, Marquette has commitments from a pair of players (Joseph Fulce, 2008 and Erik Williams, 2009) that are comparable to Wilson, a factor that could sit well for the Badgers.

LeBron Hill?

Within a group of his elders, Wilson's ability on the court has been compared to some of the all-time greats, with one comparison that blends two very different players.

"My Dad and AAU coach had this conversation once," Wilson said. "They said I remind them of LeBron James in high school and Grant Hill during his prime. I don't really understand because Grant Hill is really smooth, he can pass it and shoot, while LeBron James is very aggressive and attacks the basket. I thought it was pretty funny."

Currently, Wilson is in the thick of a Southeastern Conference title race with his high school teammates at Horlick. Even with all the interest from college coaches, Wilson remains focused on his junior season.

"The season is going really well, we're 11-2 right now," Wilson said. "We're sitting at the top of the conference, so that's pretty exciting. We take on Franklin tomorrow (Friday) night at home. That is going to be a big game for us.

"This year a lot of people questioned me. I've become a lot more of a passer and I've been trying to get my teammates involved a lot more. I'm very unselfish. I'm trying to get my assist numbers up. I've also been working on a lot of defensive things. I've really focused on my all around game this year, the fundamental things."

Wilson, who is the No. 33 player in the 2009 class according to Rivals.com, said he does not have a timetable for his decision.

Wilson and Lacy, along with Madison Memorial's Jeronne Maymon are regarded as the top three in-state players in the 2009 class.

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