August 6, 2013

Wilson rising to the top

Kevin McCarthy

6-foot-9 forward D.J. Wilson currently resides at No. 5 in the NorCal Preps 2014 Boys Basketball Top 40. The in vogue question of the day is will he eventually be battling for the top spot?

photo of D.J. Wilson

The Team Superstar and Capital Christian member defines versatility with the ability to ply his skills set anywhere from the one to the five. What delayed his rise to national familiarity - something that was cemented the last few months -- is missing about six months or so due to a sore back.

But Wilson has owned the summer.

He now has Michigan, UCLA, USC, San Diego State, Cal, Harvard, Princeton, Gonzaga, Auburn, Boise State, Colorado, Boston College, Portland, Santa Clara, San Jose State and UC Davis checking him out with Columbia, Pacific, Northridge, LMU along with UC Santa Barbara already offering and the list is only going to get more prominent entries now that he's back 100%.

LeRohn Dodson, his Team Superstar coach, offered this: “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. In our Under Armour Association, he was one of the top kids, period!”

One difference is Wilson isn't just potential -- he combines that with the equally critical element of possessing a motor.

Then there is the matter of Wilson's 3.9 grade point average. This means he will qualify for Ivy League and other prominent academic schools so his list of finalists, whenever he pares it, will be really interesting.

“Growing up, my mom was strict. It was 'education comes first.' So that's a trait I picked up.” Coaches had better take note.

So why basketball for the young man?

“My mom played basketball, I always had a ball in my hands and I was tall for my age.”

There are a pair of individuals Wilson notes as his biggest basketball influences: “my Mom and my godfather. My mom first put a ball in my hands and my godfather really taught me a lot about basketball, like how to shoot.”

As for his back pain, in his time off he undertook a comprehensive development of his lower body.

“I needed to strengthen my core and my hips and I did that.”

Wilson sees his well-roundedness as his best skill.

“My versatility allows me to play and guard all the positions.”

Regarding a best basketball moment, Wilson chose a series of recent matchups.

“Playing against some Top Five and Top 10 players in the country in the UA Association and holding my own.”

Call them his breakout moments.

Asked to assess where he was vis-a-vis his freshman season versus now, Wilson explained, “As a freshman, I wasn't assertive and my confidence level wasn't high. I had skills but didn't use them to my full ability. That's different now.”

As for a college major, he's weighing the options of communications, business and criminal justice.

A query about how his friends would describe him, Wilson responded, “I come off a shy but get to know me and you'll see I can be funny.”

That plus multifaceted on the court.