Go back to when C.J. Wilcox committed to the Huskies back in June, 2008 and Husky fans were wondering just exactly where the program was headed. Coming off a 16-17 season, Lorenzo Romar’s first addition to the 2009 recruiting class was an unknown when local All-American guys like Abdul Gaddy, Avery Bradley, and Peyton Siva appeared to be looking elsewhere. Many were confused wit Romar whose strength had always been recruiting, and some even wondered if the program was headed in the right direction. I always held the opinion that one day the Huskies will be playing on Lorenzo Romar Court, but I was a little puzzled with this unknown from Utah.
It now appears that Romar will have the last laugh. The Dawgs turned it around with a Pac-10 Championship season, the recruiting class ended up nationally ranked with the additions of Gaddy and Clarence Trent, and Husky basketball perhaps has a brighter future than ever before. Add Wilcox as another victory for Romar as it appears that the Huskies got away with a major steal in the 2009 class.
What Wilcox Offers Next Season…
In the past when trying to figure out what Romar’s nine man rotation would be I speculated that Wilcox would be one of the guys to lose out and sit on the bench the majority of the time. It seemed like perfect sense because of his slight frame and the depth ahead of him at guard. I even threw out the possibility of redshirting him.
Fast forward to when camp has officially tipped off and I have no idea what the rotation will end up at. Everything coming out on Wilcox has been incredibly high remarks for his shooting ability and surprise athleticism. It seems that Romar may end up forced to play the freshman because of his out-of-this-world ability to shoot from long range.
If Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas show an improved skill at shooting the three ball, then likely I see Wilcox on the bench because there will not be as much of a need for his services at this time. But if there is any sort of struggle, Wilcox could push someone out of the rotation to make space for his incredible talents.
Personally I would love to see a redshirt just so he could continue to get used to this level of play and add more weight onto his frame. Whenever there is an opportunity to save more eligibility for later for a probable four year guy like Wilcox, its hard to argue against with a team as talented as the Huskies (especially if the possible walk-ons prove to be worth something so the team is not just 11 men deep).
But if not I would be just as happy because it means that Wilcox is contributing to the team. His ability to shoot the ball means he could see some serious playing time late in games when the team needs shooter, kind of like how Elston Turner came in against Purdue and nailed that huge three to help swing momentum back to the Huskies.
Wilcox has the talent to contribute to the team this season, but depending on how the rotation is put together it is very hard to judge his role. What is for certain is that he has a very bright future ahead of him in Montlake.
What Wilcox Offers Long Term…
By the time Wilcox graduates he will likely have carved out a very successful career as a Husky with a great chance at a pro career. Everyone needs a shooter, and Wilcox has demonstrated NBA range even in High School.
Whether or not Wilcox sees time as a starter will depend on recruiting (guys like Tony Wroten and Gary Bell could possibly start ahead of him at the two guard) and how he develops the rest of his game. But there is no doubt he will have significant impact on any future Husky team.
All teams need a shooter and a glue guy that can step up at any moment. That type of talent just burst from Wilcox when I see him play, someone who could even take over a game at times.
Think of a perfect world Husky team in two seasons. Norvel Pelle blocks a shot with Josh Smith collecting the loose ball. Gaddy brings the ball up only to dish off to a streaking Isaiah Thomas cutting to the hoop. Thomas then passes out to an open Wilcox in the corner for an easy three. Sounds sweet, huh?
Wilcox seems very similar to former Husky Tre Simmons. The ability to start, take over when needed, shoot very well, and be a key cog to the success of the team. When Simmons transferred from Green River CC he immediately became an important member of team of the bench because of his ability to shoot. By the time Simmons was a senior he was starting for a team picked as a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Hopefully Wilcox can have that type of impact, maybe even a bigger one. Out of the three freshman, its easy to give them all titles. Gaddy is the diamond, someone to be a leader on a Final Four team. Clarence Trent it the most intriguing, with as much upside as anyone in the country. Wilcox may be the key ingredient, the type of player that makes a Final Four team into a championship team.