Our familiarity to Damon Wilson’s game certainly lagged that of most other top-100 prospects. The Georgia native did compete at the 2013 Pangos All-American Camp, however, where he flashed high-major ability.
But his play there served only as an appetizer, and before he’d truly establish a national rep he committed last fall to Pittsburgh. Jamie Dixon’s Panthers have feasted on Northeastern products over the years, and though Wilson hails from Georgia he has prepped extensively in the nation’s most populated region. He previously attended Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict’s and now competes for Centereach (N.Y.) Our Savior.
This past travel season he toured with Game Elite and No. 1 senior Jaylen Brown on the Adidas circuit. Wilson made another stop at the Pangos Camp, too, and has continued to get stronger and more confident in his talents. He’ll face a challenging schedule this season at Our Savior, which recently dropped a tight contest to Oak Hill Academy while Wilson came through with 19 points.
Versatility ranks highest on the list. A southpaw, much of what Wilson accomplishes is just a touch unconventional. The fact that he can be tricky enables him to benefit from the element of surprise, and he changes speeds very well to lull defenders to sleep and knock them off-balance.
|Wilson’s height presents difficult choices for opposing players and coaches|
Wilson possesses good quickness for getting to the rim and, at 6-4, finishes better inside than most lead guards. He’s comfortable stepping in to mid-range shots and also makes slick passes on the move. In fact, he finished in the top 10 in assists on the Adidas circuit.
Meanwhile, his height and quickness work in concert to allow him to defend either backcourt position. He already causes problems at times and will flourish even further as he gains strength. His averages with Game Elite — 12 points, four rebounds and four assists per game in 15 regular season contests — illustrate his ability contribute in diverse fashion. He also had a positive assist-turnover ratio, something that typically is not the case on the travel circuit.
There’s no one thing Wilson does best, but his dimensions should continue to expand as he matures and develops.
How quickly can Wilson bring one specialization to the forefront? Guys who capably perform multiple functions, but who don’t excel in any one, tend to be fifth starters or all-around role players at the high-major level.
And that’s fine, given their importance to the team and how significant glue guys are to winning big. But if Wilson aspires to take on a key role in the offense and play professionally, he’ll have to develop more go-to scoring. His three-point shooting was errant this year with Game Elite, as he converted just 32 percent from deep. Not terrible, obviously, but not placing him into the shooter category, either.
He also must become more physical and try to use his size to draw contact on drives. He’s a fine free throw shooter (78 percent in the spring and summer), so creating contact and earning trips to the line could effectively boost his scoring.
Ranked No. 77 in the 2015 class, Wilson may need a year to bulk up before he’s ready for heavy ACC action. His first contributions as a starter, whenever that occurs, may be to fill in gaps and provide lineup continuity.
To take the next step and become a featured scorer, he’ll need to address some missing pieces. Fortunately, he possesses what can’t be taught — size, coordination and quickness — to ultimately achieve big things for the Panthers and beyond.