Wilson who played in high school at Racine Horlick recently decided to transfer to MU after his Freshman yr when Oregon coach Ernie Kent was fired. I was able to catch up with Wilson after his team had just finished their Pro-Am league game.
DoddsOnSports (DOS): "Jamil, welcome back to Milwaukee and to Marquette. "
Jamil Wilson (JW): "Thanks, it's great to be back."
DOS: Give us a little history. When you were in high school, was Tom Crean recruiting you? Then when he left, Buzz Williams continued to recruit you but then you decided to go to Oregon? Tell us about the process…
JW: Tom Crean was recruiting me for Marquette and then when he went down to Indiana. Buzz recruited me when he took over the Marquette job. Then things started happening with my mother passing away, and I decided that I did not want to remain close to home. So, I decided to get away from everything. I went out to Oregon and realized that I left the most important thing (family) back in Wisconsin. Then Coach (Ernie) Kent was fired and then it crossed my mind a bunch of times about returning home. When I thought about coming home and Marquette was in the picture, Marquette has always been in the picture, so I decided to come home.
DOS: You sure look a lot bigger than you did when I saw you playing at Racine Horlick. How tall are you and how much do you weigh?
JW: They have me at 6'7" in shoes and 6'4-1/2" without shoes. I am 212 lbs.
DOS: What is your reach?
JW: 7 foot.
DOS: Just watching you play here at the Pro Am, you sure play bigger than 6'7". You play like a 6'8"or 6'9" player with a long reach. That is especially effective for blocking shots on defense.
JW: The game has been changing so much and if you have a long lengthy body, you have to know how to use it. With the long reach that I have, when I put the ball on the ground, I have a tremendous advantage. I am able to get by people and I am able to get that jump shot off when needed.
DOS: (Dwight Buycks walks by us during the interview.) Now that is a player[Dwight Buycks] who is really blowing up here at the Pro Am.
JW: Oh, he is been a terror right now. He is playing great defense. He is scoring. This is a big season coming up for him. He got 43 in the other gym tonight.
DOS: Have you met [trainer] Todd Smith yet?
JW: I am working out with Todd Smith, the man, right now. He is a wonderful guy, a great guy. He is going to push you every day. He wants you to work hard. He says, "Don't come in this weight room unless you are going to work hard." You have to do everything that he puts in front of you – and I appreciate what he does. In a couple years, my body is going to look really good and I am going to thank him every day with a text message.
DOS: What really impressed me the first time I saw you play in high school at Mark Miller's WBBY HS Christmas Tournament three years ago was your ability at 6-6 to handle the ball. That skill just jumped out at me.
JW: Growing up, my dad always knew that I was going to be tall and I always showed glimpses of being a good player. I liked blocking shots and playing good defense – always playing team defense. When my dad saw my love of basketball, and the coaches all said, "You're tall, get under the basket," but my dad would take me to the community center and he would have me dribble through cones and do various drills outside, zig zag drills, working on my left hand and my right hand – just so I could become the versatile player that I have become today. Not to settle for any one thing but to expand my game.
Try to make myself fit into a new position. Not the power forward but the "point forward." The game requires versatility and it always helps when you can do something with the ball.
DOS: You just stole my next question. What position do you play? It looks as if you can play point, 2G, SF, PF and tonight, you were guarding the five on defense in your last game.
JW: Five positions it is. It doesn't matter as long as I am on the court, I'll play any position. As long as I am playing with these guys, hey, it doesn't matter whether it's point forward, point guard, small forward. If I have to play the center position, that's fine too because I'm pretty sure that I have quicker feet than most centers so I'll just go by them and if I keep working with Todd, I'll be able to guard at the post and it's looking good.
DOS: Thanks for your time…welcome to Marquette.
JW: Thank you.
Here is a highlight video of Wilson from last Friday night.