Not because Wilbut wasn't developmentally ready for Division I college basketball. That wasn't up for debate, around Downers Grove or elsewhere. But his academic qualifying status, entering the school year, was in serious peril.
"His recruiting was a question mark coming out of the summer," said Wilbut's travel coach, Mike Mullins. "We kept it quiet and worked on his grades and getting those back up. His test scores were fine. He dug a hole on his core courses."
So this past fall, Mullins, Wilbut, and his high school coach collaborated on an academic itinerary that would put Wilbut in position to qualify academically. And the clearer his academic future has gotten, the more his recruitment has picked up.
Tuesday morning, Memphis coach Josh Pastner phoned Mullins to let him know that Wilbut had a scholarship offer on the table from the Tigers.
Mullins said the next step for Wilbut, whose team begins its playoff run tonight, is to narrow his list to two or three schools and take visits to those colleges, which will mostly take place during Wilbut's spring break.
"He's not gonna run around the country taking five or ten visits," Mullins said. "We're gonna do most of prep work before then. We have a pretty good idea of the schools and the needs."
Wilbut, rated a 3-star by Scout, is a prolific scorer who can score from all three points of the floor, Mullins said.
"I think he does the hardest thing, which is score when everyone knows you're trying to score," Mullins said. "He's got deep range. He's very athletic. He's a good free-throw shooter and finisher at the rim. He has a lot of offensive skills."
Wilbut would help replace the likely departure of senior guard Charles Carmouche, who has sat out of game action since Jan. 4 with tendinitis. As he has been cleared by Memphis' doctors, it's unlikely he would be granted a medical redshirt for a fifth year of eligibility.
Mullins said Wilbut would fit perfectly into Pastner's up-tempo, motion offense.
"I think Jerron is a player who is as versatile as anyone in the country, and he'd fit in well with coach Pastner," Mullins said. "Not just with the system he runs, but with the athletes not only on the team but going forward who they're gonna compete with."
Memphis is slated to join the Big East in 2013 in all-sports, which would act as a significant bump in competition. Mullins said quality competition on a nightly basis is a large factor for Wilbut.
"I don't think location is as big a thing with Jerron as competition is and getting to play with and against high level opposition," Mullins said. "That's something he desires and craves to do."