The high school basketball career of senior Sacramento (Calif.) Capital Christian small forward/power forward D.J. Wilson has been anything but easy.
Struggling with back issues stemming from quick and sudden growth spurts throughout his teenage years, Wilson was forced to miss a significant amount of time on the basketball court.
Now, heading into his final season of prep ball, Wilson is healthy and giving college coaches a lot to like as they fly in from all over the country to peer at the skill set of a 6-foot-8, 200-pounder.
“He’s just fine,” Wilson’s coach LeRohn Dodson told GoBlueWolverine. “It’s just, with his back, it was a matter of him growing too fast, basically. He’d have these spurts where he’d grow two inches really quick and it would mess his back up so he had to sit out for a while.
“That’s what he dealt with this year and dealt with last year. Maybe he’s done growing but he seems to be fine health wise. He’s looking good in open gyms.”
Schools that have dropped by to see Wilson practice during the September live period include California, Columbia, Gonzaga (twice), Harvard, Michigan (twice), Northwestern, and Oregon State, though the Beavers have gotten involved late.
The Wolverines head coach John Beilein dropped by the gym to watch Wilson personally. With the Maize & Blue looking to add a stretch four to the mix in the class of 2014, Wilson appears to be just what they’re looking for.
“Just talking to the (Michigan) coaches, I think what it is, is his versatility,” Dodson said. “Him being able to play a combo forward position, play some three and then some four. I think his potential and his ceiling is something that they really like.
“There might be guys that are tougher than him right now but I think they see the potential, just long term, him adding 20-25 pounds of muscle and getting stronger. Him really just being able to become a really good basketball player at that level.
“He can handle it, he can shoot it, can pass it -- very skilled for his size.”
Boasting a similar game and look as former Gonzaga star Austin Daye and former UCLA forward Tyler Honeycutt, Wilson is looking to be different in one area -- potentially playing his college ball away from the west coast.
“He’s very open (to that),” Dodson said. “I actually talked to his mom today for about an hour and we talked about that, the weather, whatever and that not being a problem with him.
“He’s totally open for whatever, doesn’t matter if he stays on the west coast or goes back east or Midwest route.”
Leaning toward making a decision during the fall signing period as opposed to waiting for the spring signing period, Dodson informed FOXSportsNEXT’s Josh Gershon that the Wolverines lead for Wilson in an article posted on Sept. 6.
With a visit setup to Columbia this weekend, Gonzaga the following weekend, and an official visit to Michigan on Oct. 4, could Wilson make a commitment to the Wolverines on his trip?
“He could,” Dodson said. “I’ve been doing this for 18 years, so I understand about the visits and the pressure and what he’s seeing because, Michigan is big time at the end of the day.
“Going out there and seeing that atmosphere puts a whole different (feel to it) -- cause he says that he won’t commit on the visit but like me and his high school coach were talking, and he doesn’t know that for sure.
“It could happen. He could commit. But I think he’ll definitely (make a decision) after that visit.”
Regardless of what school Wilson decides he’d like to attend as a student-athlete at the next level, Dodson believes that program will be getting exactly what coaches are looking for on and off the court.
“I think the main thing is that D.J. is a great kid,” he said. “And I know a lot of people say that about kids but I mean it, he is an absolutely high character kid. Obviously he’s a great student and does well in the classroom but he’s just a kid that personifies what a class university would want in their program.”
Wilson is expected to receive a Michigan offer on his visit to Ann Arbor.