The Wolverine

August 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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76 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2018   COMMITMENT PROFILE T here have been several players over the years named for former Michigan Fab Fiver Jalen Rose, a stand- out in the early 1990s who went on to a long NBA career before becoming one of ESPN's well- known talents. Many of them even became outstanding basketball players. It stood to reason that one of them would eventually end up at Michigan, and it finally hap- pened in May. Denton (Texas) Guyer four-star Jalen Wilson,'s No. 35 overall player in the 2019 class, offered his pledge to the Wolverines over Baylor, Kansas, LSU and others, and he admitted there probably wasn't a close second. The 6-8, 210-pounder had an idea going into his early May visit that he might commit. Any doubt was eliminated the sec- ond he set foot in Ann Arbor. "Coach [John] Beilein and everything he's about — he's such a great coach and great person," Wilson said of the deciding factor. "He took me around campus himself, took me to every single class that I would go to as a freshman, showed me where I'd live. "Most schools it's the assis- tant coach taking you around places, or a manager, but we went to go eat together and every- thing. He told me he wants a com- plete player and said, 'You're a stu- dent-athlete, so you have to have the grades.' "That's real important to him. Bas- ketball is only going to take you so far, and you have half your life to live once you retire. One thing people can't take from you is your brain, what you put forth in the classroom. School is a very high priority in my life." Basketball is, too, and his fit in the Michigan offense was one of the big positives Beilein stressed on his visit. Wilson, a consensus all-state selection and district co-MVP, aver- aged 16.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per contest last season for Guyer, which finished the season 38-2 and ranked No. 4 nationally by MaxPreps. Wilson's ability to score inside and out was what intrigued the Michigan coaches most. Beilein told Wilson he saw him as a future replacement for redshirt junior small forward Charles Matthews. "He showed me where I'd fit in, gave me great words of criticism about my game, how I'd be better," Wilson said. "It was all about the little things for him. I also bonded with all the other assistants. Coach Yak [Luke Yaklich], I started talking to him in the beginning. "I loved the coaches and players. I knew the minute I stepped on cam- pus that was where I wanted to be." Wilson had an outstanding spring and moved up four spots in the rank- ings to his current spot. Guyer coach Grant Long said his player was in such demand for one big reason. "He's a versatile player," Long said. "He plays every po- sition on the floor for us. He can probably play one through four in college. I've had him run at point guard, had him run the wing, I've posted him up … he can do it all. He can defend smaller guys or bigger guys. "I haven't had to set up a press break in three years be- cause Jalen and my point guard can handle anything." Wilson also has the ability to finish at the rim and power his way through contact, Long added, and he's improved his shooting each year. He shot just better than 40 percent from behind the three-point line last year, another quality that makes him a great fit for Beilein. "He's a good passer and good in all areas of his game," Long added. "He has a good basketball IQ. He just needs to continue to improve that to make the right basketball play all the time." Wilson broke the third metatarsal bone in his right hand in early June while battling for a rebound in an AAU game. Cleared in early July, he was ready to return to action. He'll be representing Michigan, in a way, when he gets back on the court, and he's thrilled to have the opportunity. "Growing up, I also loved the Trey Burke [2013] team and loved everything about Michigan," Wil- son said. "The Fab Five was a great, great team, and there was a great documentary on them. I loved it. The Michigan colors always get your at- tention, and Coach B is a great coach. I've always known that. "Even this year in the tournament, I rooted for them. I've always loved Michigan basketball. I'm so glad I'm going to get to be a part of it." — Chris Balas Four-Star Forward Jalen Wilson Is Michigan Basketball's First 2019 Pledge Wilson is ranked by as the No. 35 overall prospect in the country. If that ranking holds, he would be Michigan's highest-rated basketball recruit since Kameron Chatman (No. 25) in 2014. PHOTO BY RON BAILEY Wilson on U-M "I knew the minute I stepped on campus that was where I wanted to be."

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