University of Kansas

Report: KU recruiting target Jalen Wilson finalizing plans to visit North Carolina

Top 50 high school senior basketball prospect Jalen Wilson is planning on making an official recruiting trip to North Carolina immediately after his upcoming visit to Kansas, 247sports.com reported Tuesday.

Wilson, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound small forward out of Guyer High in Denton, Texas, is finalizing arrangements to visit Chapel Hill, N.C., on June 3-5, his mom, Lisa, told the 247 Website, “Inside Carolina,” on Tuesday morning. Later in the day, Jalen confirmed to Rivals.com site Tar Heel Illustrated he indeed will be headed to UNC on June 3.

Wilson, the No. 47-ranked player in the recruiting Class of 2019 according to Rivals.com, will visit KU on May 30-June 1.

“Wilson (also) listed Florida and Oklahoma State when he announced he was seeking his release from Michigan, but sources say the Tar Heels and Jayhawks are considered the main contenders,” writes Sherrell McMillan of Inside Carolina.

Wilson recently asked out of his letter-of-intent to Michigan in response to Wolverines coach John Beilein accepting the head coaching position of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Last November, Wilson signed with Michigan over Kansas, Marquette, UCLA and Oklahoma State, his mom’s alma mater. He also considered Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas A&M and Florida State during his initial recruitment.

Wilson averaged 18.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game his senior year at Guyer High.

“Wilson is a skilled perimeter forward with soft hands, touch, and shooting range,” reads Wilson’s profile at ESPN.com. “He can space the floor to the arc and while his percentages can be inconsistent, he’s got the type of stroke that is bound to become an increasing weapon in future years.

“Wilson is far from one-dimensional. He’s a pretty good ballhandler who can drive closeouts, go through the lane with long strides and finish with layup touch around the rim. He can also be a match-up problem capable of scoring over smaller defenders in the mid-post. His soft hands and broad upper body help him to be a high volume rebounder in spurts as well.”

Pointing out weaknesses, ESPN.com states: “He isn’t overly long or athletic and has a naturally stockier build with a thicker lower body. While he fancies himself a big wing, and can operate as such offensively, he’s much more of a 4 than 3 defensively. He needs to continue to sculpt his body and maximize his conditioning while also being more disciplined about getting down in a stance and moving his feet on the defensive end. Offensively, he can struggle to create separation with his dribble against a balanced defender and is much more effective playing off the catch. He’s above the rim in space or the open floor but most often below it in a halfcourt game.

“Wilson is a skilled perimeter forward whose great hands and touch are the basis for his skill, offensive versatility, and even rebounding ability but he’s not an elite athlete and needs to continue to refine his conditioning to maximize his physical tools and minimize his limitations on the defensive end,” ESPN.com’s report concludes.

Wilson is a good friend of another Class of 2019 KU recruit — R.J. Hampton — a 6-5 senior point guard from Little Elm (Texas) High School, who is ranked No. 6 by Rivals.com.

Hampton, who averaged 32.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 6.2 assists last season, is expected to announce soon for KU, Memphis or Texas Tech.

Asked about the Jayhawks on 92.9 FM radio in Memphis, Hampton’s dad, Rod, said Monday: “They’ve got veterans. They’ve got Big Doke (Udoka Azubuike) at the 5. Hopefully Silvio (De Sousa) gets cleared at the 4. Then, Devon (Dotson), if he comes back (it would be) him and R.J. in the backcourt. Quentin Grimes may come back, you never know. They’ve got some experience. That’s the most intriguing thing about them to be honest,” Rod Hampton added.

Dotson, Grimes and De Sousa have until May 29 to remove their names from the draft pool if they wish to return to college.

“He’s ready (to pick a school),” Rod Hampton said of R.J. in Monday’s radio interview. “He said, ‘When it (recruiting) first started, this is kind of cool.’ He said, ‘Dad, everything I put on social media, every time I go somewhere, everybody asks me where am I going, what am I doing?’ It’s getting to him. We’ve got a date (for announcement) in our mind. We’re not going to waver.”

Predictions

Things obviously can change quickly in recruiting, but as of Tuesday, Rivals.com analyst Corey Evans is projecting Wilson and Hampton to KU.

“Kansas remains my prediction for Hampton due to the Jayhawks’ need for an elite guard talent,” Evans writes, noting Memphis would still have room for Hampton if Arkansas-Little Rock graduate transfer Rayjon Tucker elects to stay in the NBA Draft rather than play one season at Memphis.

Of Wilson, Evans writes: “North Carolina has had good conversations with him in recent days … However, my best guess is that the Jayhawks fill their small forward need with the top 50 senior before mid-June and attempt to secure his commitment before he leaves campus next week.”

Lawson in Charlotte

Former Kansas forward Dedric Lawson worked out for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday with Francis Alonso, UNC-Greensboro; Jalek Felton, BC Nokia (Finland); Jessie Govan, Georgetown; Myles Powell, Seton Hall and Marial Shayok, Iowa State.

Former KU point guard Devonté Graham, who just finished his rookie season in Charlotte, watched some of Lawson’s workout.

“Just being in a great city like Charlotte is amazing for me,” Lawson told NBA.com after his workout. “Devonté Graham is on the team. He always tells me how great the city is. I’m glad to be here. He was my roommate last year when he was at Kansas. I used to talk to him quite a bit just seeing how it’s going. He said, ‘I’m working.’ He was in here earlier (Tuesday), telling me, ‘Just be you.’ That got him to the point where he’s at. He knows I’m ready for the moment.”

Lawson said he’d love to play for Charlotte in 2019-20.

“That’d be great. I never had a chance to play with him (Graham) on the court,” said Lawson, who practiced but did not play in games during Graham’s senior year (2017-18) in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.

“I love playing with him at practice. He’s a great human being to be around. He has a great personality, high IQ for the game. He was on the best team I’ve been around (2017-18 Jayhawks who reached Final Four), even though I didn’t play with him,” Lawson noted.

On Monday, Lawson, Grimes and De Sousa all participated in a workout with the Chicago Bulls as did Clayton Custer, the Blue Valley Northwest graduate who played in the Final Four for Loyola during the 2017-18 season. Dotson, meanwhile, worked out for the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.

De Sousa has been waiting for the NCAA to respond to KU’s appeal of a ruling that, if not overturned, would keep him out of action during the 2019-20 college season.

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and rescues them from all their troubles. Amen,” De Sousa wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

De Sousa has until May 29 to remove his name from the draft pool if he wishes to return to college.

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