Every single college basketball team has “the guy”. You know, the one player that dominates a majority of the games and is the most loved person on his respected campus. For Marquette, Jamil Wilson could have been that player.
After Vander Blue controversially decided to forgo his senior season to take his shot at the NBA, the Golden Eagles were searching for a player that would take them to new heights. Wilson fit that mode.
In the two seasons after transferring from Oregon, Wilson improved his point per game from 7.1 to 9.7. Labeled as “the most athletic player” on the roster by head coach Buzz Williams, the Wisconsin native has developed into an above average defender. As a vocal senior on a team that needed veteran leadership, Wilson was penciled in to take over and guide the Golden Eagles to another NCAA tournament appearance.
Sitting at 14-10 (6-5 Big East) Marquette finds itself on the outside looking in at the NCAA tournament picture. Needing upsets over Villanova and Creighton to be strongly considered to enter the field of 68, someone needs to step up for the stretch run. Enter Wilson.
Wilson is the most consistently inconsistent player in college basketball. One game he plays to his potential, like his two most recent performances against Butler (17 points on 6-9 from the field) and Seton Hall (25 points, 10 rebounds, 8-14 from the field). However, other games he plays as well as a walk on (vs St. John’s 1 point, 4 rebounds, 0-5 from the field).
Whenever Wilson is on, Marquette is competitive. Whenever Wilson cannot find his touch, the Ohio State game for instance, Marquette falters.
Now, what does Wilson need to do the rest of the season?
I have given up on expecting Wilson to be a top player in college basketball. All he needs to be is a top player in the Big East. He needs to embrace the “leader” label in the right way, which he has not been doing. With his play this season, he has displayed that there is a wrong way to lead on the court.
This season Wilson has decided to take shots late in the game, which he should be doing. The problem though is that those shots are ill-advised and take place when a teammate is wide open. This horrendous decision making has cost Marquette games. With every contest a must win, Wilson needs to tinker how he approaches his role or the Golden Eagles’ dream to go back to the dance will be over.