There has been a ton of talk during the offseason about the lack of established stars on this year’s team, with the departure of Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten to the NBA. Nevermind the fact that neither Wroten nor Ross were established stars heading into last year, apparently that same sort of transformation just couldn’t be counted on in 2012-2013. Personally, I disagree, and I am comfortable saying that by the end of this year, we will all consider C.J. Wilcox a genuine scoring star on the level of Terrence Ross.
In fact, he may already be that player. Last season, Wilcox averaged 14.2 points per game despite the stress fracture of his hip that limited him physically and kept him from practicing for most of the second half of the year. He shot over 40% from three point range, and beyond Ross, he was definitely the most reliable, efficient scorer on the team. He also appeared to add to his game significantly. As a freshman, Wilcox was pretty much just a pure shooter. He ran around screens to get open, caught the ball, and shot. Or, if defenses didn’t respect him, he simply walked into shots in transition. However, as a sophomore he began to pump fake and drive inside for mid range jumpers or even floaters or layups. The inside game was raw, and mostly served to open things up for his outside shot, but it was progress.
Now, as a junior, Wilcox isn’t the third scoring option behind Ross and Wroten, he is the first option. He has his health, which also means being able to practice throughout the year and an end to the daily shot limits that were enforced last year. We will now see the full potential of C.J. Wilcox unleashed, and in our first glimpse yesterday against Loyola (Maryland), that translated into 22 points on 69% shooting to go along with 6 boards, an assist, and a block. Not to mention the 4-5 three point shooting.
While Loyola (MD) isn’t an elite team, they are definitely respectable, having made it to the NCAA tournament last season, so I don’t see this as some sort of fluke game. Obviously the shooting percentages are completely unsustainable, but I think 22 points and 6 rebounds is something we will come to expect from Wilcox. Specifically, I see a scoring average of roughly 18-19 points, 45% shooting both from the field and from three point land, and 5 or 6 rebounds a game. For Wilcox, that means serious NBA hype, as his 6’5″ 195 frame is perfectly fine for an NBA shooting guard, and for Washington, that star-level play combined with what I think will be very solid years from Scott Suggs and Abdul Gaddy, will mean a much better than expected year.
Of course, only time will tell if I’m correct in my predictions, but I would not recommend betting against Wilcox’s ability to get the ball into the basket pretty much whenever he wants.