With his commitment to Michigan on Sunday afternoon, 6-foot-9 stretch four DJ Wilson became the fourth member of a 2014 recruiting class that is finally rounding into form.
The commitment was Michigan’s second in six days, with Kameron Chatman commiting to play for John Beilein last Tuesday. Wilson’s verbal largely shores up Michigan’s need at the four position — though Jonah Bolden will likely be in the mix once he registered a standardized test score — and for now the coaches will turn their attention to the two guard position. It appears to be two-man race between James Blackmon Jr. and Devin Booker, the latter of whom joined Wilson for his visit to Michigan on Friday and Saturday.
Going into this visit weekend, Wilson was considered by many to be a lock to commit to the Wolverines. However, during a conversation with Wilson on Sunday, he said that wasn’t necessarily the case.
“When I visited Gonzaga, I really liked it there and I was kind of torn between the two,” Wilson said. “I talked to my close circle and decided I needed to go to Michigan and see what that’s about and go from there. Saturday night, last night, I talked to my mom about it. We felt like it was the right place for me. The visit counted for a lot, but honestly talking to the coaches for a while helped me a lot and made up my mind. That’s when I committed.”
“It was just talking to the coaches and the players. I decided I’d take a visit there and see if I liked the team. It’s also one of the top public academic institutions in the country,” he said. “I’m really big on my grades, so it was the best of both worlds as far as the basketball team and where that is, and being the cream of the crop academically. I couldn’t go wrong.”
Wilson arrived in Michigan on Thursday, grabbed breakfast with the coaches on Friday morning, watched practice and hung out with the current Michigan players afterward. On Saturday, he toured the campus and was able to speak with some faculty as well as academic support directors in the athletics department.
And then came Michigan’s football game, a 42-13 homecoming win over Minnesota.
“(The game) was crazy. I’ve never been to a real college football game before,” Wilson said. “For that to be my first game, I liked it, it was crazy. I mean, 110,000 people all in one place — and the football team won too. It went well.”
Before the game, Wilson got to spend some quality time with the current Wolverines, and came away confident of the team atmosphere.
“They all have their own personalities. They’re all characters — Mitch (McGary) and Glenn (Robinson III), Caris (LeVert), all of them,” Wilson said. “I like them all. I could see myself playing with them. Maybe not so much Mitch and Glenn because they might leave, but the other guys. I enjoyed hanging out with them. They really liked me and I really like them. It was kind of like they were all brothers and that’s what I’m used to.”
While Wilson clearly enjoyed his time spent with the players, it was clear from talking to him that the coaching staff was one of the major deciding factors in his decision. Already having developed a relationship with Michigan assistant LaVall Jordan throughout his recruitment, Wilson was impressed by the closeness of the whole staff.
“For one, coach Beilein is one of the best coaches in the country with what he’s done with this program,” Wilson said. “Coach Vall, coach Bacari, coach Meyer, they’re all really close. You don’t really find that too often with a coaching staff, but they’re always hanging out together and they’re all characters, too. Coach Vall and coach Bacari, they’re all really funny and stuff. Coach Vall was the one recruiting me, so I’m really close with him.”
A few weeks ago, Michigan was still searching for its answer at the stretch four; now, with the additions of Chatman and Wilson, the Wolverines appear to have at least opened up their options. Chatman is more of a wing player and Wilson is more suited for the post as far as his skill set goes, but both are highly versatile skill players with lots of developing left to do.
Wilson had a good conversation with Michigan’s coaching staff regarding his fit next season.
“That was a big thing for me. We sat down and talked about it,” Wilson said. “With Glenn Robinson leaving, there’s going to be a void at that four position, and coach said that’s probably going to be the position I’m playing, the three and four. … It’s an uptempo offense, so all I have to do is get the rebound and outlet, or if I don’t have an outlet, I can push the ball in transition, which is what I’m doing right now in high school. It was just a perfect fit for me, especially seeing as how I’m going to be playing with Kam (Chatman) and hopefully Devin Booker, those guys can really spread the floor and pass and find the fours and the other guys. And Derrick (Walton), the point guard, can really find players and get them the ball, so it was a perfect fit.”
As far as where he needs improvement, Wilson was honest about his lack of physicality, saying he needs to get in the gym and work on his strength if he’s going to compete at the next level. He’s also working on his ballhandling and foot speed to make sure he can keep up with Big Ten wings defensively.
As Wilson mentioned previously, he was not the only visitor Michigan hosted this weekend — Devin Booker, the 26th-ranked player in the class of 2014, was also in Ann Arbor for his official. And it appears Wilson will be joining Chatman in recruiting the talented wing for the Maize and Blue.
“I hung out with him pretty much the whole trip,” Wilson said. “Yeah, most certainly I’m going to say a few words to him every once in a while, just letting him know he should come to Michigan. I know he likes Michigan. His decision is his decision, but I’ll say a few words to him.”
But before his puts on his recruiting cap, Wilson will take a minute for his commitment to sink in. While he’s happy the process is over, it hasn’t quite hit him yet.
“I’m kind of relieved. It really hasn’t sunk in yet that I’ve committed,” Wilson said. “But yeah, I’m happy. I’m happy.”