The Wichita State men’s basketball team has its first high school commitment for its 2022 recruiting class in a prospect found by its newest assistant coach.
Jacob Wilson, a versatile 6-foot-5 playmaker from Baton Rouge, La., announced on his social media platforms Sunday that he had committed to the Shockers. The decision came one week after Wilson and his family took an official visit to WSU.
“They made me feel like I’m at home,” Wilson told The Eagle. “The campus was really beautiful. All of the fans were really cool and supportive. They don’t have football there, so all of their games are packed and that was a big thing. I love it out there.”
It didn’t take long for Wilson to officially join the team and sign his letter of intent, which allowed WSU head coach Isaac Brown to comment on the signing on Sunday afternoon.
“Jacob is a guy who can handle multiple positions because of his size, skill and basketball IQ,” Brown said in a statement. “He has a high ceiling and will be a very good player in our program.”
He has been a top target for coach Butch Pierre, who offered Wilson when he was an assistant at UTEP, and did the same as soon as he agreed to join Brown’s staff at Wichita State in early April. Wilson is the first player landed by WSU whom Pierre has been the lead recruiter on.
“I’m really big on relationships, so that was definitely important to me,” Wilson said. “(Pierre) is someone like a mentor for me who is going to push me and try to get me to the next level. On and off the court, he’s going to make me a better person. And of course coach Brown and I built a great relationship when I came on my visit.”
Wilson fits the bill for the high school recruits who have flourished recently at Wichita State: winning players who have gone under the radar and overlooked in a recruiting climate currently obsessed with the transfer portal. Wilson picked the Shockers over finalists New Mexico State, LSU, UTEP and Louisiana.
In his senior season at Liberty High School in Baton Rouge, Wilson averaged 19.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game while leading his team to its first state championship game in program history and earning first-team Class 4A honors by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
Although he has not been evaluated by a recruiting service, Wilson has turned plenty of heads against some of the top private-school competition in Louisiana. Wilson scored a combined 48 points in an impressive two-game sweep of Scotlandville, the top powerhouse program in the state that has played in 13 consecutive state championships and won the last eight titles in Division 1. He also scored 17 points in a win over another top-tier program in Madison Prep.
“Everyone says I’m a late bloomer, but I do feel like I’ve been getting overlooked,” Wilson said. “Since high school season started, I felt some type of way about that. Every time I step on the court, I’m going for the neck and that’s why I have that chip on my shoulder.”
Wilson said he believes he can be a combo guard at the Division I level, capable of initiating offense and creating shots for teammates with the ball in his hands and also being effective off the ball cutting and spotting up. He also said he takes pride on the defensive end, where he feels like his 6-foot-5 frame allows him to guard primary ball handlers all the way up to power forwards.
Wilson is the fourth player in WSU’s 2022 recruiting class, joining a trio of transfers in 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Xavier Bell (Drexel), 7-foot sophomore center Quincy Ballard (Florida State) and 6-8 senior center James Rojas ( Alabama). Even with four commitments in hand, WSU still has six scholarships available to hand out for this recruiting cycle. The only players returning from last season’s roster are sophomore center Kenny Pohto and a pair of redshirt wings in Jalen Ricks and Isaac Abidde.
It has been another eventful offseason for the Shockers, who are going through their second mass exodus in the last three years. WSU had seven scholarship players enter the NCAA transfer portal after a 23-8 season in 2020-21 and now eight scholarship players are in the NCAA transfer portal after a 15-13 campaign.
This story was originally published April 24, 2022 12:59 PM.