NBA Draft Profile: Washington's C.J. Wilcox

NBA Draft Profile: Washington's C.J. Wilcox
June 19, 2014, 1:45 pm
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C.J. Wilcox, 6-foot-5 shooting guard, Washington

2013-14 stats: 18.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 87.3 FT%

One of the best pure shooters in college basketball over the past few years, Wilcox largely flew under the radar, whether it was due to more high-profile teammates or his team’s struggles. Regardless, his pure outside stroke and underrated athleticism make the Utah native a very intriguing pro prospect. There will be questions about the 23-year-old’s upside, assertiveness and all-around game, but as always, there’s a role for a player who can put the ball in the basket.

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Career highlights: After redshirting upon arriving at Washington, Wilcox averaged 8.1 points per game as a reserve, earning Pac-12 all-freshman team honors, then improved to 14.2 points per game as a sophomore, along with shooting 40.3 percent from three-point range. As a junior, Wilcox became the Huskies’ go-to scorer and posted averages of 16.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.1 steals and a block per game, making second team all-conference. His senior year, Wilcox averaged 18.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, a block and a steal per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 87.3 percent from the free-throw line, again receiving second team all-league recognition and finishing his career as the school’s second all-time scorer, with a career-high 31-point effort that included seven threes to beat Colorado with a showcase of his talent.

Strengths: The best thing Wilcox does, if it isn’t obvious by now, is shoot the ball, something he excels at with his feet set and coming off screens, as well as improving his ability to knock down shots off the dribble. A more explosive athlete than he’s given credit for, he can finish in transition or when defenders fly by him to close out on his jumpers. While shooting is obviously Wilcox’s biggest asset, he’s also developed a decent all-around game, becoming a solid playmaker, rebounder for his position and defensive player.

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Weaknesses: Possessing just average size for a shooting guard, Wilcox doesn’t always fully utilize his athleticism, sometimes appearing passive as a player, especially earlier in his college career, when he was surrounded by more talented teammates. While he’s become better at creating for himself and others, it’s unlikely than he can be used as a secondary ballhandler. Of course, being a fifth-year senior, whether or not his game still has room to grow is another question looming.

Draft projection: A fringe first-round prospect, Wilcox could be selected anywhere from the mid-20s to the early second round, depending on how he performs in pre-draft workouts and how much teams in that range prioritize shooting. He will have to display other aspects of his game and prove that he’s not just a one-trick pony, but Wilcox’s shooting, athleticism and low-maintenance approach should earn him playing time early in his career. Wilcox is unlikely to be a star at the next level, but playing with either a talented playmaker or a scorer capable of drawing double teams, he should have a long professional stay as a designated shooter.