C.J. Wilcox, the University of Washington’s leading scorer and team MVP this past season, announced Thursday that he will return to school for the 2013-14 season rather enter his name in the NBA draft. Wilcox, a Pleasant Grove, UT., native who will be a fifth-year senior, averaged 16.8 points per game last season as he led the Huskies to their second consecutive appearance in the NIT.
Wilcox had until April 28 to declare his NBA intentions, but took the suspense out early. By remaining in school, unlike Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten a year ago, Wilcox obviously received information that he needed to continue to work on his game at the collegiate level.
“It was a tough decision. I think C.J. was really torn. But if he had made a decision to leave he would have played in the NBA next season,” Romar said.
Wilcox made his decision after consulting with Romar and his father.
“The main thing is that my dad and I were talking and thinking back to about when I first got here and the vision to redshirt my first year, and have that last year to become the best player that I can be and lead the team,” Wilcox said.
“We were not expecting the NBA to come into the picture so fast. That kind of got off track and we lost track of the vision. We started to seriously considering it and meeting with agents, but at the end of the day we went back and wanted to finish what we started and come back for my fifth year and lead the team.”
Wilcox said that he received feedback from a number of agents and that the consensus he received was that he would have been drafted.
“Most of the projections were late first round to mid-second round,” Wilcox said. “We got feedback from 20 teams, so it wasn’t the whole 30. Basically it was stuff that everyone already knew. So it wasn’t a shock when we got it back.”
Wilcox not only led the Huskies in scoring last season, he was named second-team All-Pac-12 and became the 37th Husky to exceed 1,000 career points (currently 1,293). His 570 points were the 11th-highest single-season total in UW history, and he scored 20 or more in 11 of Washington’s 18 home games. He tallied a career-high 28 against Colorado State Nov. 24, 2012.
Even with that, Wilcox did not have the junior season he wanted. As Romar pointed out Thursday, Wilcox averaged more than 34 minutes per game and dealt with an injured foot.
“There was some games when he was just worn out,” said Romar “He didn’t get to practice as much as he needed to. There was the whole mental part of it.”
Romar said he expects Wilcox’s foot issue will eventually clear itself up.
“He’s still not at a point right now where he can go 100 percent day in an day out,” said Romar. “But he should be ready by the season, well before it.”
Romar indicated that Wilcox will use his senior season to make himself more NBA ready, and that Wilcox will work on, among other things, getting to the foul line more often, making plays for his teammates, and getting stronger.
“With him coming back, it definitely is going to make us better than if we didn’t have him,” said Romar. “He was a second-team, all-league choice. Now we know for sure that we have a go-to guy. He’s going to provide scoring and we will be dependent on him for a lot.”
Good move on CJ’s part. He has an opportunity to really step up next season which will only raise his stock. Potentially he could become a top 15 pick whereas right now he’d be a middle to low second round pick.
Fortunately, he is a smart kid who probably learned at the expense of Tony Wroten.