Smith: Wilson's best days in front of him

Damien Wilson

Yes, the University of Memphis lost out on Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.) guard Archie Goodwin and Upper Room Christian (Raleigh, N.C.) combo guard Rodney Purvis. But their one commitment, Damien Wilson of Oak Hill (Va.), may be better than most think.

Josh Pastner and the University of Memphis coaching staff have secured just one verbal commitment in the 2012 class thus far. That much is true.

They lost out on Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.) guard Archie Goodwin and Upper Room Christian (Raleigh, N.C.) combo guard Rodney Purvis.

But their one commitment, Damien Wilson of Oak Hill (Va.), may be better than most think.

"He gets to the basket as well as anybody that I've ever coached," Oak Hill coach Steve Smith said.

Smith's coaching pedigree in over 25 years at Oak Hill is perhaps the most impressive of any coach in the high school ranks. He's coached 23 McDonald's All-American and has sent 20 of his alumni to the NBA.

Wilson, who committed to the University of Memphis in May, fits the mold of the type of athlete that the Tigers have historically recruited in recent years for their up-tempo offense. At 6-foot-6, Wilson uses his athletic ability to penetrate and get to the rim.

Smith said he and the Oak Hill coaching staff are working with Wilson on developing his offensive arsenal.

"He gets to the basket so easy," Smith said. "He needs to get an intermediate game where he's shooting one or two-dribble pull-ups (instead of just going to the rim). He's not going to be able to do that in college."

Wilson's biggest area for improvement is his jump shot, Smith said. His mechanics are good, he said, but he doesn't get much lift when he pulls up around the arc. Wilson also has to learn to create his own shot, Smith said.

"It's kind of set, standstill," Smith said. "He needs to be more consistent with his perimeter shot. So we're working with him on his perimeter shot and ball skills. He'll make two or three three's one game, the next night he'll go 0-for-4. Then he'll miss ten in a row.

"A lot of it is his release point, because he doesn't jump."

Despite his jumper being a work in progress, Smith said Wilson's upside is tremendous. While some Tiger fans are still grieving about the losses of guards like Goodwin and Purvis, their sole commitment for 2012 so far could make more an impact for the team than most realize.

"He's so athletic," Smith said. "He's a running, jumping fool. His best days are in front of him."

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