The Washington Huskies got some good news on Thursday afternoon when shooting guard C.J. Wilcox announced he would return for his senior season.
Wilcox led the team in scoring last season, averaging 16.8 points per game. He also averaged 4.3 rebounds per game and hit 75 3-point shots. He was named second team All-Pac-12.
Wilcox has been projected as a second round pick by most NBA draft analysts.
The Huskies announced Wilcox's return late this morning after saying yesterday that Wilcox was in limbo with his decision to enter the NBA Draft or return.
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Wilcox's return is a major boost to Washington's roster as it pursues one more big to join the team before the fall. The Huskies have one remaining scholarship after adding two more recruits, Jahmel Taylor and Mike Anderson, to the 2013 class yesterday on the first day of the spring signing period.
After never formally entering the draft prior to the NCAA's early withdrawal deadline, Wilcox moved into the second phase of the decision making process, with the NBA declaration deadline of April 28 in front of him. It was anticipated Wilcox would late until closer to the April 28 deadline. However, that seemed an odd approach for someone who was able to receive feedback from the NBA's Undergraduate Advisory Committee some time ago.
By NCAA rule, Wilcox was not allowed to work out for the NBA, so, his feedback should have been complete prior to the April 16 deadline.
Regardless, he's returning and this gives Washington a shot to be part of the upper tier in the conference next season.
Here's what Wilcox had to say via quotes distributed by the school:
What were some of the main factors that led you to your decision to come back to Washington?
“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. 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.”
What did the NBA evaluation report tell you and where did it tell you that you would be drafted?
“Most of the projections were late first round to mid second round. Most of it was all jumbled up in there. 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. I met with agents to see what they were hearing, and stuff like that. I mean, it wasn’t much of a shock, but I was just trying to get as much information as possible.”
What kind of input did Lorenzo Romar give you?
“He was really helpful. He was trying to do what was best for me. He was supporting whatever decision I made. He was great during the whole process. He was talking about both what would happen if I came back and if I left for the league. He gave me both sides of everything. He was really helpful through the whole process.”
From the feedback you received is there anything they told you about the skills you need to work on?
“A lot of the NBA doesn’t know that I’m athletic and that I’m more than a stand-still shooter. I need to continue to work on ball-handling and getting to the free throw line more. I need to be more of a leader and help the team get more wins…stuff like that. There are a bunch of little things, but my main ticket is my ability to shoot the ball. That’s not going to change. They just want to see me do a couple of other things.
In an ideal world would you play less than the 34.8 minutes per game you played?
“Yeah I think so. We talked about not playing as much and instead playing quality minutes. We’ll have enough guys that I think I will be able to do that and not have to stay on the floor as much as I did this past year.”
How much did the decision of past Huskies like Brandon Roy, Quincy Pondexter and Jon Brockman to return for their senior years play in your decision?
“We all hear about the Quincy, Jon and Brandon returning and Coach Romar and I talked about it. Everybody is kind of different, but I figure it’s not going to hurt my future to come back. I’m not going to get any worse, unless something happens, but I think that my stock can go higher. That’s what happened to them. I’ve got a lot of stuff to work on, so coming back and doing it here as opposed to going pro will be easier on me. The NBA is a lot different than college. Seeing what they did definitely played a role in my decision and gave me some motivation to follow that path.”
Ultimately, how close were you to following the evaluations that had you projected in the first round?
“It was definitely one of the hardest decisions I made. There was a lot of information that goes into the whole process. You are getting a lot of different information from agents. Some were saying I should go, others were saying I should come back to school …there was a lot of different information. I definitely went back-and-forth. At the end of the day I decided it was best to come back.”
Looking at the Husky roster, what do you think of the prospects?
“I think we have a good team. Perris (Blackwell) is going to be a force in the middle. He can do a lot and is going to do really well this year. I’ve known Nigel (Williams-Goss) for a while and I’ve always known he can be a good player. He’s going to get in here and be a great leader and do some damage for sure. Shawn (Kemp Jr.) is going to have a good summer and be back. Andrew (Andrews) is coming back. I think we have a good solid base and we have some guys who can fill some roles, so I think we can do some damage.”
You’re graduating with a sociology degree after this quarter. What academic plans do you have?
“When I first got here my family and I thought that since I was going to be here for five years that I would go through and then get my master’s degree, but I don’t know if that has changed. We haven’t really talked about it. We may just want to focus on basketball and take some regular classes.”
Do you have any message for the Husky fans?
“I’m really excited to come back and play again in front of them. They really stuck by me through the year, so thanks for the support. I’m looking forward to playing in front of you all again next year.”