By Michael Swain, 247 Sports
Jalen Wilson will withdraw from the 2022 NBA Draft and return to Kansas for his redshirt junior season, he announced via his Instagram on Wednesday. Wilson’s return serves as a big boost for Bill Self and KU basketball, which now has two returning starters from the national championship-winning team in Wilson and Dajuan Harris .
Wilson was an integral part of KU’s national championship-winning team this past season. For the season, Wilson averaged 11.1 points per game on 46.1 percent shooting from the field, 56.9 percent shooting from 2 and 26.3 percent shooting from behind the arc. His 7.4 rebounds per game led the team. He also chipped in with 1.8 assists and 0.9 steals per game. He came off the bench in nine of the first 10 games of the season but once Big 12 play started, Wilson found another gear. He averaged nearly 13 points and eight rebounds between the start of conference play and the end of the season.
After the season, Wilson signed with an NCAA-certified agency, meaning he would be able to maintain his college eligibility while testing the NBA Draft waters. At the G League Elite camp in May, Wilson measured 6-5.75 without shoes and 6-7.25 with shoes. For reference, Wilson was listed at 6-foot-8 at Kansas. The forward paired that with a 6-8.25 wingspan, a quarter-inch longer than he had a year ago. And after he weighed 225.2 pounds last year with 7.3% body fat, Wilson worked hard to slim down, playing this year at a reported 215 pounds. He was back up at 224.6 pounds in Chicago, just 0.6 pounds lighter than last year, and his body fat was actually slightly higher at 7.65%.
Although Wilson wasn’t initially invited to the NBA Draft Combine, the forward earned a spot with some stellar play during the G-League Elite Camp. He scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds in one scrimmage and went 7 for 11 from 3 over the course of two scrimmages.
During Wilson’s first at the combine, the forward scored 10 points on 4-for-11 shooting, 0-for-4 shooting from 3 and 2-for-4 shooting from the free throw line. He did grab six rebounds, which ranked in a tie for third on his eight-man team. He also registered two assists and two turnovers in his 10 minutes on the floor. During the second scrimmage, Wilson scored nine points on 2-for-10 shooting from the field, 1-for-3 shooting from 3 and 4-for-4 shooting from the free throw line. He again grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists, one of which resulted in a dunk for Braun. He only turned the ball over three times during his 30 minutes on the floor.
Over the course of the two NBA Combine scrimmages, Wilson shot 6 for 21 (28.6 percent) from the field and 1 for 7 (14.3 percent) from 3 while averaging six rebounds and four assists in 20 minutes per game.
Going back, Wilson was a four-star recruit and was the No. 46-ranked recruit nationally, the No. 14 ranked small forward and the No. 6-ranked recruit in Texas in the class of 2019.
Wilson’s first season with KU was cut short due to injury two games in. Wilson broke his left ankle against UNC Greensboro in the second game of the season. He ended up redshirting in 2019-20. Last season, Wilson averaged 11.8 points and 7.9 rebounds in 28.3 minutes per game. He started 26 of KU’s 29 games.
The forward will have three seasons of playing eligibility remaining.