ANN ARBOR — Guyer High School basketball coach Grant Long knew he had a talented team this season, and he scheduled like it. The Denton, Texas, program has played four nationally-ranked schools and traveled as far as Phoenix.
Guyer has taken a few losses but for the most part the team, including 2019 Michigan signee Jalen Wilson, has performed well.
Wilson, a 6-foot-8 forward, will join the Wolverines next season. He is averaging 20 points per game for a squad with state championship aspirations.
Michigan coach John Beilein spoke about Wilson and U-M’s other 2019 signee, Cole Bajema, earlier this month. Beilein complimented both players for their skill set, shooting ability, and basketball IQ.
Long said Wilson has been scoring inside and out, shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range on about four attempts per game. And he’s doing it against high-level competition, such as Sunrise Christian Academy (Kansas), Bishop Gorman (Nevada), and DeMatha (Maryland), all of which are ranked in the top-20 of the MaxPreps.com
“He’s been great,” Long said in a phone conversation last week. “Very consistent.” Long said Guyer, which worked a few new faces into its rotation this season, took 10 games or so to gel. “Now we’ve really started rolling. We’ve been sharing the ball really well, playing much better, and Jalen has been a leader of that for sure.”
Defensively, Long said Wilson was great in a close loss to DeMatha, guarding Villanova-bound Justin Moore, a fellow top-50 recruit.
The next step for Wilson, Long said, is “being that focused and locked in defensively every night, not just when you’re playing another (future Division I) guy.”
That’s what Beilein and the other Michigan coaches want to see as well. The message from Ann Arbor is to refine aspects other than scoring. “Those are things we love anyway,” Long said, “so we more than welcome them pushing him to defend and rebound.”
Beilein compared Wilson’s body to Michigan sophomore Isaiah Livers. “He’s got some strength about him already.” He believes both Wilson and Bajema, a 6-foot-7 guard out of Washington, have a “chance to play right away.”
It’s possible the only player Michigan will lose next season is starting forward Charles Matthews. There will be opportunities for minutes, but also several returning Wolverines determined not to get passed on the depth chart.
Wilson has been following Michigan’s 12-0 start while leading Guyer along with teammates De’Vion Harmon, a top-40 point guard headed to Oklahoma, and Jakobe Coles, a junior with offers from TCU and Colorado, among other Division I programs.
“He’s focusing on what’s in front of him right now,” Long said of Wilson. “(He wants) to go out in this part of his career with winning a state championship.
“Then, it’s moving on to Michigan and doing bigger and better things.”