Mike Hopkins and the UW Hoops team needed to bring in Experience, Length, and Athleticism after a historically painful 5-21 season. They did that by bringing in 5 players with some level of college experience. Many are already familiar with the 4 local transfers Daejon Davis (Garfield), Terrell Brown (Garfield), Emmitt Mathews (Wilson) and PJ Fuller (Garfield) during their HS and College careers.
However, many are not as familiar with another incoming transfer: Langston Wilson. The high flying Wilson was rated the #2 Juco Player in the country standing at 6’9 with dynamic athleticism. You’ve potentially seen clips that show off his 46-inch vertical and he could very well end up on SportsCenter multiple times this season. Wilson also has an incredible back story, which Max provided in the UW Bigs Preview
Wilson is a very intriguing player but it is still up in the air to know exactly what role he’s going to play on this Husky team. What can we expect?
I spent a rainy Seattle Sunday to watch three Georgia Highlands games to see exactly how they used Langston Wilson and what kind of impact he had on the game.
How was he used at Georgia Highlands Junior College?
2020-2021 Averages: 9.6 ppg, 7.7 RPG and 1.8 BPG
The first thing that sticks out is that his stats don’t jump out for someone ranked as the #2 Juco player in the country. Other top Juco Players average 25+ points per game but there is some important context to consider. First, Georgia Highlands played mostly a full court press style defense and ran 11-12 guys in their rotation, so they were constantly subbing guys in and out.
In the 3 games I watched including their final playoff game, Georgia Highlands would bring in Wilson at the 17 minute mark and play him for 5-6 minutes and then finish the half for another 2-4 minutes. Same thing in the 2nd half and Wilson would end up playing a total of 12-15 minutes total in each game. To average 9.6 ppg, 7.7 RPG and 1.8 BPG in only about 15 minutes per game is mightily impressive. His Per 40 numbers at that rate would be 25.5 ppg, 20 RPG and 4.8 BPG which helps explain his #2 rating and overall potential as a player.
How does Wilson impact the game?
What sticks out when watching Wilson is that he is able to impact the game without being a focal point on the offense. In the 3 games I watched, Wilson was rarely given opportunities to run isolation plays but Wilson created his own opportunities with his energy and wanting the ball more than opposing players. Wilson is constantly going after rebounds and very rarely does he stay in one spot or give up on a play. If the ball is remotely in the area, he is going after it. In the clip below, you can see Wilson make the free throw => immediately lead the press => create a steal => grab an offensive rebound for a lay in => then immediately press the ball again.
Wilson can be hard to find when boxing out because of his movement and can see here how he is able to get around two defenders for the offensive rebound and put back in a crucial moment of the game.
This next clip really shows how active Wilson can be on both ends in just 20 seconds. Fights for the offensive rebound, runs back on defense to block a shot, and then sprints back to grab the offensive rebound for a layup.
How will Washington use Langston Wilson?
Of course we don’t know how exactly he will be used and Wilson has spent all offseason working with coaches and trainers to improve his game so we could see a whole lot more from him.
Nate Roberts at Media Day commented that Wilson brings a lot of energy and is “not just a dunker” so it will be interesting to see how his shooting, ball handling and playmaking skills develop. Wilson shot a little over 30% from 3-pt range at Georgia Highlands so he could really stress defenses if he becomes a credible outside shooting threat. I’m especially interested to see how his post game develops working with Assistant Coach Wyking Jones, who previously has worked with big men at Cal and Louisville such as Ivan Rabb, Marcus Lee, Gorgui Dieng and Montrezl Harrell to name a few.
What we will see, is a player with high energy and elite athleticism that will help impact games in positive ways. Husky Fans will surely appreciate the effort and of course the highlight plays but also the little things like hustling for rebounds and loose balls and jumping out on shooters.
Today is just the 3-year anniversary of Wilson getting to play his first organized college basketball game. The upside and potential are salivating but we also need to be patient and let Wilson get accustomed to Division 1 play. It may be hard to envision Wilson playing 30 minutes a game right away but we could see him playing 15-20 minutes and making an immediate impact. There will be growing pains but Washington Huskies Fans are going to enjoy the ride!