DJ Wilson to remain in NBA Draft

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan forward DJ Wilson will keep his name in the NBA Draft, the news was first reported by Draft Express.

Michigan confirmed the news later in the afternoon, here are the quotes from a University statement:

“This was not an easy decisions, however, I have thought long about the next step in my career over the last few months,” said Wilson. “After many prayers and discussions with my mom, Coach Beilein and the staff, it is the right time for me to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA.

“I am confident I have the drive, work ethic and maturity for this next step. It’s never going to be easy, but if I have learned anything at Michigan, perseverance pays off. It has truly been a blessing to have had the opportunity to attend Michigan and I will forever be grateful to Coach Beilein and his staff for taking the chance on me. There are so many memories over the past three years that I will always cherish. I will be a Wolverine at heart forever. Go Blue!”

“D.J. and our coaching staff worked very hard over the last month to get as much information as possible on his draft status,” said U-M head coach John Beilein. “Given the data and insight we received, D.J. is confident he is ready to take the next step in his basketball career. We love D.J. and he will always be a Michigan Wolverine. His development over the past three seasons, and particularly this past season, was phenomenal. With continued work, he shows great potential to improve in a similar manner in the NBA. We wish him and his family the very best and we will always be rooting for him during this draft process and for all the years to come.”

He averaged 11 points and 5 rebounds per game as a redshirt sophomore after playing sparingly during his first two years in Ann Arbor.

Wilson is projected as a borderline first-round pick with DraftExpress projecting him to be selected 30th overall by the Utah Jazz. The Jazz are one of two teams that Wilson has been confirmed to workout for before suffering a quad injury early on in a workout in San Antonio.

Wilson is Michigan’s eighth early departure to the NBA Draft since 2011, joining Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Tim Hardaway Jr., Manny Harris, Darius Morris, Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III.

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  • Coltrane

    Disappointing but he seems the opposite of Wagner in this process. Wagner needed an enormous amount of assurances if he was going to leave and DJ seemed like he just needed a shot to leave.

    • tom48160

      They both stated that they needed a first round guarantee to leave. One player (apparently) got one.

      • Coltrane

        Wagner had a longer list than just that and said several times that he loves Ann Arbor and values his education. A first round guarantee that included a D-League path of development didn’t interest him.

  • bobohle

    Coach Beilein needs to make good on this scholarship and not just give it to a walk on. I’m sure there are some quality Grad Transfers or Jucos still out there that can be positive help next year.

    • Tony DeMaria

      This late in the process? Ohio State has been trying to grab one all offseason and can’t give the scholarship away.

      • Ohio State might not be the best comparison in terms of situations. They are a mess in more ways than one, but yes it is pretty late.

  • ChathaM

    I don’t like this decision at all. This call seems almost random to me, as I feel like DJ is leaving after just a handful of strong games. I understand that there’s more to it than that; there were certainly other factors at play. But, wow. I hope things work out for him, but I think the next year to two will be a big struggle.

    As a fan, I’m disappointed. When Burke and Stauskas left early, I wasn’t disappointed at all, as I’d seen them develop so much, and play such a huge role on the team over an extended period of time. The idea of watching DJ improve his mental approach, and see that translate into a more consistent physical performance, really appealed to me. I’m disappointed that my lasting impression of DJ will be the guy who didn’t bother boxing out Jordan Bell in the NCAAs. It should be more positive than that, but it isn’t. Oh well. It’s done.

    • Indiana_Matt

      I would have loved to see him back. But you have to think about his draft stock. To be honest, it probably doesn’t rise much higher if he stays next year. We’d hope so, but a lot can happen in a season and he could have dropped. And how often do guys really change their mental approach?

    • Kevin Dale

      I have to think he needed some more seasoning also as he left a lot of boards out there. We will still be alright. It is done and it is time to move on.

  • Jack Simms

    Pretty discouraging news.

    Sure lottery pick Miles Bridges returns to Michigan State.

    DJ Wilson becomes the eighth underclassman John Beilein has lost to the NBA in his 10-year tenure at the school. Wilson joins Glenn Robinson III, Darius Morris and Manny Harris as guys who were willing to accept being a second-round pick to get away from Ann Arbor. [Cannot complain about Burke, Stauskas, Hardaway, [first rounders] McGary [ncaa pot suspension.] leaving school.]
    Wagner did stay, but with losing Walton, Irvin, Wilson, [plus subs Donnal, Dakich] it is hard to see how next year’s team does better than this season’s tied-for-fifth-with-four-other-teams

    • I would say that Glenn left a year too late.

      • Also there’s a big difference between ‘wanting to get out of Ann Arbor’ and ‘wanting to make money for playing basketball’.

      • UMHoopsFan

        Probably in terms of draft position, yes, but he’s in the third year of a 3+ million dollar contract and looks to be in position for a lengthy NBA career (as well as being the dunk champ), so things seem to have worked out okay.

        • Yeah, it has worked out for him. I’m more referring to the post above complaining about him leaving early. Poor guy is making millions to hoop in his home state. Rough life.

        • Cory

          I believe that if Glen would have left after his freshman year he would not be in the league today. He would have been a great case for insurance for slipping draft stock.

      • section13row15

        Glenn got a lot of exposure his freshman year but I would argue that he would have been the go to guy on a 2015 team that needed a go-to guy (LeVert to me was a better second option than first). In any case he’s doing well for himself so it’s a moot point. I dont get upset anymore about guys going pro early. You want that as a selling point for your program and I’m not sure that Wilson’s stock will ever be higher than is right now.

    • ChiMan

      There is definitely something to be said about the way that Beilein handles the NBA Draft process and the way Izzo handles it. In fact, without researching, I’d venture to guess we’ve had more early entries in the draft the last 10 years than they have had. I obviously want our guys to be successful in the NBA but is it worth asking, does coach perhaps encourage the NBA process a little too much and not enough on what can be achieved by coming back? Bringing this up for discussion, as I’m on the fence with how I feel about all of this.

    • bobohle

      Izzo probably begs whines and cries till they give in to him like the refs. Just kidding. LOL.

    • lecdjs13

      Izzo has not had players that could leave early other than Harris and Davis from last year who both did leave early. Appling/Payne etc were never at a point to leave early. Bridges staying is a huge surprise, but he is most likely a lottery pick whenever he declares. Wilson is 21 and had an injury behind him. Morris made a bad move. Harris was not recruited by Beilein. I think it is more about going to make money than getting away from Ann Arbor. I am happy that we have a coach that can develop people so they can leave. At some point I hope it pays off in recruiting.

      • AA7595

        Here’s the problem with that statement about Izzo: It presumes that his players would’ve turned out the same no matter which college they attended.

        Izzo might very well have had a few guys who could’ve left earlier had they played elsewhere. He’s a great coach, but what he focuses on (rebounding and defense) is better for MSU than it is for an individual player’s draft stock.

    • Jack Simms


      sam webb strongly implied that utah made statements to wilson that utah would take wilson with a first-round pick [utah has the #24 and #30 selections]–if so then hard to knock a guy for getting guaranteed money

  • Brett Podwoiski

    I understand the decision, the more important question is where does JB go from here? Transfers all but gone? Hope to get that Iggy kid from Canada to classify as 17? Just hope Livers is ready?

  • Fab 5 Legends

    Good for DJ Wilson…he was great during our run this year and the X Factor in BigTen Tourny / NCAA games…would love to see him 1 more year considering we would be a top 25 team all year imo…but hopefully he made the righ decision…interesting to see how our starting 5 shapes up…G- Xavier, Simmons, Rahkman…F-Matthews, D.Robinson, Watson/Livers…Bigs- Wagner, Teske, Davis…

    I expect to see Xavier, Rahkman, Matthews, Robinson, Wagner as our starting 5…

    only if Beilein Trusts Teske do I see 2bigs..also interesting to see what Livers an freshmen guards brings to the table

    • Tony DeMaria

      Honestly I think that Simmons will end up as the starting PG. I think Simpson’s role will increase quite a bit as the 3rd guard but Simmons could have picked from several places to transfer and was entertaining the draft….if he choose us amongst the other suitors he chose us expecting to start.

      • bobohle

        I agree unless he has trouble grasping the vaunted Beilein system which in his case I don’t think we need to worry about.

        • Fab 5 Legends

          Ya that would be my only concern…Xavier has 1 year under his belt under Beilein system…and looked good as the year went on…Simmons really has to impress at the BigTen level for him to be the clear cut starting PG…

          • tom48160

            Meritocracies are good in basketball, too.

      • Fab 5 Legends

        You make great points…There might also be a combination of Simmons playing the 2 as well? and Xavier playing the 1? I just find it hard to believe that Beilein will give Simmons the starting PG, considering Xavier was developing nicely towards the end…Simmons has to show me he can play BigTen ball and high level D1…but considering hes experience he should fit well with Michigan

  • NbobBis

    we’ll be alright with our bigs right? we have the transfer from Kentucky and also Austin Davis whom I’ve heard nothing but good things about

  • Indiana_Matt

    Wish him the best. Who would have predicted this a couple years ago?!? We just continue to develop players.

    • bobohle

      I just have a feeling X Simpson may take the next big jump in development even though Simmons should be the starter for sure.

    • Webbdog

      ME that’s who!! No One Listened!!

  • bobohle

    I’m hoping for the Canadian Iggy if he reclassifies to 2017. I’m hearing Michigan is at the top of his list and would be a great get.

    • Wayman Britt

      Based on the way Beilein and Sanderson develop guys into NBA players he would be crazy not to come play for the Wolverines.

    • JapanSpiderman

      What’s his name

  • Chace

    Interesting to see what our lineup will look like next year. Wonder if we could start 2 bigs or either have Duncan start at the 4?

  • BlueMaze

    Once again THE GROWN MAN FROM OREGON (Jordan Bell) showed them what NBA life is like night in & night out…Wagner took heed dont know what Wilson was/is thinking. Must be nice tho to make money not doing nothing on the job for 3-4 yrs.

    • And then the ‘grown man from Oregon’ lost a game on the same exact play.

      • BlueMaze

        Funny! Lost? Never once I said Wilson or Bell “lost” the game. All I know is the Ducks & Wolverines lost those games. Probably only time it happen to Bell all year. You’ll run out of fingers for Wilson plus I meant that particular game Bell played against both our bigs.

    • tom48160

      TGMFO (can we just go with that now? I kinda like it.) is an undersized 5 or a slow 4 with no range. This is why he will be a second round pick. Lots of NBA teams play a stretch 4 or a combo forward at the 4. DJ can have a role off the bench right away and has a higher ceiling if he continues to develop. Modern NBA 4s, with a few exceptions, are no longer one of the Monstars…

      • BlueMaze

        And in saying all that you still have to guard and rebound. DJ Wilson is 3-4 yrs from playing meaningful mins js.

  • Wayman Britt

    Very happy for DJ Wilson. I believe he will get drafted and make a team. I will definitely admit that I was wrong about him after his first two seasons. I did not think he had enough toughness or skill to even play in the Big Ten and now he is leaving early for the NBA. I should have been more optimistic.

    I hope I can say this exact same thing in two years about Ibi Watson.