Top-ranked 2019 signee Jalen Wilson re-opens recruitment
Just three days after John Beilein accepted the Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coaching post, Michigan’s top-ranked signee has re-opened his recruitment.
Jalen Wilson, a four-star recruit ranked 50th in the class of 2019 247Sports Composite list, took to Twitter to announce that he has requested a release from his scholarship. The Denton (Texas) Guyer forward committed to the Wolverines last May and inked his national letter of intent in November. In his post, he cited the “sudden head coaching change” as the reason.
“First, I would like to thank God for giving me the opportunity to join the Michigan family last May,” Wilson tweeted on Thursday afternoon. “I would also like to thank the coaching staff and the city (of) Ann Arbor for showing an unbelievable amount of love and support. Due to the sudden head coaching change, I have requested my release from the University of Michigan and will re-open my recruitment.”
Since learning of Beilein’s departure from a friend’s phone call, Wilson and his family considered all options before re-opening his recruitment. Now that Wilson is set to engage with other schools, four-star wing Cole Bajema becomes Michigan’s lone 2019 commitment. Wilson told The Daily that he has not been in contact with Bajema since decommitting.
If Wilson signs with another school and forward Ignas Brazdeikis remains in the NBA Draft, the Wolverines will have three open scholarships ahead of next season. But it’s still a possibility that the process ends with Wilson reaffirming his commitment to the Michigan.
“I’m always considering (Michigan),” Wilson told The Daily in a phone interview. “I just had to do this to look at the bigger picture as a backup plan. I can’t rely on someone if I don’t know they’re gonna be there or not.”
Since Beilein’s departure, Wilson has been in contact with Michigan assistant coaches DeAndre Haynes, Luke Yaklich and Saddi Washington.
“The coaches all understood everything I’ve done and they’re all understanding and they all see where I’m coming from,” Wilson said. “That’s what I love — they’re all supportive. I could never ask for a better coaching staff to help me through the summer.”
Earlier this week, Beilein reached out to Wilson after making his decision.
“He made a decision to help himself and I respected it,” Wilson said. “I congratulated him, that’s a great move. He’d love to see me in the future in the NBA. That’d be great.
“Before Beilein left, we just had a few guys leave to the NBA so it was a fit for me to come in and be an immediate impact. And that’s what it was. And then when he left, he just (told me to) try to see who they’re going to hire and how things are going to be, so I had to do what’s best for me.”
Under Beilein, the program was linked to a handful of graduate transfers and uncommitted 2019 prospects, but recruiting could pause while Athletic Director Warde Manuel conducts his national coaching search.
During the interview, Wilson also revealed what he is looking for in Beilein’s successor if he is to re-sign with the Wolverines.
“Just a coach that will come in and keep the top-tier program like it is and a coach that’s not going to change the culture of Michigan because it’s such a great school and it’s such a unique school.”
There is no timeline for Wilson’s decision, though it would make sense to wait for Manuel to name a new head coach before finalizing any college plans.