teve Lappas has landed his first recruit as coach of the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team.
According to Tuesday's Vancouver Sun, Lappas received a verbal commitment from Wilson, a 6-foot-1 point guard from White Rock Christian Academy in Vancouver, B.C., in December to go to Villanova. When Lappas resigned at Villanova to become head coach at UMass, Wilson decided to follow him.
"I wasn't interested in Villanova after coach Lappas left," Wilson told the Sun. "He's a great coach and a great guy so I've decided to enroll at UMass. I'll be visiting the campus there in two weeks."
UMass has yet to receive Wilson's national letter of intent. The signing period runs through April.
According to HoopsCanada.com, Wilson averaged 25 points and 9.5 assists. People north of the border have compared him to a flashier version of fellow Canada native Steve Nash, who currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks.
Whether those comparisons are accurate or just hopeful hyperbole remains to be seen, but Wilson reportedly has the shooting ability Lappas seems to crave. After dominating in Canada, Wilson earned attention from US coaches after a solid showing at last summer's Nike Camp.
Lappas is expected to get word shortly on whether Marcus Cox, the former combo guard at Connecticut, will transfer to UMass as well. Cox visited Amherst this week and reportedly is interested in joining the Minutemen.
Canadian newspaper credits University of Massachusetts men's basketball coach Steve Lappas with landing his first recruit since joining the program, but a spokesman for the UMass athletic department said the school has no paperwork yet to support the report.
Kyle Wilson, a 6-foot-1 guard from Surrey, British Columbia, has signed with the Minutemen, according to a report carried on the UMass news office's Internet site.
The site carries UMass-related news clips picked up from North American media. It quoted a report in the Vancouver (British Columbia) Sun, saying Wilson had signed with the Minutemen.
UMass spokesman Nick Joos, however, said he's unaware of a signing.
"To my knowledge, we have no recruit signings, nothing," Joos said last night. Wilson had made a verbal, non-binding commitment to Villanova when Lappas was still the Wildcats' coach.
Lappas left Villanova for UMass March 25.
et the Kyle Wilson hype begin.
From April to November, every Division I school has at least one recruit that has its fans bubbling over with excitement. Some guy who's going to average 20-something points and 10 rebounds or assists. The guy who's going to bring the team to the next level and excite the fandom.
One year at the University of Massachusetts it was Donta Bright, the next it was Marcus Camby, then Andre Burks and more recently Jameel Pugh. Sometimes they pan out, sometimes they don't.
At UMass right now, that recruit is Kyle Wilson, who gave the Minutemen a verbal commitment this week. A month ago, UMass fans didn't know Kyle Wilson from Ray Wilson, but from now until Midnight Madness, the Wilson hype will be in full swing.
Wilson is a 6-foot-1 point guard from White Rock Christian Academy in Vancouver, B.C. He averaged more than 25 points and 10 assists per game.
The invention of the Internet has forever changed the way fans follow recruiting. A multitude of free and pay-to-view recruiting-related sites clutter the Web, beckoning fans to visit and learn about who they hope will be tomorrow's stars.
Recently sites began offering players' video highlights to any viewers with computers that are souped-up enough to support it. There is a video of Wilson available at: www.sweetgrafx.com/clients.html that is already exciting the fans.
Steve Nash is the model against whom all Western Canadian guards are judged. The Vancouver-area native starred at UC-Santa Clara and is now the starting floor general for the Dallas Mavericks.
Wilson said Thursday that his game has been likened to a combination of Nash and Jason Williams, the flashy Sacramento Kings point guard who has gained acclaim for his fancy passing repertoire.
The Internet video backs up the claim about Wilson. Originally made to interest coaches in him, the nearly seven-minute-long video shows the point guard slashing to the basket, burying long-range shots, and completing no-look passes that go behind the back, behind the head and around the imagination.
Skeptics will argue that the plays came against weaker Canadian competition, which many consider to be the equivalent of high school hockey in Albuquerque. But optimists will counter that Wilson fared well on the summer AAU- and sneaker-camp circuit in the United States.
Just the fact that UMass has two true points guards on the roster, Wilson and Anthony Anderson, is enough to excite some UMass fans. They've seen a lot of combo guards and should-be small forwards push the ball up the floor for long enough. Just having an actual passer on the floor will be a breath of fresh air.
How good will Wilson be? Who knows? Last year Pugh was the ballyhooed recruit, and he ended up rarely seeing the floor. People's vision of his acrobatic dunks are as yet unfulfilled.
But it's the off-season, and people like to get excited, especially since all 300-plus Div. I teams are undefeated. The Internet message boards will discuss how good Wilson might be and everybody will ride the hype.
There are 183 days until Midnight Madness.
teve Lappas made an impression on Kyle Wilson, so much so that without even stepping foot in Amherst, Wilson is following the coach to the University of Massachusetts.
Wilson, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Vancouver, originally committed to play for Lappas at Villanova. Wilson cited trust as his primary reason for moving to UMass with him.
"I liked him," Wilson said by phone Thursday. "I thought he was really real. I felt like I could trust him and I thought I fit into his style. I liked that he believed in me."
Wilson said he is heading to UMass for an official visit next week.
Wilson said he achieved the necessary combination of standardized test score and core course grades and will be eligible next year.
Wilson averaged more than 25 points and 10 assists per game at White Rick Christian Academy, and like any Canadian player he will have to overcome early skepticism that his numbers came against weaker competition.
"I'm proud of where I'm from, but I've played AAU in America and went to Nike camp there," Wilson said.
He compared his game to a combination of a pair of NBA standout guards.
"People says it's a combination of Jason Williams (Sacramento) and Steve Nash (Dallas)," Wilson said. "I'll be the point guard, the floor general out there and I'll do whatever I need to help the team win."
Because Nash shares Wilson's Western Canada roots, Wilson is often compared to him.
"People have said I'm better than he was in high school," Wilson said. "That's nice to hear. It's a pretty big compliment."
Next weekend, Wilson will play in the first All-Canada All-Star Game, which is expected to become an annual event. The game features the best players in Toronto against the best players from the rest of Canada. During the weekend of festivities, the National High School Player of the Year honors will be awarded. Wilson is among the favorites.
"It would be nice to win it," he said. "It'd be great."
Between now and when he arrives at UMass in September, Wilson said he'd like to improve his overall game and will focus on getting stronger. For at least part of that time he will work out with the Canadian national team, which includes Nash, Philadelphia 76ers center Todd McCullough and Los Angeles Laker Rick Fox.
LAPPAS TO SPEAK: Lappas will be the guest speaker at Wednesday's weekly UMass sports luncheon at noon in Room 1009 of the Campus Center.
BELL, MARBURY GONE: Jim Baron will begin his tour of duty at Rhode Island without last year's two leading scorers. Junior Zach Marbury declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft, while Tavorris Bell will spend his senior year concentrating on academics, Baron announced Thursday.
mherst, Mass. - University of Massachusetts Head Men's Basketball Coach Steve Lappas announced today that Kyle Wilson, a 6-2, 175-pound guard from White Rock, British Columbia, has signed a national letter of intent to join the Minuteman program for the 2001-02 season.
"We are very excited that Kyle has decided to sign with us," Lappas said. "He will really strengthen our backcourt. He's a very good three-point shooter, too. I believe he will be able to help us next year."
Wilson, who prepped at White Rock Christian Academy, averaged 24 points and 9.5 assists as a senior, and was ranked as Canada's top point guard. In the provincial tournament, Wilson averaged 28 points and 13.5 assists en route to tourney MVP honors, as White Rock finished second.
"I really liked the coaching staff and have heard good things about the University," Wilson said. "Coach Lappas is a great coach, and I believe this will be a good opportunity for me to come in and help the program. It's a great situation."
Known as a very good three-point shooter, Wilson nailed 12 treys in one game last year and hit 42 percent from beyond the arc as a senior. He averaged 21 points as a junior, and won the world junior three-point shooting contest in France.
The son of Rick and Caroll Wilson, Kyle was coached by Dave Craig and Scott Allen at White Rock. He also played for Ro Russell's Team Toronto AAU team.