Pleasant Grove native C.J. Wilcox impressing NBA teams at Chicago combine

By Mike Helfgot

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, May 16 2014 3:21 p.m. MDT

Washington guard C.J. Wilcox is the son of former BYU guard Craig Wilcox. C.J. was the No. 2-ranked prospect in the state when he chose Washington over Utah.

Joe Nicholson, Associated Press

CHICAGO — Jordan Adams remembers UCLA’s scouting report on University of Washington senior C.J. Wilcox.

“Make him put it on the floor,” Adams said. “No open shots.”

Wilcox, the former Pleasant Grove High School star, who is showcasing his talents at the NBA Combine this week, is doing his best to convince teams to look at him more like former Arizona star Nick Johnson does.

“He’s a deadly shooter, but I think he’s more than that,” Johnson said. “At Washington, he was only looked at as a shooter because that’s what they needed him to do, but he has a little game to him.

“He is athletic, he is a great competitor and definitely one of my toughest covers of the year. Every time we had to play Washington, even if they didn’t have as good a year, I was like, ‘Man, I got to guard C.J.'”

Considered a late first-round pick by some and a second-rounder by others, the 6-foot-5 Wilcox helped himself more than most this week.

In addition to putting on one of the top shooting displays, the wiry Wilcox tested out as one of the strongest, quickest and highest-jumping shooting guards at the event.

He performed so well, in fact, he’s staying.

Wilcox accepted the Bulls' invitation for a private workout Monday. The Bulls have the Nos. 16 and 19 picks in the first round.

He will also work out for the Jazz prior to the June 26 draft, though he confessed he was more of a Michael Jordan fan growing up.

“I thought Chicago would be a good opportunity for me to standout more than people thought,” Wilcox said. “People don’t think I’m as athletic as I am. Showing that here and being able to shoot in front of all the teams put myself on the map a little bit more.”

The son of former BYU guard Craig Wilcox, C.J. Wilcox was the No. 2-ranked prospect in the state when he chose Washington over Utah.

He credits his father, and former high school rival and AAU teammate Tyler Haws, with helping him reach the Div. I level.

His physical strength went from a weakness to a strength in his four years in Seattle, and he was allowed to develop slowly in the shadows of older, more established players.

Isaiah Thomas, Terrance Ross and Tony Wroten all moved on to the NBA, paving the way for Wilcox to average 16.8 points as a junior and 18.3 as a senior.

“That helps me coming to the NBA,” Wilcox said. “A lot of guys come in and don’t start right away. I played that role in college. I had to be the third or fourth option and had to work my way up until I was the No. 1 option. I think seeing all those stages is going to help me in the NBA.”

The question is when rather than if he will get drafted, and at least about half the league appears to be interested.

Wilcox had spoken to 13 teams prior to Friday’s media session and had at least three more interviews scheduled.

He will also work out for several teams as he tries to shed the shooter label.

“You can always get better at everything,” he said. “Shooting is my No. 1 strength, but I do think there is a little more to my game that people overlook because I have that shooter title. Once you have a title it’s hard to change people’s minds. You just have to be consistent and show you can do a little more than that.

“I’m trying to get higher in the first round. I am in the tail end of it, and it still a great place to be. A lot can happen between these workouts.”

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