The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball program has secured a verbal commitment from a shooting guard with a rather notable high school record to his credit as it starts assembling its 2013 recruiting class.
Elijah Wilson, a 6-foot-3 guard out of Laney High School in Wilmington, N.C., made an unofficial campus visit Monday and confirmed Friday afternoon that he has committed to join the Chanticleers for the 2013-14 season after spending this year at a North Carolina prep school.
And if Laney sounds familiar at all, well, it’s because Michael Jordan played his high school ball there and until recently still held sole possession of the school’s single-game scoring record – a mark Wilson matched with a 42-point effort of his own last season.
“He can score in a variety of ways,” said Nathan Faulk, Wilson’s AAU coach and the new coach at Laney this season. “He’s really good at the mid-range. He attacks the basket well, he finishes it well because he’s strong. I’ve said before, he’s got a college-ready body. He can go to college now and get minutes right now.”
Instead, Wilson will go to prep school this year at Mount Zion Christian Academy after initially committing early to College of Charleston before Bobby Cremins retired as head coach. After reopening his recruitment, he then needed to spend his final semester at Laney boosting his grades, he said, which caused other programs who were interested to instead look elsewhere.
“I didn’t really know too much about Coastal until last season when Benny Moss came in this past year,” Wilson said, adding that he had been familiar with the former UNC Wilmington head coach and now CCU assistant for several years. “One of my coaches was trying to get me with him and [CCU head coach Cliff] Ellis. It didn’t happen to work out because they needed the scholarships for [post players] and point guards. I went on to commit to College of Charleston, and then they got the coaching change so that kind of threw me off. ... So I chose to go to prep school and that opened up [a spot at] Coastal in 2013.”
Said Faulk: “Coastal stayed with him the entire time, did a great job communicating with him and his family. He went down to visit on Monday and decided that was the place for him.”
Wilson finished his senior season at Laney averaging 22.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game while shooting 45 percent from the field, 38 percent from 3-point range and 77 percent at the free throw line. His memorable 42-point effort came in a four-overtime game last February, earning him a share of the record with the sport’s biggest superstar.
“I think at the time, I don’t think he really understood what he had done,” said Fred Lynch, Laney’s coach through the end of last season. “At the time it was just about winning the ballgame, which we did. That’s one of those things that later on once he gets older it will mean a whole lot to him. ... We’ve only had three kids in our history score 40 points, so that was a big deal.”
With Coastal losing two veteran shooting guards after this season as seniors Anthony Raffa and Danny Nieman exhaust their eligibility, Wilson was told he could have a shot at early playing time and will be given a chance to compete to fill Raffa’s spot.
“They said I had to earn it, but they want me to come in and play right away,” Wilson said.
Said Lynch: “A lot of guys come out of high school and they can only shoot the basketball standing still or they can just drive to the basket. I think him being able to do both, I’m hoping he’ll be able to walk in and play some as a freshman.”
CCU coaches are not allowed to comment on recruits until a National Letter of Intent has been formally signed.
The Chants received some bad news this week as well as freshman point guard Ronald Trapps suffered a season-ending knee injury while playing a pickup game with his new teammates over the weekend.
Trapps had successful surgery Thursday to repair what Ellis termed a “torn patella” that will sideline the newcomer from Lancaster, S.C., for the duration of the season.
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.