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Cal Basketball

After Stellar Senior Season, Wilkinson Anxious To Be a Bear

March 7, 2024
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The Bears lone signee to-date - The Skill Factory point guard Jeremiah Wilkinson‍ - quietly put together a monster of a season in 2023-24, averaging an eye-popping 33.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game in helping lead his TSF squad to a 27-4 record. He scored a season-high 57 points while shooting a solid 48% from the field, 41% from 3 and 82% from the line his senior season. 

The Skill Factory plays primarily against prep school and post grad programs as well as occasional high school and NBA Academy programs.

"I really did put in a lot of work," Wilkinson said his improvement this season. "Got my three-point percentage up. Just the little stuff, trying to be more efficient. But I'd say I credit the biggest part of my improvement to a boost in confidence. My coach really believed in me this year. He believes in what he's teaching me and he's been giving me great work all year. So I'm trusting that he's gonna let me go show them the game and he's gonna give me the space to do it and critiquing and show me exactly the way to go.”

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The 6-1/180 senior credits his coach, training staff and good old fashioned hard work with his improvement this season.

“My strength team switched so I was with different people," Wilkinson said. "And it was personal goals and me saying, I know I have to get here and making sure I'm working out and I'm eating right. And then on the skill set part, it's just finding all my weaknesses and working on them and really drilling into those this year. Like, I feel like my coach really drilled into fixing my weaknesses and building my strengths."

Acknowledging the jump from high school to Power-4 collegiate competition is a big one for most players, Wilkinson was determined to add different elements to his arsenal to become a more versatile and well-rounded player on his way to Cal next season.

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"Since I've been more athletic than a lot of the people I've played against, I had never really shot floaters,” Wilkinson said. “But when you're playing the college game, obviously you're not going to always be the most athletic, you're not gonna be the tallest all the time. So you're going to have to be able to drop floaters in and add different parts to your game.

"Being able to stroke from three, just naturally, just getting shots up, making it an unconscious movement, to where you catch and you know you're going to knock it down. And I feel like I'm more confident in my shot than I've ever been. And then the biggest thing I feel like I've worked on this year, it's just from a point guard aspect, I've really gotten better at making reads, playing out of ball screens, hitting lift passes, and reading the help side defense. That's been the biggest areas of improvement for me.”

The future Bear, who will earn his diploma from Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, Georgia this spring has kept up with the Bears as much as possible this season.

"I have. I don't have PAC 12 networks, but every game that comes on TV, I've watched and then I'll be watching the game against Stanford on TV,” Wilkinson said. “I also went to one of the Oregon State game on an unofficial visit. It was great. It was really like looking into the future for myself like, 'Wow, this is really cool. That's where I'm going to be in a minute in not too long for real.'"

Wilkinson got a taste of what to expect as a student-athlete at Cal in the Bears’ 81-73 win over OSU and he liked what he saw.

"The atmosphere at Haas was great,”Wilkinson said. “There's a buzz around the team this year and you can tell the team's feeding off of Coach Madsen, feeding off of the fans and the fans are loving it, too. So I feel lucky that I get to go in at a time where I feel like we can keep this momentum going and really solidify everybody coming to Haas and packing Haas out.”

The atmosphere around the team was another thing that solidified the future Bears’ excitement about joining the program next season.

'The team interactions, that was one of the big parts that I like about the program," Wilkinson said. "When a lot of people ask me about it, I'll say that's what’s really different with this team than what I've seen out there. It's a real family feel out there. Everybody really likes each other. Everybody's really invested with each other. It's more of a family feel than other programs in my opinion, other programs that I've been around and seen. And I feel like that's a part of the reason that through adversity, they're gonna play hard for each other because they really do love each other in that program. And I feel like they're really trying to play in a way for everybody to look good and not just themselves."

Discussion from...

After Stellar Senior Season, Wilkinson Anxious To Be a Bear

4,032 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by calumnus
Shocky1
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good article by jim, wilkinson would be a day 1 starter in berkeley
stu
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Shocky1 said:

good article by jim, wilkinson would be a day 1 starter in berkeley
Who will be the backup(s)? Portal player(s)?
calumnus
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stu said:

Shocky1 said:

good article by jim, wilkinson would be a day 1 starter in berkeley
Who will be the backup(s)? Portal player(s)?


It is low on the list of questions for next year, but as of right now backup PG minutes could be handled by Brown, Pavlovic or Robinson if he returns/has any more eligibility.

Hopefully we focus on bringing in top level starters through the portal. The only guy I am 100% on is Celestine.
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