Kansas junior Jalen Wilson named to preseason all-Big 12 squad

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) pulls up for a jumper against Nevada during the second half on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) pulls up for a jumper against Nevada during the second half on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson, one of two returning starters from last season’s national championship team, was named to the all-Big 12 preseason squad on Wednesday.

Wilson, who flirted with turning pro but elected to return to school for the second season in a row, was one of six players on the Big 12’s first team.

He becomes the 38th Jayhawk to earn preseason all-Big 12 honors and KU now has had at least one player on the preseason all-conference team in all but two of the 27 seasons the Big 12 has existed.

The league’s coaches voted for the team and they were not allowed to vote for their own players.

KU newcomer Kevin McCullar Jr., a transfer from Texas Tech, also earned an honorable mention nod in this year’s preseason all-Big 12 voting.

Both players are expected to start for the Jayhawks during the upcoming season, but Wilson has the biggest path toward stardom.

After playing a key role on each of the past two KU teams, Wilson returns for his redshirt junior season as the Jayhawks’ top returning scorer and rebounder from the national title team.

The Denton, Texas, forward averaged 11.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season and was a couple of rebounds shy of averaging a double-double throughout the NCAA Tournament.

After earning his way into an NBA combine invitation through his play at the pre-draft G League camp, Wilson took in the feedback and elected to return to KU for another run with the Jayhawks.

He said then that helping teach the young guys and newcomers the Kansas way was important to him, and he was also eager to take on a bigger role for Bill Self’s squad both as a player and a leader.

“I really want to focus this year on communicating, being a good leader, because the next class is always going to learn from the older guys,” Wilson said this summer when talking about his return. “I just want to be the best example I can be.”

That approach figures to increase his opportunities on the court, as well. Wilson has worked hard on his outside shot this offseason and he said during a recent day-in-the-life video shot by Kansas Athletics, that his main goal was to make everything about his jump shot automatic.

“That’s all I’ve been working on now,” he said. “Just having the same shot, same rhythm, same flow and doing it every day. Being consistent is the thing that I’ve seen that’s helped me the most.”

Wilson was one of three players who were unanimous selections to the 2022-23 all-Big 12 preseason team. Baylor’s Adam Flagler and TCU’s Mike Miles Jr. were the others.

Oklahoma State guard Avery Anderson III and Texas Longhorns Timmy Allen and Marcus Carr rounded out this year’s team. There were six players on the five-man squad because of a tie in the voting.

Miles also was named the Big 12’s Preseason Player of the Year and he was joined by Oklahoma’s Grant Sherfield as the Preseason Newcomer of the Year and Baylor’s Keyonte George, who was voted Preseason Freshman of the Year.

Preseason All-Big 12 Team

Adam Flagler, Baylor

Jalen Wilson, Kansas

Avery Anderson III, Oklahoma State

Mike Miles Jr., TCU

Timmy Allen, Texas

Marcus Carr, Texas

Honorable Mention: LJ Cryer (Baylor), Keyonte George (Bay-lor), Kevin McCullar Jr. (Kansas), Tanner Groves (Oklahoma), Moussa Cisse (Oklahoma State), Emanuel Miller (TCU), Tyrese Hunter (Texas), Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech), Kevin Obanor (Texas Tech).