PULLMAN – Jack Wilson wrapped up his football career Saturday, then returned to the court.
Wilson spent two seasons as a backup offensive tackle on Washington State’s football team. Now, he’s joining the Cougars’ basketball program.
WSU radio broadcaster Matt Chazanow reported Thursday over Twitter that Wilson “is now on the basketball squad and is in Eugene” for the Cougars’ game against Oregon.
“Injuries for Coug hoops have opened a spot and Wilson has fit right in,” Chazanow tweeted. “Been at practice working into it.”
The 6-foot-11, 335-pound Wilson was a four-star basketball recruit coming out of Junipero Serra High in San Mateo, California. He signed with Oregon State in 2018-19 and played in seven games as a true freshman before withdrawing and transferring to Idaho.
Wilson averaged 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game over 18 appearances with the Vandals in 2019-20. He shot 37.5% from the floor. He showed flashes early in the 2019-20 season, totaling 39 points and 24 rebounds during a four-game stretch against Big Sky competition. Wilson scored 12 points (6 of 9 from the floor) and eight rebounds in his best performance at UI.
He saw action in the first four games of Idaho’s 2020-21 season but left the program in early 2021 and set his sights on becoming a strength coach. Wilson found an opportunity at WSU, becoming an intern for the basketball team while working at a local GNC. He crossed paths with Dwain Bradshaw, the head strength and conditioning coach for WSU’s football program. Bradshaw asked Wilson to intern for the Cougars’ football team. Wilson accepted, but when he met with WSU coaches, they extended a walk-on offer.
He tried his hand at a new sport – Wilson didn’t play football in high school.
At first, Wilson played on WSU’s defensive line, but he was moved to offensive tackle in fall camp 2021.
Wilson appeared in every game during the 2021 season, primarily on special teams. He played in 12 games this season, mostly with the field-goal team. Wilson took some reps at offensive tackle this year during WSU’s blowout wins over Colorado State and Stanford.
He took part in senior night celebrations Saturday before the Cougars kicked off against Washington at Gesa Field.
Wilson had run out of eligibility for football, but he could resume his basketball career due to the NCAA’s decision to grant athletes an extra season of eligibility in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Unfortunately I did not get the Covid year for football like I originally expected,” Wilson tweeted Wednesday. “NCAA only allows it for the sport you were playing during Covid. For me that was basketball.”
It’ll probably take awhile for Wilson to adapt to Division I basketball and claim a significant playing role, but he’ll at least add a sizable, physical post presence off the bench for a team that needs help in the frontcourt.
The Cougars are shorthanded and lacking experience and bulk in the paint. Sophomore Mouhamed Gueye is their only dependable big man . Center Dishon Jackson is sidelined indefinitely as he works through an unspecified medical issue. True freshman backups Adrame Diongue and Mael Hamon-Crespin are playing limited minutes as they adjust to this level.
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