Ranked as a four-star recruit by Rivals coming out of high school, guard Mylik Wilson came in as a freshman and took the Sun Belt Conference by storm.
Wilson made his mark defensively over the course of the 2020-21 basketball season as he led the team in steals with a whopping 68 as well as being declared the Defensive Player of the Year for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
“Mylik Wilson does a lot of things that go unnoticed, that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet,” Louisiana basketball operations director Mike Murphy said. “It has to do with deflections defensively. Getting guys to catch the ball on the perimeter three or four feet off their mark. Going to the basket, being able to score, in transition, with a non-typical type of move. He can get himself contorted and still finish at the goal.”
Coming out of Rayville High School, Wilson could do it all. Whether it was dropping an easy 30 points on any given night or even coming up with a crucial defensive play down the stretch, Wilson was there.
According to Rivals, a recruiting-based website, Wilson was the number one player in the state of Louisiana in the class of 2019, and he decided to stay home and play for the Ragin’ Cajuns just as stud point guard Cedric Russell did.
Although, it is not easy staying home and playing in front of the people who watched you go from nothing to something.
“There’s a lot of pressure when you’re an in-state kid going to an in-state school … to produce right away, and I think both of those guys have done an excellent job with that,” Murphy said. “But Mylik has really progressed faster than any of us thought.”
With offers from schools such as Iowa State, Rutgers, Tulane, and many others, Wilson chose to stay home and play for the Ragin’ Cajuns rather than do what many do, and that is select the school with the biggest name or elegant facilities.
Wilson made the best decision for his basketball career by attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, as he got immediate exposure and experience in his freshman campaign for the Cajuns.
Wilson averaged 11.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists despite usually not playing the point, and 2.2 steals per game.
He led all Sun Belt freshmen in scoring, rebounding, and steals, and was third nationally among all freshmen in steals.
It is difficult to come in and produce immediately, but Wilson has leaned heavily on his elders, including this year’s Beryl Shipley Leadership Award recipient Cedric Russell, to lead him in the right direction.
“I try to keep him as close to me as possible,” Russell added, “and really build that chemistry off the court, so on the court it’s like night and day.”
With chemistry beginning to gel fluently, the Cajun’s will rely heavily on their “Big 3” of Cedric Russell, Jalen Johnson and Mylik Wilson to lead them to a Sun Belt Conference championship and ultimately bring them to their goal: the NCAA tournament next March.