Kansas basketball: Former Jayhawk Jalen Wilson has breakout game with Brooklyn Nets

Dec 20, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Jalen Wilson (22) during the fourth quarter
Dec 20, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Jalen Wilson (22) during the fourth quarter / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

There was a lot of controversy surrounding the Brooklyn Nets' decision to rest most of their impact players after the first quarter. Former Jayhawk Jacque Vaughn's team lost 144-122 against the Milwaukee Bucks, but a fellow Kansas basketball alum was a beneficiary of the resting tactics.

Jalen Wilson was selected 51st in this past year's NBA Draft by the Brooklyn Nets and subsequently signed a two-way deal with the organization. Prior to yesterday, he had scored just 20 points across eight appearances, yet he surpassed his point total in one game yesterday.

Wilson played a team-high 30 minutes and led the Nets with 21 points on 5-of-13 shooting in the loss. He secured a double-double with 10 rebounds and connected on all 11 free throw attempts.

Needless to say, his career day was unexpected, considering his lack of minutes in prior contests. It was a performance reminiscent of his days with the Kansas basketball program. He drove to the rack and drew several fouls in the paint.

During his time at Kansas, Wilson became one of the most accomplished Jayhawks in recent history. He was a vital contributor to the national championship-winning team in 2022, scoring 13 points in the title game and earning All-Big 12 honors.

He truly broke out of his shell last year, becoming the third Jayhawk to average 20+ points on a Bill Self-coached team. He was a first-team Consensus All-American and won the Big 12 Player of the Year award. He averaged 20.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists.

While he is expected to be relegated to his regular bench role moving forward, Wilson proved that he belongs to stay last night. It shouldn't be long before he becomes a mainstay in the Nets rotation, especially if he continues to impress the coaching staff with games like yesterday.