J.J. Wilkins, a 5-foot-9, 158-pound lead guard prospect from Niagara Falls High School in Niagara Falls, New York, hopes to produce a big summer on the AAU basketball circuit, according to NFHS head coach Sal Costantino.
The second-year leader of the highly regarded upstate basketball program believes Wilkins will continue to make progress in his individual game as he competes in the intense summer months in front of college coaches, who will evaluate his skill level.
WHAT SAL COSTANTINO HAS TO SAY ABOUT J.J. WILKIN'S INDIVIDUAL BASKETBALL GAME:
"He was flat out the best on-ball defender in western New York State," said Costantino in a previous interview.
"As the playoffs went on, he proved to be one of the best in state, shows no fear in attacking basket and pull up is strongest part of his game.
"This summer he will become a more consistent three-point shooter. During the playoffs he was our engine and the team fed off him."
During his recruiting process, there has been increased interest. "He has some interest from Youngstown State, Stony Brook, and Wagner," said Costantino. "He will play this summer with Jermaine (Crumpton) with the 716 team out of Buffalo."
During the season, in one of the key moments and in the clutch, Wilkins produced 15 points to provide a come from behind victory over Lockport in a Class AA quarterfinal playoff game.
During the regular season, J.J. averaged 12 points a game, seven assists and five steals per contest.
Previously, J.J. ripped off 20 points for his team in a win over Grand Island in one of his best games of the year. Wilkins has made improvements on both sides of the ball, too. He's been consistently running the offense with more skill, according to Costantino.
TAKING A LOOK AT J.J. WILKINS' SUMMER AND FALL PROGRESS:
At the Canisius team basketball camp last summer, then-soon-to-be junior prospect averaged 15 points a game. Niagara Falls High School won five of the six contests at this particular event.
Previously, Wilkins scored 17 points in a victory against Wilson High School, a game Niagara Falls competed without talented classmate and forward Jermaine Crumpton. This was the Niagara PAL team camp.
WHAT SAL CONSTANTINO SAYS ABOUT J.J. WILKINS:
"He's playing with the 16 and under Albany City Rocks," said Costantino previously about J.J. summer schedule. The Rocks are traditionally one of the best AAU boy's basketball programs in the country, run by Jim Hart. And the Rocks do play in the best national tournaments each spring and summer.
J.J. also scored 13 points in an upstate all star game. He also had five assists.
Wilkins had a terrific 2010-2011 season for first-year head coach Sal Costantino. Wilkins made an impact in many ways. J.J. scored nearly 11 points a game this past season and was one of the better defenders game after game for Niagara Falls High School.
HIS SEASON IN 2010-2011:
J.J. had some fine games on both ends of the court this past season, including producing 16 points and compiling seven steals to lead Niagara Falls High School past Wheatfield, 70-38.
In a victory over Kenmore East High School, 89-62,
Wilkins scored 13 points and handed out six assists. He was equally efficient defensively too, doing a great job in getting into the passing lanes.
In addition, J.J. produced 15 points to help NFHS upend Grand Island High School, 94-38. Wilkins was also a terror on defense, being credited with seven steals and a couple of deflections.
Wilkins' defensive skill level was a big reason why Niagara Falls High School knocked off Jamestown on opening night. "He locked down his opponent and helped us win," said Costantino.
Wilkins also made some significant contributions on offense. He scored nine points.
But the stat that stands out so much was Wilkins' seven steals, disrupting the Jamestown offense. "He made a difference," said Costantino.
DESCRIPTION OF JUNIOR J.J. WILKINS' INDIVIDUAL BASKETBALL GAME:
"His point guard skills are improving every day," said Costantino. "He works very hard and we're hoping he has a big season."
"J.J. really changes the outlook of the game from the defensive side," said Costantino. "He is improving every day in practice too. He reminds me of former St. Bonaventure guard Tim Winn, a Niagara Falls native."