By Christian Caple The News Tribune
C.J. Wilcox grew up in Utah, though his family has since relocated to San Diego.
Now, the former Washington Huskies shooting guard will join them in southern California.
Wilcox, the No. 2 scorer and most prolific 3-point shooter in Huskies history, will play professionally for the Los Angeles Clippers after being selected with the 28th overall pick on Thursday during the first round of the NBA draft.
Wilcox becomes the 11th first-round pick in UW history, and the seventh since coach Lorenzo Romar took over in 2002. He was also the fourth of six Pacific-12 Conference players drafted in the first round, joining Arizona forward Aaron Gordon (4th overall to Orlando), UCLA guard and Bothell native Zach LaVine (13th overall to Minnesota), UCLA guard Jordan Adams (22nd overall to Memphis), Stanford forward Josh Huestis (29th overall to Oklahoma City) and UCLA forward Kyle Anderson (30th overall to San Antonio).
In the NBA, being drafted in the first round instead of the second is an important distinction; rookie contracts for first-round picks are guaranteed, meaning Wilcox will be guaranteed the full value of his contract once he signs.
According to RealGM, the first-year rookie contract scale for the 28th pick is $924,800, increasing to $966,400 in Year 2 and $1.008 million if the team exercises its option to retain the player for a third year. If the team then chooses to exercise its option to retain the player for a fourth year, a salary increase of 80.5 percent would be required. First-round picks can sign for as little as 80 percent or as much as 120 percent of the initial scale figure.
In Los Angeles, the 6-foot-5, 195-pound Wilcox will join a Clippers team that finished third in the Western Conference in 2013-14 with a 57-25 record before losing in the conference semifinals to Oklahoma City.
The Clippers are led by a pair of All Star players – forward Blake Griffin and point guard Chris Paul – and their roster currently features Seattle native Jamal Crawford, as well as sharp-shooting guard J.J. Redick. The Clippers also drafted a shooting guard last season, when they selected Reggie Bullock with the 25th pick.
But with a point guard as skilled and unselfish as Paul, and a big man who commands as much attention in the paint as Griffin, Wilcox seems to fit well as a 3-point specialist who can stretch defenses and space the floor.
Wilcox’s collegiate career began at UW in 2009-10, when he redshirted as a true freshman. He wound up staying five years and playing four seasons, tallying 1,880 points, second-most in UW history behind Christian Welp. His 2013-14 senior season was his most productive, as he averaged 18.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, and was named second-team All-Pac-12 for the second consecutive season.
But it was his 3-point shooting ability that made him a first-round prospect. Wilcox made 301 3-pointers for the Huskies, more than any UW player, and set the single-season record for 3-point makes with 90 in 2013-14. He is also the only Huskies player to ever score 1,700 points and make 250 3-pointers in his career.
In addition to the six Pac-12 players selected in the first round, three more were taken in the second: Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie (38th overall to Detroit), Arizona guard Nick Johnson (42nd overall to Houston) and Stanford forward Dwight Powell (45th overall to Charlotte).
Former Washington State guard Xavier Thames, who transferred to San Diego State and played his last three collegiate seasons for the Aztecs, was selected 59th overall by the Toronto Raptors.