Laurel resident Wilson plays big off the bench for George Mason
By David Driver
Dec 22, 2017 | 3:05 PM
In his third college basketball game, Laurel resident AJ Wilson, 20, missed his only shot from the field and committed two fouls in just seven minutes of action against Binghamton.
The next day at practice he had a conversation with George Mason University head coach Dave Paulsen.
“I felt at that point he was being too hard on himself,” Paulsen noted. “There are so many great players from this area. He is looking around at other kids he knows and comparing himself to them.”
The message must have resonated with Wilson, who attended Deerfield Run and Montpelier elementary schools in Laurel.
The next day, after talking to Paulsen, and two days after the Binghamton game, Wilson came off the bench to make five of seven shots from the field and score 12 points with a game-high eight blocks in 22 minutes of action against Cal State-Northridge.
That is unusual consistency for Wilson, who attended Bowie High as a freshman, DuVal High, in Lanham, asa sophomore, Montrose Christian, in Rockville, as a junior and ELEV8 Prep Academy, in Florida, for his last year of high school.
Wilson averaged 12 points at DuVal, 10 points per contest at Montrose Christian and 7.5 rebounds per game as a senior in Florida.
“You definitely have to establish who you are as a basketball player and as a student,” he said.
Even through all of that upheaval, Wilson knew he wanted to play at Division I George Mason.
He can vaguely remember the Final Four team at Mason in 2006 that started five players from Maryland. A redshirt on the Patriots that season was John Vaughn, a former Laurel High basketball and football standout.