Edited by Charles Simmonds
As the Spiders look forward to two promising seasons, courtesy of a stellar junior class, coach Mooney and staff are preparing for the changing of the guard.
3-star recruit Isaiah Wilson committed to Richmond on Monday evening. Wilson (2020 PG) is the 30th ranked PG in the nation and the 4th overall player in Pennsylvania according to 247sports.com. The 5’ 11” guard is a quick scorer with an aggressive knack for driving, strong finishing ability, and a team-first style of play. He’s decisive when driving to the hole, searching for kick-outs when available while not shying from contact.
“[Wilson is] a big time get for us,” said a team source. He was a priority of Richmond’s and is a victory for Chris Mooney, who has been criticized for an inability to land highly ranked recruits.
Star point guard Jacob Gilyard is entering his junior season for the Spiders. It appears that Wilson, whose shorter frame resembles that of 5’ 9” Gilyard’s, will get to learn under him during Gilyard’s final year in 2020-2021. Expect sophomore guard Andre Gustavson, a proven passer and defender, to run the offense in the year following Gilyard’s departure, however, he’d likely split those duties with Wilson.
Richmond now puts itself in a position to avoid a young transition season like last year. The current core of Gilyard, Grant Golden, Nick Sherod, Blake Francis, Nathan Cayo and company will remain intact next year. Even following their departure, Wilson will be a sophomore point guard at that point to complement a veteran group featuring Gustavson, Jake Wojcik, Tyler Burton, Connor Crabtree, Sal Koureissi and Matt Grace.
Using the last remaining scholarship, Richmond now moves on to the 2021 recruiting class in search of bigs. The Wilson commitment also indicates that Mooney has confidence in sophomores Sal Koureissi and Matt Grace to take considerable roles under the glass during their senior season, hopefully reinforced by freshmen forwards.
2019-2020 will be a major year for Richmond as many around the league are picking them as a dark horse in the A-10 (are they really even a dark horse at this point?). They legitimately have the talent, on paper, to land a top-6 finish in the conference and even make a run in the A-10 tournament for an auto-bid at the NCAA tourney like St. Louis did. However, 2020-2021 is the year for Spider fans to get excited about. They will return their ENTIRE roster, add Wilson, and Tulane-transfer Connor Crabtree will also become eligible.
So what does the Wilson addition mean? A lot. As exciting as this season is for Spider fans, it should get them pumped for 2020-2021, which will see Mooney’s deepest roster ever.
It also has recruiting implications for Richmond. Tyler Burton is seen by many within the team as a major steal. He’s done nothing but impress all summer. If Burton pans out the way many expect him to, the commitment from Wilson and the new $15 million practice facility could allude to more competitive recruiting classes in the future.