The Brooklyn Nets took a chance on a proven commodity at the college level when they selected Jalen Wilson with the 51st pick in this year's draft. Midway through the 2023-24 season, they like what they've seen from the rookie.

Brooklyn elevated Wilson, a four-year player at Kansas and the unanimous 2023 Big-12 Player of the Year, from a two-way contract to a three-year standard deal. The contract is guaranteed for the rest of this season, partially guaranteed for 2024-25, and includes a team option in 2025-26, league sources told HoopsHype's Michael Scotto.

After falling from a first-round projection to the bottom of the draft, the 23-year-old reacted to securing an NBA roster spot for the foreseeable future.

“Emotions were kinda all over the place. This is something I’ve been working really hard for,” Wilson said. “They just called me into the office and I got to talk to my agent. It kinda went by fast, but it was just a lot of emotions, a lot of excitement. It was good to tell my parents and stuff like that.”

“It means a lot. I mean, this is the birthplace of my now professional career, so it’s pretty cool to see how valuable people feel like I am and it’s just a blessing to be here. I feel like there’s a lot of love around here, a lot of good people, so I feel like it’s the best place to be.”

Wilson fell in the draft due to concerns about his athleticism and three-point shooting. However, he's made wholesale improvements as a floor-spacer in his first season as a pro. After shooting 31.6 percent from three in college, Wilson has shot 43.3 percent on 1.4 attempts per game with Brooklyn and 37.4 percent on 4.1 attempts per game in the G-League.

And as he did at Kansas, the 6-foot-6 forward has found numerous ways to impact the game as a defender, rebounder, screener, and cutter. He's also led the Long Island Nets in scoring, averaging 19.0 points per game on 47 percent shooting over 22 G-League appearances.

Kevin Ollie raves on what Jalen Wilson brings to the Nets

© Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

“Just stability. A constant professional,” interim head coach Kevin Ollie said when asked what Wilson brings. “Gets in the gym early and leaves late, all those different things that everybody says, but they’re true. Always in the lab, working on his game, perfecting his game, open to coaching. And just a great role model. Yeah, he's young, but he’s a leader. And we see those qualities in him.”

“We see the leadership in him and he’s just gonna continue to develop because he’s open for learning and he’s eager for learning. We want him to continue to do that. It’s great to have him in our organization on a multi-year deal.”

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The Nets opened a spot on the wing when they traded Royce O'Neale to the Phoenix Suns at the deadline. While Wilson didn't crack Ollie's initial rotation out of the All-Star break, he's averaged 21.3 minutes over Brooklyn's last three games with Cam Thomas and Ben Simmons sidelined.

With the security of a standard contract, the rookie will now attempt to force his way into Brooklyn's long-term rotation as the team pivots to a new era.

“Just adds more to it,” Wilson said of the new deal. “I feel like once you make a step towards the right direction, it's then how can I figure out and work ways to make another step? I just wanna keep going up. You don’t ever wanna get complacent with where you are no matter how successful you are. I feel like there’s always another opportunity, another step you can get to.”

“I’ve always just wanted an opportunity, no matter where it was. Whether it was here or Long Island, just getting to play and being able to get better, I feel like that was my main objective. And just being ready for whenever my time would come to be able to play.”