Wilson have a solid track record when it comes to making basketballs, and with the NCAA Wave they’re trying to do things a little differently. The patented ‘Wave Triple Threat Technology’ adds three grooves to each panel which are designed to provide additional grip as well as reduce build up of moisture and dirt. But is The Professor’s (a famous basketball YouTuber, for those unaware) basketball of choice really a decent investment?
- Grooves are cut into the carcass creating recessed ridges, providing superior ball control
- Replaced with pebbled composite leather to enhance gripability
- Low-density sponge rubber and ultra-durable butyl rubber producing a basketball with exceptional feel
If there’s one thing the NCAA Wave doesn’t lack, that would be grip. Despite being suitable for outdoor use, the grip on this basketball isn’t far behind expensive indoor-only composite leather basketballs.
This isn’t only because of the additional grooves the ball features, but the composite leather cover itself is very spongy and soft.
Because it has a lot more grip than your average basketball, it might be difficult going back to other basketballs when you’ve become used to using a basketball like the NCAA Wave.
Bounce is always an important factor when considering basketballs. The bounce shouldn’t be too flat or too bouncy, and it should also be consistent, meaning it bounces exactly the way you’d expect it to.
The NCAA Wave has the right amount of bounce, and definitely doesn’t feel flat. Wilson have done a good job fine-tuning the perfect amount of bounce for their basketballs and this basketball is no exception.
However, the consistency isn’t perfect, and during skills like the crossover you might have to account for the potential of an awkward bounce. It’s perhaps a little ironic that one of the most famous ball handlers gives the NCAA Wave so much praise.
Pebbling and Channel Design
The NCAA Wave Microfiber composite basketball has fairly deep pebbling. Like most other Wilson basketballs, the basketball also features pebbled channels, meaning the grip of the channels is more consistent with the rest of the ball and also less of a problem for those with sweatier hands. I am personally a big fan of pebbled channels, so it’s nice to see the NCAA Wave featuring them as well.
The channels are fairly wide, and depth-wise somewhere around the middle. The size and depth of channels are usually a personal preference, so it’s always best to find out what you like at a sporting goods store. But if you’re looking for a ball with very average channels, this basketball is a good choice.
Despite feeling very grippy and spongy, the NCAA Wave is (surprisingly) suitable for play on all surfaces. It can be played both indoors and outdoors, although using it outdoors will of course wear it down quicker.
After playing with it exclusively outdoors for 3 months, the ball had worn down considerably and lost a significant amount of grip from what it originally had. That’s fairly typical for any composite leather basketball, so durability wise the NCAA Wave is fairly average–nothing bad but nothing special either.
For indoor play, the basketball should easily last at least 1-2 years, perhaps more depending on your playtime, frequency and what not.
Overall the NCAA Wave is another very nice basketball coming from Wilson. It provides more grip than similarly priced indoor/outdoor composite leather basketballs, so if grip is a big priority, this might be the basketball for you. However, the grooves across the panels are not something that are typically found in other basketballs, so you might find it a little awkward switching between them.
The NCAA Wave is currently one of our top-rated outdoor basketballs.