Friday, January 21, 2011

Chris Wilson: A First Look

18 games into the 2010-2011 season, the Saint Joseph's Hawks sit with a record of 5-13. This comes after Wednesday night's 64-59 home loss against Rhode Island. Youth is one of the primary issues surrounding the Hawks, as their starting lineup features three freshmen, a sophomore, and a lone senior. Another issue that has become more and more apparent as the season has progressed is the lack of a true point guard on the team. Sophomore Tay Jones has manned the point for most of the season, but more out of necessity than natural ability. Tay's strength is scoring the basketball. On Wednesday night, freshman guard Langston Galloway spent some time at the point. What is the long-term answer for the point guard spot for the Hawks? That's an answer the coaches may have, but I don't. However, one option, and a very realistic one at that, is Terry Sanford High School senior Chris Wilson. On Wednesday, I was able to speak with Wilson's high school coach, Bill Boyette, about his senior point guard. This is the first half of the article, with the second part being posted later today.

When Chris signed with the Hawks officially in November, Saint Joseph's head coach Phil Martelli had this to say: "His game defines the true definition of a big guard." According to Terry Sanford coach Bill Boyette, that comment refers primarily to Chris' upper body strength. Boyette told me that Chris stands between 6'2 and 6'3 and possesses great upper body strength. Terry Sanford High School has a weight-lifting coach that spends a great deal of time with Chris. In addition to working on his strength, the two are also working on improving Chris' quickness and athleticism. A gifted athlete, Chris played quarterback for Terry Sanford as a freshman, but decided to focus solely on basketball in his sophomore, junior, and senior years.

One of the main questions surrounding Chris, and just about every other player billed as a point guard, is whether they are more of a pass-first or score-first point. I asked this question to Bill Boyette, and he told me that Chris does what is necessary for his team to win. Chris looks at the game situation, and determines what role his team needs him to fill on a given night. If he is needed to score, he will. At the moment, Chris is averaging just over 18 point per game, which puts him second in the county in scoring. At the same time, due to his ability to score, Chris is often trapped and double-teamed, in which case his court vision allows him to get his teammates involved. His court vision is something that Coach Boyette referred to a number of times during our conversation. ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep had this to say about Wilson when he saw him play last March in a tournament: "Wilson had a pretty good performance when matched up with the best guards in North Carolina. He looked very strong in general and despite being only 6'2", he weighs 200 pounds. He had a few notable passes and has very good court vision." That court vision and desire to get teammates involved in the game is what has most analysts referring to Chris as a "true point guard."

On the offensive side of the ball, Chris is scoring just over 18 points per game. One of his strengths is his ability to get in the lane, and either distribute the ball, or get himself to the free throw line. So far this season, Chris is hitting his free throws at an 82 percent clip. In addition to scoring, Chris is pulling down between 4 and 5 rebounds per game and dishing out between 4 and 5 assists per game. During our talk, Coach Boyette mentioned Chris' ability to post up opposing guards. When Chris is being guarded by smaller players, or taller players that lack his strength, he likes to take them to the post and either look to score or look for open men off cuts and screens.

Later on today, I'll post the second part of our conversation. That will focus on the defensive side of the ball, what Chris brings from a leadership perspective, and also the success that he has had at the high school level.

The picture of Chris above is from linked here

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