Freshman forward Kasey Wilson ready to step up
Published: Sunday, January 22, 2012
Updated: Sunday, January 22, 2012 16:01
As a freshman coming out of North Port High School, Knights forward Kasey Wilson said he has seen some big crowds before.
But nothing like what he's seen the past two weeks.
Wilson, who is finding himself playing more and more of a role for the Knights since senior center Dwight McCombs was suspended for the rest of the season, said the crowds on the road at Marshall and then at home against Memphis were unlike anything he'd ever experienced.
"It's been a good experience, because I'm not used to anything like that," Wilson said. "Just to be a part of that environment, at this big of a stage, it's something different. … I'm really enjoying it."
Wilson may only be averaging 1.1 points per contest with 1.3 rebounds, but the freshman has seen an increased role recently and has also made some key energy plays over the past few contests, specifically against Houston and Marshall.
"You have to give Kasey Wilson credit; he came in there and gave us a nice lift," associate head coach Shawn Finney said after the Houston game. Wilson had three rebounds and two points in the win over the Cougars.
Wilson also played six minutes on the road against Marshall and made some key contributions. The forward totaled five points, three of which came on a banked-in 3-pointer with time ticking down in the first half, a play that created some momentum for the trailing Knights.
The game against the Herd, played in front of a hostile crowd, could have been a "baptism by fire" of sorts for Wilson, but the Florida native had a good time.
"It was kind of cool actually, because no matter what we did good, they were going to hate on it," Wilson said. "We ended up with a loss, but I think it was good for us. … I've never played [in front of] a crowd like that."
Wilson, along with senior forward P.J. Gaynor and sophomore forward Tristan Spurlock, have all seen an increased role since McCombs became ineligible. The Knights' front court has had to band together, and Wilson says the forwards have handled the situation well.
"We really just need to work together, be smarter, stay out of foul trouble. We've come together well, though," Wilson said.
For now, Wilson said he understands his role and appreciates the opportunity for floor time in his freshman year.
"I know coach isn't looking at me to score a lot of points right now [because] I'm so young, so I think [that] if I can just do the little things that will help me stay on the floor and help me contribute to our team to win," Wilson said. "I think I've had to [grow up these past few weeks]."