Darren and Eric Wilson, a year ago, put the finishing touches on prolific careers at Lincolnton High School. Both have been blessed enough to take their game to the next level.
On Thursday, Darren Wilson helped Clinton Junior College to an 82-56 win. Darren as a freshman is averaging slightly over 15 minutes per game on a team that is 7-5 overall and 3-0 in the Region Ten Conference.
So what has been the biggest adjustment Wilson has had to make?
â€œItâ€™s not too much different. The only thing is you got to think more. Iâ€™m just glad I had the ability to play college ball, so I just thank the Lord I have the ability to play somewhere,â€ Darren said.
Wilson, despite a non-starterâ€™s role, is averaging 10 points and two assists a contest. The confident Wilson is not surprised with his early success.
â€œItâ€™s not really surprising. Anytime, I get a chance I know Iâ€™m going to make something happen. I have that confidence.â€
Putting his opportunity to play on the next level into perspective Wilson said.
â€œMost people donâ€™t go anywhere after high school, so Iâ€™m glad I did.â€
For Eric Wilson, playing in the Southern Conference, opportunities as a diaper-dandy are limited. The 6â€™2â€ guard is averaging two points a game in six minutes per contest.
â€œIâ€™m just trying to hang in there,â€ he said after Western Carolinaâ€™s 93-50 victory over Atlanta Christian Thursday night in which he scored four points.
A bright spot for Eric is shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line on the season. As he said during his high school career, â€˜You have to make them count.â€™
Both Darren and Eric have the reputations for being extremely coachable, give 100-percent effort and want to do whatever they can to help their teams win.
Darren, at 6â€™0â€ and blessed with superb athleticism and outstanding handling, he has the goal to start at the shooting guard position next season.
â€œI just want to take it one step at a time and not rush into nothing,â€ he said.
Aiding Wilson in taking steps toward that goal are his grandmother Pansty Littlejohn, mother LaDonna Wilson and brother Jeremy Wilson (one of the most prolific scorers to ever play at Lincolnton High).
Also in Darrenâ€™s corner is Marco Arias, a former shooting guard for the Lincolnton Wolves team that finished as state runner-up in 1993. Arias talks to Wilson everyday and has given the freshman spiritual guidance, as well as encouragement along the sometimes bumpy path.
â€œHe is doing his thing. Iâ€™ve known him (Darren) for a long time and it doesnâ€™t surprise me what heâ€™s able to do on the court,â€ Arias said.
In a sport where confidence is key, Wilson gained a boost of confidence playing well against one of the players heâ€™s looked up to the most; Hot Sauce And 1â€™s point guard known for his unbelievable dribbling skills.
â€œWhen I was in middle school I always wanted to play against them, but it wasnâ€™t as exciting as I thought it was going to be. I hit him (Hot Sauce) with a little simple crossover and he went for it and scored two points on him,â€ Wilson said.
Both players are faring well, not only on the court but also in the classroom as both sport GPAs over 2.0.
â€œYou know I got to do that. Iâ€™m trying to make the Deanâ€™s List,â€ Eric, the all-time leading scorer in Lincolntonâ€™s storied history, said.
Eric currently has a 3.5 with final exams looming.
Records and legacies, while remembered, are made to be broken.
So who does Darren think will fill his shoes as a Wolf?
â€œI think Phillip Robinson is going to be the next Darren Wilson. I just see a lot of me in him. He has the ability to do anything he wants. I like the way he handles the rock. I believe heâ€™s further along than most people his age.â€
Note: Eric Wilson broke Jeremy Wilsonâ€™s all-time scoring record last season. Eric scored 38 points in one contest. He scored over 30 points multiple times for the Wolves. by John Mark Brooks