With walking across the stage at Clinton Junior Collegeâ€™s graduation, Darren Wilson will be doing something thatâ€™s becoming a familiar theme for himâ€”making dreams come true.
After a standout career at Lincolnton, Wilson, with the help of tutor Tina McDowell, landed in Rock Hill.
Once there, Wilson adjusted the college game well, averaging in double-figures with 10 points per game. This season Wilson upped that mark to 13 and led the Golden Bears to a Region X Conference Tournament Championship, while being named MVP in the process.
With 12.5 seconds left, the 6-foot-guard nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Golden Bears a 65-62 lead and the conference title.
â€œIt was like a dream come true. Iâ€™ve never won a championship in my life, so that was a blessing,â€ he humbly said of the big moment.
With two more years of eligibility remaining, Wilson shunned the likes of South Carolina State, Savannah State, Hawaii Pacific and St. Andrews and signed with Southern Wesleyan.
â€œIt was a good opportunity to finish up my last two years and do so in a good environment. Coach Charles Winfrey is a good person to talk things out with,â€ Wilson said.
A factor in deciding to sign with Southern Wesleyan was the type of discipline Winfrey enforces and Christian environment.
â€œIt will be good to have curfews, a lot of discipline and weâ€™ll have Bible studies and other Christian talks,â€ Wilson said.
Wilson, who is just as quick to flash a smile as he is to turn a defenderâ€™s ankle with a crossover dribble, knows if it wasnâ€™t for his parents, LaDonna and Walter, he likely wouldnâ€™t find himself in the position heâ€™s in now.
â€œMost people donâ€™t have both parents to teach them to be respectful. When you get to be my age, most are with single parents, so Iâ€™m just blessed to be with both,â€ he said.
Also, spurring him on and encouraging him were former all-time Wolves leading scorer Jeremy Wilson and Marco Arias, who started on Lincolntonâ€™s state runner-up team in 1993.
â€œThey both had a big impact on me continuing school and always were pushing me. If I needed someone to talk to, they were always there,â€ Wilson said of his big brother and mentor.
Among those Wilson is grateful to are Lincolnton coaches Bob Cowie and Scott Cloninger and this yearâ€™s Clinton coach Travis Garrett.
â€œIâ€™m just glad I had coaches that cared about me as a person and cared about me moving on and furthering my education,â€ he said.
Wilson has modest goals for his final two years of college at Southern Wesleyan– fit in, get along with everybody and just finish up at a four-year university.
â€œI didnâ€™t think I was going to make it this far. Iâ€™m just glad Iâ€™ve made it this far and ,hopefully God, will bless me with getting another degree at Southern Wesleyan.â€
by John Mark Brooks