Wilson earns first start, has a big day
Not long ago, Sid Wilson was unhappy with his playing time and role at UConn, and was showing his displeasure.
“He was being a baby 10 days, two weeks ago,” coach Dan Hurley said, pointedly.
Hurley sat down with the talented redshirt freshman to set things straight. It seems to have worked.
Wilson, in his first collegiate start, scored a careerhigh 16 points to go with six rebounds and three blocks in UConn’s 78-71 loss at Memphis on Sunday.
“We had a great meeting,” Hurley recalled, “and his whole practice mindset has changed. Now, two of the last three games, he’s looked like a good player with a good future.”
Wilson agreed he needed an attitude adjustment.
“I was in my own way a lot,” he recalled. “Now, I feel like with a better attitude, putting in more work in the gym, I feel like I can build confidence. That’s how I played so well (Sunday).”
He added that, during their meeting, Hurley conveyed to him that “he believes in me, believes in the talent that I have. He feels like all the answers to my problems are in the gym. So, that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Beyond the stat sheet, Wilson provides length and athleticism that stands out among his teammates. There was no better ex- ample than with about 5 ⁄2
1 minutes left in the first half, when he blocked an Antwann Jones shot off the backboard, collected the rebound and took the ball coast-to-coast for a tough, left-handed layup.
“I try to make athletic plays all over the court, defensively, I try to get that to upstart my offense,” Wilson said. “That’s what I did (Sunday). It started with a couple of blocks, and my offense started to click after that.”
At one point during a timeout, Hurley rushed out of the coaches box area and appeared to get into it with a Memphis fan.
“I really didn’t know where I was at that point,” Hurley said. “I somehow found myself by the Memphis dance team. I apologize to the dance team coach. But Joe (Lindsay, one of the referees) did a good job explaining to me where I’m allowed to go in timeouts. So, I’ll be better next time. It was fun. I don’t know what (the fan) said, and I just kinda smirked at him. I think he kinda enjoyed it.”
Hurley wasn’t about to apologize for his demonstrative sideline behavior throughout the game.
“Listen, I love sports,” he said. “I grew up in Jersey City, where basketball is the most important thing in the city. It’s a lot like the people in Memphis here, basketball is important to this city. I grew up in the same environment. This is sports. We’re not in a board room. It’s emotional, it’s competitive, there’s intensity.” david.borges @hearstmediact.com