Wil­son earns first start, puts to­gether ca­reer day

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - SPORTS - By David Borges david.borges @hearst­medi­act.com

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 ex­am­ple than with about 51⁄2 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.”

With lead­ing scorer Jalen Adams and point guard Al­terique Gil­bert side­lined by in­juries, Hur­ley said he gave Wil­son the start to use his length and ath­letic abil­ity to guard Mem­phis lead­ing scorer Jeremiah Martin. Martin wound up with 12 points, nearly five be­low his sea­son av­er­age, and took just six shots.

But that’s not the only rea­son Hur­ley gave Wil­son the start

“Sid’s earned it with his at­ti­tude, with his prac­tice, with his per­son­al­ity ev­ery day.”


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.”


For the sec­ond game in a row, Gil­bert par­tic­i­pated in pregame warm-ups in full uni­form. How­ever, the red­shirt sopho­more point guard sat out his fourth game in a row af­ter hurt­ing his sur­gi­cally-re­paired left shoul­der against Wi­chita State on Jan. 26.

Brad Vest / As­so­ci­ated Press

UConn’s Sid­ney Wil­son, right, at­tempts to block a shot by Mem­phis’ Ant­wann Jones on Sun­day.

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