CEDAR RAPIDS — When Doug Wilson played high school basketball at Des Moines Hoover, he worked tirelessly to expand his influence on the court.
Initially known for his rebounding and scoring at the basket, the Kirkwood sophomore now possesses a wide-ranging set of skills that can be utilized from any point on the floor.
“He comes to work every day,” sixth-year Kirkwood Coach Bryan Petersen said. “He gets better because he is always competing, always going hard. I think he has matured a lot, too. He understands the importance that he is to our team and how big of a leader he needs to be for us. He does that on a consistent basis and that has obviously allowed him to get better.”
The 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward leads Kirkwood (17-2, 6-0 ICCAC) in points (20.6 per game), rebounds (8.2 per game), blocks (32) and steals (19). His 46 assists rank a close third on the team.
“Really proud of his development,” Petersen said. “He affects the game in a lot of different ways.”
Wilson was a second-team selection to the NJCAA Division II All-America team as a freshman last season when he averaged 14 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game for a Kirkwood team that finished 24-6, won the ICCAC regular-season title and was two wins away from the national tournament.
“I know how the game is now,” Wilson said. “I had a good experience my freshman year. A lot of it just comes easier now as a sophomore.”
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With the ability to generate offense away from the basket, Wilson has scored at least 20 points in five of his last seven games, including back-to-back 25-point efforts in wins at home against NIACC and at Iowa Lakes.
Kirkwood has long been known as a program that can score points. As Petersen works to increase the depth of the team and hone the execution, he believes he now has a team that can get work done on the defensive end.
That effort also starts with Wilson.
“He sets the tone for us,” Petersen said. “I think that is one thing that he takes a ton of pride in when it comes to guarding people and really locking people up. That is something he had before he came to Kirkwood and he has just continued to grow with it. When your best player has that mentality, it is pretty easy for the other guys to fall in line.”
Next season, Wilson will play Division-I ball at South Dakota State for former Iowa State assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger and alongside Cedar Rapids Xavier graduate Matt Mims. Until then, Wilson is focused on helping the Eagles — winners of seven games in a row and 16 of 17 — continue their scorching level of play.
“Making sure we’re all locked in every day,” Wilson said. “Holding ourselves accountable. Being there for a teammate, really just helping each other out and keeping our chemistry the way it is tight now because right now it is really good.”
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