Forest Park High’s Avery Wilson entering senior year with rising recruiting stock
By Luke Strickland
FOREST PARK — Forest Park High School’s Avery Wilson has flown under the radar for most of his basketball career, but after a breakout junior season and a productive summer, the talented forward is finally receiving the attention he deserves.
Wilson exploded onto the scene last season with the Panthers. He averaged 19.6 points per game, while pulling down more than 5.0 rebounds and dishing out more than 2.0 assists. Those numbers earned Wilson a First-Team All-County nod from the Clayton News, making him one of just five players in the county to warrant such honors.
Any player that puts up impressive statistical totals will always generate some sort of interest, but it’s Wilson’s potential that has college scouts drooling. At 6-foot-1, Wilson will play guard in college, which benefits his skills. He’s a capable dribbler and willing passer who can also finish at the rim. He shot 56 percent from the field last season and attempted 180 free throws in 26 games.
Wilson saw a significant jump in his numbers from his sophomore to junior seasons. He said he worked hard in the time leading up to his junior season, and that he was pleased to see his efforts pay off.
“After my sophomore season I put in a lot of work during the summer and preseason to make sure I was ready to make a greater impact on the court,” said Wilson. “I made goals on what I needed to improve on and worked tirelessly throughout the school year to reach them. All the extra work paid off with me having a huge impact throughout the season and that impact being recognized by others.”
That recognition seems to be just beginning for Wilson. Schools like Virginia Military Institute, Charleston Southern, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Murray State and Middle Tennessee have already expressed interest in bringing the Forest Park Panther to campus.
The Panthers finished 7-19 last season, losing 14 of those games by 10 points or less. Wilson said he’s appreciative of the individual recognition, but that he has plenty still to prove before he leaves Forest Park.
With the departures of graduated seniors Stephen McDonald and James Ragland, Wilson will finally become the undisputed leader on the court for the Panthers. Proving he can help lead his team to an improved record, and even a state playoff berth, would only cement his status as an up-and-coming talent in the class of 2017.
“That’s another one of my goals this year is to win 18 to 20-plus games and also go to the state playoffs,” said Wilson. “I’m trying to make everyone better around me this year.”