CHAUMONT — Isaiah Wilson is always growing. Whether it’s in the weight room or on the court, the Lyme junior constantly takes strides to evolve. As a result, Wilson led Lyme to its first section championship in 40 years and is the Times’ 2019 boys basketball All North Most Valuable Player for the Frontier League.
Though he averaged 26 points per game, the most in the Frontier League and third most in Section 3, Wilson is most proud of his leadership.
“As the season went on I think the biggest thing that improved for me was my leadership,” Wilson said. “And being more of a team captain instead of just a player.”
Wilson, who has played varsity basketball since the eighth grade, has seen his role change in the four years since he began playing for Lyme. Now, as one of the veterans on the team, Wilson’s responsibilities have expanded; he not only needs to be a source of offensive production, but he needs to help his teammates produce as well.
Part of that is being vocal, something that doesn’t come naturally to him.
“He had to work up to it,” Coach Leo Wilson said. “When he first started varsity being the younger one on the team most of the time, it’s kind of hard. But as he got going and we talked to him, the players looked up to him and it got easier for him to take that leadership role.”
The other part is being interchangeable.
Standing at 6-foot-3 with a muscular frame and playing high school basketball at the Class D level, more often than not, Isaiah Wilson is down in the post. However, he’s not limited to bringing down rebounds and putting up layups. When he needs to he can shift to the guard position and excel.
That situation arose in the Section 3 Class D championship game against DeRuyter at the Carrier Dome. After Lyme point guard Damon Blaha went down with a knee injury midway through the first half, Wilson filled the void as the primary ball-handler until Blaha returned.
Wilson’s height and strength makes him a post player in high school but when he plays AAU down in Syracuse against bigger athletes, he shifts to the guard position.
Experience as both a ball-handling guard and an assertive forward makes Wilson a more well-rounded player, something he prefers.
“I kind of want to be a complete player where I can play any role that is needed of me to help my team win,” Wilson said.
With Blaha graduating in June, the Indians are left without a true replacement at the point guard position. So, to at least start the season, Leo Wilson expects Isaiah to fill the vacant spot.
“He may end up starting the season at that role because he’s confident in it,” Leo Wilson said. “We want to make sure the other two guys we’re thinking about are confident in that role also.”
Playing multiple positions on the floor, particularly point guard, goes hand-in-hand with being a leader.
“The bottom line is that I just want to win and if I can put my teammates in the position to score, it will alleviate pressure off of me and make them better,” Isaiah Wilson said. “It will improve our team all around.”
Between now and next season, Wilson will keep busy playing AAU and working on the different aspects of his game. But when the 2019-20 season roles around in November, the will-be senior will look to expand on his junior year.
“The biggest thing is that we just can’t get complacent,” Isaiah Wilson said. “Now we know what it feels like to get to the sectionals and win the sectionals and we felt what it was like to play in a state game. So now we want to experience a sectional win again and we even want to go further for a state championship now.”