Unlike most of wallstreet; the Tigers stock is way up. Wilkinsburg is truly one of the greatest stories of the year. They were the 2014 WPIAL Class A Section 4 champions and advanced in the playoff by defeating Union.
The Tigers got balanced scoring with two players averaging nearly 20 points per game. Isaiah Pete doesn’t look like the same player from a year ago, and he certainly plays a lot differently. Pete, a junior, would be perfect for a role in the next Transformers movie because he has transformed himself into one of the WPIAL’s top scorers. He averaged nearly 21 points a game. Senior D’Shawn Adair averaged 18 points per game.
Wilkinsburg was hit hard by graduation attrition and the 2014 team was very inexperienced.
“We only have five seniors total and four of them never played basketball before,” said Wilson. “The first half of our practices we teach skill sets and fundamentals. The second half is more systematic and implementing our system.”
Wilson, who played for the Tigers in 1996-97 and later was a 1,000-point scorer for Pitt-Johnstown, always knew he wanted to be a coach at Wilkinsburg.
“I wanted to coach at Wilkinsburg when I was a junior at Wilkinsburg but I wanted to fulfill my playing days out,” said Wilson. “It is beneficial having an alumnus as the head coach. I can be on the same page and relate to some of the players.”
Wilkinsburg, known as the ‘Road Warriors’ because the Tigers had only six home games, had to learn to become closer with all the traveling.
“Basketball is a four corner game whether it’s at home or on the road,” said Wilson. “Nobody wants to play us at home. We have an old style gym and our fans are very loud and supportive. We were 5-1 this year at home only losing to Vincentian.”
With help from the community and parents the Tigers hope to host a Christmas Holiday tournament and travel south to Walt Disney next year.
“I have a staff that is experienced with urban youth, that knows how to deal with youth and basketball and to help these young men in life,” said Wilson. “It isn’t just about basketball. It is about life. Basketball comes second to academics.”
Wilkinsburg’s Cinderella season ended with a punishing, 63-49, playoff defeat to basketball powerhouse Monessen.
Wilkinsburg is the “People’s Champion.” There is no question about that. And if coach Wilson continues on the path he is now, eventually will be the WPIAL champions as well.