Male Athlete of the Year: Devin Wilson

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Devin Wilson playfully started his own language a few years ago. He and a friend would jokingly use the letters "shm" to replace the first letter at the beginning of some words.

Coach became "shmoach." Basketball became "shmasketball." Even Wilson's Twitter handle today is @Shmilson_3.

But really, there is only one letter that should be associated with Wilson during his days at Montour High School. It's a big, fat "W" -- for win.

Despite his great personal accomplishments in basketball and football, the most impressive part about Wilson this school year and during his entire Montour career was how many "W's" he was part of. He won so much, you could just call him Dewin Wilson.

For his personal and team accomplishments, Wilson is the Post-Gazette Male Athlete of the Year. This is the 35th year of the award, which takes into consideration all WPIAL and City League athletes.

"I don't know if people completely understand what he did during his career," Montour basketball coach Adam Kaufman said.

What Wilson did is unheard of in WPIAL circles. He started four years in both football and basketball, but that's not what made him unique. Wilson started in 42 postseason games in football and basketball. Not played, but started. It is believed to be the most postseason starts ever for a football/basketball player from the WPIAL.

Wilson started 24 WPIAL playoff games -- 13 in basketball and 11 in football. He started 18 PIAA playoff games -- 16 in basketball and two in football. And get this: he helped Montour win 76 percent of those postseason games.

During his career, teams on which Wilson played won two WPIAL basketball titles, one WPIAL football championship, and played in another WPIAL football title game and two PIAA basketball championship games.

A point guard in basketball, he led Montour this past year to its second WPIAL championship in three years and a spot in the PIAA semifinals. A record-breaking receiver in football, he helped Montour reach the WPIAL quarterfinals.

In his career, Wilson started on teams that went 105-25, an .807 winning percentage.

"I was never one who worried about how many points or assists I had. I worried about winning," Wilson said. "No matter the sport, I always thought that if you win the game, stats will come."

And Wilson's statistics are eye-opening. A 6-foot-4, 185-pounder, Wilson finished his football career with WPIAL records in receptions (230) and receiving yardage (3,192). He showed his versatility as a senior, playing some at running back, finishing with 65 receptions for 1,083 yards and also rushing for 489 yards on 77 carries.

"His hands are incredible," Montour football coach Lou Cerro said. "Of the balls he was supposed to catch, I bet he dropped maybe only three or four his entire career."

In basketball, Wilson was the Post-Gazette Player of the Year after averaging 17 points a game this past season. He had some "triple doubles" (i.e., reaching double figures in three categories -- points, rebounds and assists) and finished his career with 1,438 career points.

Coaches will tell you that one of Wilson's best qualities was his cool demeanor on the basketball court. He was expressionless, whether winning or losing.

"I've always been like that in athletics, as long as I can remember," Wilson said. "My AAU basketball coaches used to say I need to show enthusiasm. But I'd say this is the type of guy I am. If your teammates see you're not rattled, maybe they won't get rattled. I've always taken pride in keeping my focus and staying calm."

Wilson was so good in both football and basketball that he had Division I college scholarship offers in both sports. At one time, he thought he wanted to play football in college, but he decided midway through basketball season that he wanted a future in basketball. He ended up accepting a scholarship offer to Virginia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"I truly think that he will have an opportunity to contribute his freshman year," Kaufman said.

Wilson was a good student in high school and has always talked about being a lawyer someday. He will major in political science at Virginia Tech. His father, Pierre, is a state policeman and his mother, Romi, works in pharmaceutical sales.

"He'll argue about anything, and that's why I always tell him he would be perfect for a lawyer," said Kevin Scuilli, a basketball teammate and close friend. "He's one of those kids who might try to convince you the sky is not blue."

Kaufman believes Wilson will long be remembered at Montour, but not just for his athletic talent. When asked what was Wilson's most impressive quality, Kaufman answered "courage."

"I say courage because this is a kid who doesn't party or do anything illegal," Kaufman said. "I know personally he's a kid who might be sitting around at a prom or homecoming and everyone around him is doing things, but he has enough courage to be comfortable in his own skin, do what is right and still be a popular kid. He was ideal for this basketball program and for this school district."

Wilson said, "I don't drink and I don't do drugs. If someone is doing something, I'd rather go home, chill by myself or be with my family. It's kind of how I was raised."

Spoken like a winner.

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First Published June 30, 2013 4:00 AM


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