Athlete Spotlight: Pittsfield's Elton Wilkins
Pittsfield junior Elton Wilkins played the hero Thursday against Drury, sinking the winning basket off a feed from Sam Higuera with 11 seconds left in the Generals' 68-65 win over the Blue Devils. Wilkins stopped by the Eagle office to discuss his clutch play and how his first season at Pittsfield is going.
Berkshire Eagle: Have you ever hit a game-winning shot before Thursday?
Elton Wilkins: I did this fall in AAU. I was playing with the Cap City Scrappers (of Albany, N.Y.). Other kids were waiting to get on the court, so the whole gym was going crazy. It was fun.
BE: Against Drury, when coach [Brandon] Mauer draws up the play for you, what's going through your mind?
EW: Just take it up strong and try to get fouled if I don't make it. He did the same thing against Monument [Mountain]. Drew up the same exact play, but it broke down. Edwin [Rodriguez] told me: "I'm not shooting it, so you better be ready to get the ball."
BE: After starting 1-3 (now 4-5), you guys seem to be coming together; what's contributed to the turnaround?
EW: I think [Mauer] was learning players; who works good together, who works good coming off the bench, who's more productive in certain situations. I think we're all getting to know each other more and trust each other more. Our ball movement is really good. All that kind of stuff.
BE: For you, going to three schools in three years (Taconic, St. Joseph, Pittsfield) you must have to continuously get used to new coaches and players; how have you adjusted throughout your career?
EW: It's been pretty cool. Ninth grade was probably my toughest year, my first year playing high school basketball. But I've had (former St. Joe athlete, current Pittsfield basketball player) Kymani [Harley] on my team the last year or two and most of my AAU teams. We're going through the same things together.
BE: What's your relationship with Kymani like?
EW: It's like having your best friend as a teammate. He's like my brother. Our chemistry it out the roof. I know where he is at all times on the court, and he knows where I am. How I want to get the ball. What I'm going to do with it.
BE: What's your favorite subject in school?
BE: Okay, what's your least favorite subject?
EW: Math or Physics.
BE: What can you see yourself doing five years from now?
EW: I just want to get to college, maybe be a Division I athlete. I'm going to do a [post graduate] year, like my friends Jalen [Duck] and Kekoa [McArdle] (former St. Joseph athletes).
BE: What do you look forward to about prep school?
EW: Less distractions.
BE: What's your go-to pregame pump-up song.
EW: I've got a few of them: "ELEMENT," by Kendrick Lamar, "HUMBLE," Kendrick again. And "XO TOUR Llif3," by Lil Uzi Vert.
BE: If you had to compare your game to an NBA player, current or past, who would it be?
EW: Probably Kevin Durant. I try to mimic him a lot. I watch all his film, high school, college. I've gotta go with KD.
BE: When I watch you, I see a post player. Do you want to expand your game to the perimeter?
EW: I'm usually a perimeter player. Our team is small, so coach wants me down in the post more. I'm in the post, but he doesn't mind if I take the ball out, shoot a few jumpers. KD has good post moves too.
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