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Wilson on Cats' hit list


IS the NBL about to be hit with a second “Hugh Greenwood” case and one of its marquee clubs left lamenting: “Wilsonnnnnn!”?

Greenwood was about to make an NBL splash with Perth Wildcats when he pulled the pin and switched sports to Aussie Rules, joining the AFL’s Adelaide Crows.

Tom Wilson is one of the NBL’s exciting young prospects for 2018-19, having joined marquee stars such as Andrew Bogut, Jerome Randle and Kevin Lisch at Sydney Kings.

But my (e)mail is he is on the verge of ditching an NBL career to join the AFL’s Geelong Cats.

As promising a basketballer as Greenwood, Wilson’s story runs parallel as he, too, also enjoyed success as a junior football player.

Tasmanian guard Greenwood attended the AIS and played SEABL before enjoying a stellar four-year college career at Luc Longley’s alma mater, University of New Mexico.

He had work-outs with the NBA’s Utah Jazz before signing with Perth Wildcats in 2015, the storied NBL franchise viewing him as the likely successor to Damian Martin.

Instead Greenwood, Basketball Australia's 2008 Junior Male Player of the Year and a star for the Emus at the 2011 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, a couple of weeks into preseason training at Perth, opted to switch sports to AFL.

While that decision proved a resounding success for him, Perth this season also found its likely Martin successor in former Illawarra and Townsville playmaker Mitch Norton.

Wilson, 20 and a 196cm Victorian point guard, currently is averaging 26.2 points at 46 percent, 8.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists for Melbourne Tigers in the SEABL.

Previously he played SEABL – like Greenwood – for Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence team and attracted US college attention after scoring 23 points (with six rebounds and seven assists) in the 2014 FIBA Under-17 World Championship Gold Medal match. The USA held out Australia 99-92.

(For those playing at home, that USA team included Boston Celtics NBA rookie Jayson Tatum.)

Recruited to Southern Methodist University in Dallas for 2016-17, when his coach left prematurely, Wilson transferred to Boise State University. The prospect of a year out of action instead led him to Serbian club Partizan.

Again, like Greenwood, Wilson also was a promising footballer as a junior, representing Victoria in the 2013 NAB AFL Under-16 Championship.

It appears this time it is Geelong, with the Cats poised to swoop on another potential rising NBL star.

Jun 4

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.