A final Sun Belt dance with Damon Wilson

Damon Wilson waits sideline during the first quarter of the Sunbelt Conference. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

Starting at No. 1 for the Georgia State men’s basketball team, a hometown kid from Atlanta, Georgia: redshirt-senior, No. 1, Damon Wilson.

His father played for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team. He was a member of the 1990 national championship team. Unfortunately, he suffered a career-ending injury that ended his football career prematurely, but he was still able to get his degree from Georgia Tech.

Wilson’s older sister, Dominique, played basketball as well. She was a combo guard at North Carolina State. As a member of the Wolfpack, she made three straight first-team All-ACC teams. She is currently playing overseas in Israel.

For Wilson, both his father and sister have had a major impact on his sports career, inspiring him to work harder and play harder during his own career. He credits his sister for practicing with him and showing him some of her moves.

“They had a great impact because we were always pushing each other to the highest level of success,” Wilson said.

For high school, Wilson attended two different high schools in two different states for basketball reasons. For his freshman and sophomore seasons, he played at St. Benedict Prep School in Newark, New Jersey. Wilson described it as a big adjustment to living in dorms on campus, but eventually, he came to enjoy it.

At St. Benedict’s Prep, he played with former Syracuse Orange guard Tyler Ennis. Wilson describes Ennis as being a great leader and competitor for the team and as someone that he really enjoyed playing with. Overall, St. Benedict’s Prep was a great experience for him in his career.

For his junior and senior season, Wilson attended Our Savior New American High School in Centereach, New York. During his junior year, the team had only five losses and was one of the top teams in the nation. The starting five, in particular, was one of the top five starting fives in the nation, with all five starters, including Wilson, being ranked in the ESPN 100.

Overall, Wilson enjoyed his experience at Our Savior New American, eventually graduating from there. Due to his skill and being ranked as a top-5 point guard in the country, he was able to play in several tournaments. The Jordan Brand Classic Regional Game was the first which he was able to showcase his talents in.

In that game, he had the opportunity to play alongside some of the top players in the country. Among those sharing the court with him were former Louisville Cardinals standout and current Utah Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell and former Kentucky Wildcats’ star and current Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray. The other tournament that Wilson got to play in was the 2014 Adidas Nations tournament. He practiced with Team Rose and played for Game Elite, which was the team from Georgia.

The experiences had their perks. Wilson was able to get both Jordan and Adidas gear from these two events. Eventually, after high school, Wilson began attending the University of Pittsburgh in the fall of 2015. His first season, he played for head coach Jamie Dixon, who he enjoyed playing under. He also enjoyed playing with his teammates and formed a close bond with them.

Eventually, coach Dixon transferred the next season to TCU, which deeply affected Wilson, who loved him very much. Dixon was replaced by Kevin Stallings, who Wilson did not enjoy playing under. Due to a disapproval of the new coach and a desire to come home, Wilson decided to transfer to Georgia State.

Wilson was familiar with the facility due to Atlanta being his hometown and also got to meet head coach Ron Hunter, who he enjoyed very much. After redshirting for the 2017-18 season, Wilson got to play in the 2018-19 campaign. He quietly made an impact, averaging 5.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game and shooting 51.1% from the field and 46.9% from three-point range.

“I enjoy playing for this team. These are my brothers and I know them really well and I enjoy playing with them,” Wilson said.

He especially enjoyed playing under Hunter because his style of play was different and he enjoyed playing in Hunter’s zone system because it fit his skills perfectly. Unfortunately, just like coach Dixon, Hunter decided to move on. Following the 2018-19 season, Hunter became the head coach for the Tulane Green Wave men’s basketball team. Georgia State wasted no time and hired Tennessee assistant coach Rob Lanier to become the Panthers men’s basketball team’s next head coach.

“He’s a good coach. I like playing for him. He’s a special human being. He always keeps it real. You never have to worry about him being fake. He’s a good family guy. He puts his family first. I have no negatives about coach Lanier, all positives,” Wilson said.

His fourth head coach in five years, Lanier has gained Wilson’s likeness, as both a coach and a man. This season, Wilson was inserted into the starting lineup and has averaged 11.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while shooting 41% from the field and 37% from three-point range.

Currently majoring in Speech Communications, Wilson hopes to be able to make it to the NBA after the season. He will declare for the draft after this season, but also has an alternative plan. If the NBA’s commissioner does not call his name during the draft in June, Wilson will look to go into sports broadcasting. 

No matter what the future lies ahead for him, Wilson’s future looks very bright indeed.