Lehigh forward Jeamerial Wilson gears up for a shot against Yale. Wilson received an honorable mention for Patriot League Player of the Week and is averaging 9.8 points this season. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Jeameril Wilson impresses in sophomore campaign

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Sophomore forward Jeameril Wilson has been playing basketball for as long as he can remember. 

Though no one else in Wilson’s family played basketball, he picked the sport up at a young age. He said he remembers thinking, ‘I’m kind of good at this,’ and just kept playing. He said it was always his goal to play collegiate basketball. 

Wilson said he played a variety of sports until he reached high school, when he gave them up to ensure his body would stay healthy for the basketball court.

Wilson averaged 4.8 points per game as a freshman a year ago, but he has since raised his level of play.

This season, he is averaging 10.1 points this season and received an honorable mention for Patriot League Player of the Week for Feb. 10. 

Wilson said he was honored to have received Patriot League recognition, and that the award speaks to how he and the team have increased their level of intensity when playing. 

Wilson achieved career highs in three consecutive games this season. He recorded a career high in rebounds against Lafayette and scored a career-high 19 points against Holy Cross, which he then exceeded against Army with 20 points.

Sophomore center Nic Lynch said a big contributor to Wilson’s performance is his work ethic. He said Wilson is often in the gym late at night practicing his shots, and that his work is showing itself in games. Lynch said the sky’s the limit for Wilson, and that he will continue to get better. 

Lynch recalls his favorite memory of Wilson, an impressive dunk against Virginia Tech. The right-handed player was on a fast break, went up on his left hand and dunked on a Virginia Tech player.

“As a player, he is very versatile,” Lynch said. “He can post up, he can play out on the wing, he has size. He’s 6 feet 7 inches and has great athleticism as well. He’s starting to realize that there are not many people who can guard him.”

Head coach Brett Reed said the biggest change he’s noticed is in Wilson’s level of focus.

“Jeameril (Wilson) has the ability to maintain his focus for longer durations of time than what he was capable (of) doing as a freshman,” Reed said. “That has allowed him to become a stronger defender and also has allowed him to be on the court more consistently.” 

Reed said if Wilson can hone in on his consistency and focus even more, he can be a crucial player in the league.

His focus and toughness carries over and becomes contagious, Reed said. 

Wilson said one of the main things he’s focusing on — being an introverted person — is becoming more vocal and embodying a leadership presence.

Wilson said he believes the team’s positivity and encouragement makes him a better player.

“Being around a bunch of guys who believe in you makes you believe in yourself even more,” Wilson said. “When I came here, I didn’t believe in myself as much as other people believed in me. Being around a bunch of people who believe in you just kind of pulls you toward that mindset.”

Wilson said hard work paying off made winning against Lafayette on Feb. 8 one of his favorite memories from the season. It was no easy game, especially in a “very hostile environment” with a sold-out crowd, but being able to beat their rival despite these difficulties made for a special moment, he said.

Wilson said despite closing the regular season with a losing record, the positivity of the team has never gone down. 

“The team has been flying through adversity,” Wilson said.

Ultimately, the team has its sights set on winning a Patriot League Championship. The players are optimistic and determined to make a run for the championship, Lynch said.

The Mountain Hawks begin postseason play on March 3, when the team faces Loyola at Stabler Arena in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament. The team comes in on a three-game winning streak, including a 74-71 win at Loyola on Feb. 29.

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