There are hundreds if not thousands that have began their college career in JUCO and slowly fought their way up to the higher college leagues like NAIA, NCAA 3 or NCAA 2. But very rarely do you see a player go from the JUCO directly to the NCAA, but it has been done. Usually a player makes the next step after dominating in the JUCO or at least having very solid stats. One guy that came to mind was Mark Gordon who played two seasons at Daytona State College (JUCO) averaging 11/5 and 15/5 stats before making the direct jump to the NCAA with Bethune-Cookman University (NCAA)) where he had no adjustment time averaging 9.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 62.2%. But what happens if you play two seasons in the JUCO and never averaged more than 2,8ppg but still reach the NCAA the season after? You would think the odds of reaching the NCAA would be as difficult as DeMarkus Cousins ever shooting 90% from the free throw or Kevin Duran deciding to play next season in the Czech Republic NBL league. But that is exactly what happened to Quatarrius Wilson (203-F-96, college: SEMO). He went from the JUCO playing at Moberly Area Community College directly to the NCAA and played his junior year for Mcneese State. ‘I was extremely blessed to make it there. Those coaches saw something in me and they believed in me. I had a good season being with those guys. Coach Dave Simmons believed in me and let me play my game. He helped me a lot and he believed in a kid that didn’t do too much in JUCO stat wise. He gave me the confidence’, remembered Quatarrius Wilson. It doesn’t matter to what player I have talked to that played JUCO, but all have stated that it was a difficult league, but that they wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. It wasn’t any different for Wilson. ‘Moberly area community college laid the foundation for me to be a tough player mentally. I dealt with injuries while I was there which hindered me from making more of impact. It definitely was humbling for me but I also learned a lot from my coaches to my teammates. It made me the player I am today. I definitely benefited from the growing pains. It taught me to be tough and play hard. It helped me with my basketball IQ. It help some players to be mature. It helped me to be mature. It’s definitely a tough league’, warned Quatarrius Wilson. Playing JUCO seems like ages ago, because now the American is a professional player who is coming off a monster rookie season in Holland and now wants to make the next step in Germany with Pro A team wiha Panthers.
Quatarrius Wilson who lists Malik Pope and Jalen McDaniels as his toughest foes in the NCAA was born on June 26th, 1996 in Mobile, Alabama. He started his basketball career at Gardendale High School. He then preceded to play at Moberly Area Community College (JUCO) for two seasons and totaled 56 JUCO games. He then got his massive break through at Mcneese State and rapidly proved that he could be an impact player at the NCAA level as he put up impressive 10.8ppg, 10.2rpg, 1.3apg,FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 24.0%, FT: 61.5% stats. One may have thought that he might of felt some pressure putting up good stats after mediocre stats in JUCO, but he had an incredible mind set that blocked any pressure. ‘I didn’t feel no pressure because I always knew I’ll make it to that point/ level in my career. I always was prepared for it’, said Quatarrius Wilson. He finished with 18 games scoring in double figures and registered 14 double doubles. Some of his best games with Mcneese State occurred against Incarnate Word with 20 points and 10 boards as well as 20 points and 14 rebounds against SE Louisiana. He also had a game with 17 rebounds and three games with 16 rebounds. Even if he and Mcneese State got clobbered 83-52 against San Diego State where he chipped in with 15 points and 8 boards, this was his fondest moment in his college career simply because San Diego State had always been his dream school.
Coach Dave Simmons got fired from Mcneese State which prompted him to make one more move and he went to Southeast Missouri State University (NCAA). He had to sit out the 2018-2019 year because of transfer rules. His senior year wasn’t as good as his junior year at Mcneese State, but still having to sit out a year to further work on his game was beneficial. ‘I feel it improved gradually but right before entering my playing season I had an injury on my thumb that caused me to have surgery. My senior season wasn’t the best but I worked on my weaknesses for sure. Also, I developed more of my skills’, expressed Quatarrius Wilson who remembers his one on one battles in practice with teammate Sage Tolbert being equal. In his senior year he played 31 games averaging 7.1ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 8.3%, FT: 63.2%. In his senior year he scored in double figures in 11 games and put up 3 double doubles. He finished his senior year strong scoring in double figures in five of his last six games. He was extremely valuable in back to back wins against UT Martin 74-72 having 12/7 stats and against SIUE 75-71 having 13/9 stats. He was also to mature his game a step further with the help of head coach Rick Ray. ‘He helped me with my IQ of the game. We watched film and it translated to my professional career’, stressed Quatarrius Wilson. He also will always be thankful for all the coaches that helped him guide his way to a professional career and having had the opportunity to play at three schools. ‘It benefited my game by learning quickly and adapting quickly to any environments I was in’, warned Quatarrius Wilson.
The American who lists his five best teammates of all-time as De’ Marco Owens, James Harvey, Trevor Jasinsky, Delfinkco Bogan, and Leonard Harper-Baker and wanted to name more guys played his rookie season overseas with Basketball Academie Limburg (Holland-DBL) and just like every other pro player had to deal with COVID. It wasn’t that typical rookie season as he had many challenges that he had to accept, but at the end of the day, it never effected his game. ‘The most challenging thing about Covid was staying in shape. Having little interaction with my teammates off the court and on the court social distancing. Also, dealing the league shutting in November and we did not know when the season will start back. The league started back up in January’, remembered Quatarrius Wilson. Not only did his game grow on the court, but so did he as a man thanks to COVID. ‘I learned a lot. I learned to be more patient and always be ready. Taught me to be resilient and be focus at the task. I really matured’, stated Quatarrius Wilson. He played 23 games in his rookie season averaging 14.7ppg, Reb-2 (10.1rpg), 1.6apg, FGP: 56.7%, FT: 61.2%. He had no problems adjusting to overseas basketball as not only was being a top 2 rebounder a gigantic achievement as a rookie, but so was winning the Dutch cup. ‘Just being mentally strong and believing my teammates, also my coaches helped me have success. When adversity hits you just have to handle it in a great way. Also, being a great teammate is what helped me. It was a great winning the cup. Making history and being with my teammates and coaches was the best memories’, added Quatarrius Wilson. He also was very fortunate to have a great teammate in Trevor Jasinsky who like him was a rookie and had had a stellar career at Western Washington University (NCAA2). ‘Trevor was extremely important to the front court. He released a lot of pressure for our team. He’s a clutch player and he plays hard. Whenever I had a bad game or when I was in foul Trevor picked up the slack. Yeah he had a great rookie season’, remembered Quatarrius Wilson.
Now the Alabama native who lists Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Stephen Curry, Lebron James, and Kobe Bryant on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore is prepared for the next challenge in Germany with the wiha Panthers. He already has done some research on Germany, but also knew the typical known information that Germany’s best basketball player ever has been Dirk Nowitzki and that Mercedes Benz manufactures from there. He also may have gotten some added information last season in Holland from German teammate Neil Masnic who had come from the Oldenburg farm team. The ex JUCO player also knows that the BBL is the highest level and that his new league Pro A is second highest. After having started to ball in JUCO, he knows that he wants to continue to climb the basketball ladder and the wiha Panthers will give him the best opportunity to do that. ‘The main reason for me joining was playing at a higher level. I feel coach will help me get there. Also, I know coach will push me to be a better player’, stressed Quatarrius Wilson. Like most other wiha Panthers who have played in Schwenningen in the last years, having had those crucial first talks with Alen Velcic set the foundation for a fine working climate. ‘He’s all about winning and he has high intensity that’s what I got from his character’, said Quatarrius Wilson. He had been very lucky to have had a coach who really had believed in him at Mcneese State with Dave Simons and it isn’t any different with Alen Velcic. His eyed sparkled when he heard that was Velcic’s most desired player to get in the off season. ‘I did not know that. It makes me feel great. I know I have to work extremely hard. It makes me feel like he believes in me which he does. I just feel motivated about it’, stressed Quatarrius Wilson.
So what kind of player can the German Pro A await this season with Quatarrius Wilson who last watched the Marvel movie Black Widow? He is a 203cm big man that is a mix of Anthony Davis and Carmelo Anthony. Like Davis, Wilson can score, rebound and play defense and with Anthony they have the same height and have similar movements. Wiha Panthers head coach Alen Velcic lauded his transition game, work under the basket to score consistently as well as run transition, but his biggest strength in his game is playing hard, because when he does that everything comes easy to him. As a modern big man a three pointer is still missing in his game, but one that will be added. ‘Definitely developing the 3 point is one of my goals. I feel if I can make those consistently it’ll take my game to a whole another level’, warned Quatarrius Wilson. Not only will German basketball fans see his overpowering scoring and ruthless rebounding, but also witness his unique skills on the defensive end. ‘I take a lot of pride in my defense. My strength is being able to switch on any position’, said Quatarrius Wilson. With the start of training camp not far away, he is occupied in the lab and continuing to refine his game as he wants to make the next step as a professional in Germany. Currently he is working hard on being more of a consistent shooter as well as getting his ball handling more crisp. He also is spending more time in the gym to get his body stronger. It is no secret that a majority of players balling overseas have a chip on their shoulders as the urge to get better and move up the basketball ladder is as important as it is for Steph Curry nailing every three pointer, but where is that chip for Quatarrius Wilson who has moved up the basketball ladder so nicely since playing JUCO? ‘I was hungry and I had a point to prove from the people that doubted me and peers I wanted them to see that I was a good player, also a competitor. I believed in myself all those sacrifices I made. My work ethic is not questionable I will always work hard’, warned Quatarrius Wilson. That should make head coach Alen Velcic happy, because as a coach seeing those underdog guys working their butts off is what makes coming to the gym and coach a player like that worth it every day.