Wes Wilkinson comes back to hometown to teach sport he loves

Former Husker and Grand Island basetball star Wes Wilkinson holds camp to teach kids the game of basketball.
Local4 News at 10
Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 10:54 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Former Husker and Grand Island basketball star Wes Wilkinson was back in his hometown teaching area youth how to play the game of basketball. Wilkinson spent a decade overseas playing professionally in France, Belgium and Turkey. He won six titles while playing in the Belgium league.

After retiring in 2016, he came back to Nebraska and started Wilkinson Hoops, a program meant to teach young Nebraskans the fundamentals of basketball.

“I’ve just started training kids in the Omaha area a little bit running some camps and clinics,” Wilkinson said. “I wanted to come back to the roots of where it all started for me.”

Wilkinson played for the Grand Island basketball from 1998-2002, winning two Class A state titles in 1998 and 2002. Eighteen years after helping the Islanders win their last basketball title, he is training kids at the same YMCA he learned how to play the game.

“That’s what really makes it special, I’m able to sit here and look at these kids in the eye and say, ‘Hey, I was in your exact same shoes as a fifth grader or a sixth grader. I was here. I was doing this. I was at this YMCA,‘” Wilkinson said.

He never knew he would become a coach but he is happy to pick up the mantle.

“Hopefully I can continue to grow this and do more and more clinics, camps, training,” he said. “Whatever I can do to get in front of these kids and let them know how lucky they are to be able to play the game.”

Wilkinson’s Hoops Basketball Clinic wraps up Wednesday, July 29. He teaches private and group lessons which can be found on his website.

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