Lester Wilson, fittingly dubbed the action figure, dropped 49 pts. on July 2nd in the Rocky Top League. The (Pilot) Rocky Top League games are held in the sweltering Bearden High School gym in Knoxville. Although these games are primarily a showcase for UT basketball players, it was Lester who was getting “oohs and aahs” from the UT-centric crowd (as well as snickers about UT’s lack of recruiting interest in him). These matters aside, it was clear why Lester is nicknamed the action figure: His physique is chiseled, like that of an action figure. He is built like Terrell Owens, and like Terrell Owens, has great length and speed down the floor. In addition, he has huge mitts, allowing him to palm the ball with ease.
It should be noted that defense is not at a premium in the Rocky Top League. Any defense is token at best, so Lester’s 49 were not exactly against Gary Payton-like defenders. Nevertheless, Buc fans should be thrilled about Lester’s debut as a Buccaneer in a few months. First and foremost, Lester possesses spectacular athleticism, matching his action-figure physique. He was dunking with power and ease, and with a little flair. His dunks rattled the rim, prompting the entertaining MC to sing Lester’s praises. In addition to his leaping ability, he runs the floor extremely well. He never appeared winded either, and it was HOT in that little gym.
The pleasant surprise during Lester’s game was his ability to shoot. With a kid of his musculature and a shot that’s not pure, his shooting ability was an unexpected surprise. Coach Bartow has commented on Lester’s ability to shoot; he clearly has potential to hit open shots. With (some) defensive pressure, he hit 3 consecutive 22-ft 3-pointers. While it may be premature to comment definitively on his ability to shoot, the evidence is promising.
In watching Lester, it was difficult to “box him in” with respect to position. His game fits most closely to a ‘4’, but he is probably the height of a ‘3’. Will he be able to guard a taller ‘4’? Will he be able to guard a quicker ‘3’? I’ll be curious to see how Bartow uses him. Tommy Hubbard and Kevin Tiggs held their own quite well against taller players, and I think that Lester’s strength, length, and athleticism will compensate for his relative lack of height.
Questions aside, Lester’s athleticism (see highlight clip of Lester in high school) will allow him to be a productive freshman. I suspect that he is more athlete than basketball player at this point in career, which means that he has not even begun to scratch the proverbial surface of his potential.