Wilkins ready to play after sidelined last year

The Beacon/Phat Nguyen

Serena Molyneux, Correspondent

A double team is a defensive alignment in which two defensive players are assigned to guard a single offensive player. It is common for coaches to assign double teams to shut down players offensively. Imagine playing a pick-up game of five-on-five and posting up against your defender and suddenly finding yourself shaking from coughing up green and yellow mucus.
In Nic Wilkins’ case, he had been triple teamed by germs, viruses and bacteria as doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia, a respiratory condition caused by an  infection in the lungs.
The sophomore history major fought a hard battle against the bugs, but ultimately complications kept him hospitalized him for twenty six days forcing him away from his team for and sidelining him for his entire freshman year.
One of the main reasons Wilkins chose to come to Wilkes was because he wanted to play collegiate basketball in small tight knit community his freshmen year. However, six-foot-six center didn’t step out on the court once last season.
“I was heartbroken. I knew that me being sick and in the hospital meant that I couldn’t help my team achieve the goals we set in front of us,” Wilkins said.
While in the hospital, Wilkins underwent three surgeries, lost 30 pounds and when he was finally released from the hospital he was receiving IV’s three times daily for six weeks.
After not seeing his team for nearly two months, Wilkins surprised his team last year by going to support them during a game at University of Scranton. The moment was significant as the team walked away with a win for Wilkins.
“They embraced me like I never left” Wilkins said, “It was emotional.”
Wilkins really enjoyed seeing his team that day, but it was hard not being able to be on the court with them.
After overcoming his illness, Wilkins is ready to get back to playing basketball with his team. “Nic persevered a really tough year,” Head Coach Jerry Rickrode said. “He’s conveyed his looking forward to the season and he’s working hard in the pre-season.”
Wilkins is lifting with his team three times a week, playing a game two times a week and spending one day conditioning in preparation for the upcoming season.
“I’m very excited to get on the floor and play again,” Wilkins said, “Being back with the guys after what happened is like a dream come true.”
Wilkins missed a lot while he was not at Wilkes for a semester, but mostly he missed playing ball and being with his teammates. “We’re like a family, a tight-knit group, everyone fits in.”
This year, Wilkins is healthy and glad to be back on the court, ready for more wins. Wilkins is really looking forward to getting back on the court again this season. He is looking forward to playing a lot of minutes and helping his team in whatever way he can.
Wilkins has a lot of goals that he would like to accomplish with his team this season, like winning the MAC Championship and getting a bid to the Division-III NCAA basketball tournament.