Former Eagle Wilson Gets Ohio Basketball Hall Of Fame Call

Former Eagle Wilson Gets Ohio Basketball Hall Of Fame Call

5/10/16 -- Kevin Wilson was born to be a basketball pacesetter, whether it be for Ashland College or Ashland University.

Almost 40 years ago, Wilson, a point guard, made the first basket at Kates Gymnasium. On May 21 in Battelle Hall at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Wilson will be the first Eagle basketball player to be inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.

“I was really shocked,” Wilson said of getting the call from the Hall. “There were some guys I knew that nominated me, but I never thought it was going to go anywhere. I said, ‘Well, geez, that would be nice.’ I was really shocked and surprised, but I am looking for it. I’m 67 years old, and been in sports for over 55 years. This will be the best day of my life.”

Wilson will be part of the 2016 OBHOF induction class, which includes the likes of former University of Cincinnati and NBA forward Danny Fortson and former Cleveland Cavalier Bobby “Bingo” Smith.

 In 1967, Wilson made the first bucket in the now-nearly-five-decades-old Kates Gym.

“My freshman year, we played at the high school,” Wilson said. “We practiced in the old gym, which was next to Clayton Hall. It didn’t do much. That summer, I saw them building the new gym. You could walk through it. We started talking about, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we never lost a game here?’ And we talked about who would make the first basket. It was pretty cool at the time.”

Wilson would go on to not only make many more baskets as an Eagle, but he was an ironman, as well. He started all 111 games he played for Ashland College, and finished with 1,037 career points. Wilson, a 1970 AC graduate, earned two All-American awards.

“My first two years, we had the same starting five,” said Wilson. “After my sophomore year, those four went away, and a new group came in. I was the link in between, and the quarterback of the team. That gave us some continuity.

“I felt it was important (to start every game), and they always called me the coach on the floor. Being a starter for all four years in that position was probably the best accolade I could think of.”

Wilson played for head coach Bill Musselman at Ashland. He also did so at now-defunct Kent State University High School.

“When I was sophomore in high school, I played for Bill,” Wilson said. “He had just graduated from Wittenberg, so he was full of vim and vigor. He took me from a JV player to the second-leading varsity scorer. One of the main reasons I came to Ashland was because of Bill.”

Wilson relayed a story about Musselman drawing a circle on the top of the chalkboard prior to games, and writing a number which represented the number of points he wanted the Eagles to hold the opponent to.

One time, that number was zero.

“He was always striving for perfection,” said Wilson. “He was definitely driven, there’s no doubt about that.”

Following his time at Ashland, Wilson was drafted by the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association. Some of the players chosen by the ABA in the 1970 draft were Bob Lanier, Pete Maravich, Rick Mount, Dan Issel, Dave Cowens, Rudy Tomjanovich and Calvin Murphy.

“The ABA team that I was drafted by, I didn’t make the team,” said Wilson, “but they won the ABA championship that year.”

After that, Wilson’s basketball life went into a different direction – coaching. He was an assistant for Musselman at the University of Minnesota starting in 1971.

“Bill always used to say, ‘You can go to Harvard and get a law degree, or you can come to Ashland and become a basketball coach.’ I knew I wanted to go into coaching. It was a perfect choice for me.

“I knew I wanted to coach college. I knew I wanted to do the recruiting thing.”

Wilson, whose coaching career included head coaching stops at Chapman University and San Francisco State and a run as special assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons, was the lone Ashland College Hall of Fame inductee in 1985.

Now, Wilson joins a new class.

“I think it’s going to be very electric,” he said. “It’s going to be a culmination of 55 years in sports. I’m going to have my teammates there, I’m going to have Oscar Robertson there. It’s going to be a chance for me to thank those guys.

“It’s a time to celebrate, but it’s a time for gratitude.”

 

KEVIN WILSON’S ASHLAND COLLEGE STATISTICS

SEASON

GP

FG-FGA

PCT

FT-FTA

PCT

REB

AVG

PTS

AVG

1966-67

24

74-155

.479

90-124

.725

80

3.3

238

9.9

1967-68

30

80-200

.400

68-89

.764

97

3.2

228

7.6

1968-69

30

91-191

.476

89-113

.788

134

4.5

271

9.0

1969-70

27

87-187

.465

126-145

.869

84

3.1

300

11.1

TOTALS

111

332-733

.453

373-471

.792

395

3.6

1037

9.3

 

Upcoming Events

Nov
15

Actor David Payne's one-man performance as C.S. Lewis

Nov
21

Men's Basketball at Home

PR Office Contact

Steve Hannan
Director of Public Relations
shannan@ashland.edu
office: 419 289 5007
mobile: 419 651 1326