**Big 12 Commissioner's Fall Honor Roll (2003)
Wes Wilkinson began to show flashes of dominating play on offense last season and looks to have a breakout year during his senior campaign. The Grand Island native easily surpassed his totals from his first two years in nearly every statistical category, including scoring 209 points after registering just 120 points combined as a freshman and sophomore.
Providing Nebraska with a unique weapon, Wilkinson has the athleticism and agility to play on the wing while also adding the size needed to play closer to the basket. A skilled shooter with a soft touch, Wilkinson possesses the ability to consistently hit from 3-point range and can also utilize his speed and long frame to create shots while driving to the basket.
On the defensive end, Wilkinson will continue to provide Nebraska with a shot-blocking presence. Last season, Wilkinson ranked eighth in the Big 12 Conference in blocked shots per game (1.22 bpg). Only four players ranked ahead of him last year return in 2005-06.
Wilkinson has also continued his improvement in the weight room, where he has gained nearly 10 pounds while still retaining his explosiveness.
Wilkinson continued to work on his game over the summer by playing on an Athletes in Action team that spent nearly two weeks touring China. With the extra work, Wilkinson was able to get in several practices and six games to aid his development.
Wilkinson led the squad to a perfect 6-0 record during the tour while pacing the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game. He recorded a personal single-game best of 18 points for AIA, the second-highest total posted during the trip.
It was the second straight summer Wilkinson played overseas, as he also joined the Huskers on a tour of Australia in 2004. Wilkinson averaged 13.2 points and 7.0 rebounds while helping NU to a 3-3 record against five professional teams and one contest against the Australian Institute for Sport.
Wilkinson was one of the most improved players in the league as he averaged a career-high 7.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. While making 27 appearances, Wilkinson averaged 19.7 minutes per game, logging more time on the court than he had in 59 combined career games in his first two seasons. He was also in the starting lineup 10 times during the season after seeing just two starts in his first two years, both in his freshman campaign.
Wilkinson's field-goal percentage was nearly the same as the previous season despite attempting 100 more shots (161-61) and making nearly double the amount of field goals (72-46) than his first two years combined. He also ranked third on the team in free throw percentage by hitting 74.5 percent (41-of-55) from the charity stripe, continuing a trend of being among the team's top shooters from the line.
Wilkinson was sidelined during the preseason and missed the first contest of the year as he recovered from a broken bone in his foot. After a slow start over his first four games, his play began to pick up as he scored at least eight points in six straight contests, including three double-figure scoring games.
The final game in that string was one of the best of Wilkinson's career. Against Kansas State in the conference opener, Wilkinson scored a career-best 22 points with four boards and three assists in Nebraska's double-overtime victory. He hit an impressive 9-of-14 attempts from the field, including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc.
The breakout performance was one of Wilkinson's nine double-figure scoring games on the season, including seven in conference play. Wilkinson had recorded double figures in just two of his first 59 career games, both in non-conference play.
Wilkinson recorded seven games with at least two treys as he hit a career-high 24 shots from long range to rank third on the team. He hit a career-best four 3-pointers at Missouri while scoring 14 points with six boards. It was one of five games with at least six boards, including a career-best nine rebounds at home against Iowa State.
One of the top shot blockers in the conference, Wilkinson recorded two blocks against the Cyclones. In total, he had at least two blocked shots in 10 contests and finished the year second on the team with 33 blocks. His 1.22 blocks per game ranked eighth in the Big 12 Conference.
Wilkinson played in 29 games as a sophomore, averaging 2.3 points and 1.4 rebounds in 7.7 minutes per game. He ranked third on the team with 13 blocked shots while concentrating more on his play in the paint versus on the wing.
While his minutes were slightly down compared to the previous season, Wilkinson's overall numbers were significantly better than his freshman campaign. He hit 45.9 percent from the floor, an increase of 18.2 percentage points from his first season, and drained a solid 35.0 percent from 3-point range after hitting only 15.0 percent as a rookie.
Wilkinson started the season on a strong note by nailing nearly half of his attempts from the field in the Huskers' first three contests of the year. He connected on 2-of-4 attempts for four points, with three rebounds and two steals in the season opener against Fairleigh Dickinson, and came back to hit 2-of-3 attempts for four points with two rebounds and one steal in the next game against Eastern Michigan.
Continuing his hot hand, Wilkinson nailed 2-of-3 attempts from 3-point range while adding a steal in his third straight game to help the Huskers to a solid victory over Arizona State.
Wilkinson had his best game of the season against Delaware State. He played a season-high 18 minutes against the Hornets while adding 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. Wilkinson had a game- and season-high eight rebounds, including four offensive boards, while adding an assist and steal.
Wilkinson's only other double-figure scoring game of the year came against St. Francis (Pa.) when he hit 5-of-7 field-goal attempts to score 10 points. He dished out three assists with four boards, two blocks and a steal in 16 minutes of action, one of 11 games where he saw double-figure minutes.
Though he did not score double figures, Wilkinson's most complete game may have been in a rout of Tennessee when he scored six points with three rebounds, two steals and a career-high four blocked shots. The four blocks tied for the Huskers' individual single-game high in 2003-04.
In conference play, Wilkinson hit 42.9 percent from the floor and 40.0 percent from 3-point range. His most productive game in Big 12 action came against No. 25 Texas Tech when he posted six points and six rebounds with two assists and a blocked shot in 13 minutes during NU's 72-44 upset. He also had five points and two blocks in the previous game at No. 7 Oklahoma State, hitting a 3-pointer midway through the second half to help the Huskers stay in the contest before NU fell by four in overtime.
One of just four players – including two true freshmen in Wilkinson and Jason Dourisseau – to play in every contest, Wilkinson averaged 1.8 points and 1.8 rebounds in his first season with the Huskers. He averaged 9.9 minutes per game and made two starts – at Texas Tech and against Oklahoma State – while seeing double-figure minutes in 13 games.
Wilkinson played both power forward and on the wing for much of the season. He was one of the team's top free-throw shooters as he connected on 77.8 percent from the charity stripe. In non-conference play, he hit 9-of-10 shots from the free-throw line, and added a season-best 4-of-4 in league action against Texas Tech.
Wilkinson collected six points in his first career game against Centenary and came back with season highs in points (7) and rebounds (7) in the final game of the Top of the World Classic against Ball State. It was one of four games that Wilkinson had at least four rebounds. He also collected his first career blocked shot against the Cardinals.
Against Texas Tech, Wilkinson made his first career start, pitching in six points and six rebounds for his best effort against league competition.
The top player in the state of Nebraska as a senior, Wilkinson played at Grand Island High School for Coach Dave Oman. Wilkinson earned first-team all-state honors from both the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald, while serving as the honorary captain for both squads. He earned the state of Nebraska Mr. Basketball title and was the Gatorade Circle of Champions Player of the Year as a senior. After an outstanding senior campaign, Wilkinson was tabbed one of the top 70 high school seniors by Hoop Scoop.
Wilkinson averaged 18.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while adding 90 blocked shots on the season. He helped the Islanders to a 23-1 record and a Class A (largest) state title as a senior. He earned all-tournament honors after producing 13 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocked shots in the title game against Lincoln Southeast. Wilkinson also helped Grand Island to a state title as a freshman with a 16-9 record.
During his junior season, Wilkinson averaged 16 points, 7.5 rebounds and five assists per game and was named second-team all-conference. For his career, Wilkinson finished with 1,065 points, 549 rebounds and 248 blocked shots.
During the summer of 2002, Wilkinson helped Team Nebraska win the Nebraska-South Dakota All-Stars game. He scored a game-record 31 points in the Nebraska Coaches’ All-Star Game, despite not starting. Off the court, he was selected to the high school honor roll four times.
The son of Teresa and Bill Schnase and Kevin and Debbie Wilkinson, Wes was born April 24, 1984, and has four sisters, Mandy, Jamie, Erica and Abbey. Both Jamie and Erica are current students at Nebraska. Wes is majoring in business administration at Nebraska and is on track to graduate in May 2006.