Three generations of the Wilson clan attend many of the senior guard’s basketball games. Father John, with his trademark long ponytail and goggle-like glasses, sits close to the floor, filming Jett’s every juke and steal attempt. Aunt Sheri (Sherilyn), no slouch herself, sits in the bleachers just off the floor.
And Grandma Bernadine--well, let her grandson tell you: “She knows basketball. But football, she really knows.” This is one serious sports family. Joking with a reporter, they say they really pay attention when Jett is in the game, and that’s when John is recording on his phone on a tripod. “We should probably pay more attention in the other times,” laughs Sheri.
Mom Karen, who still shows traces of her New York roots via a Long Island accent, sits nearby, no less in intensity. The women in the family each get a hug after the game from a slightly sweaty Jett, a warm touch binding the generations.
What’s coalesced, as well, has been the La Jolla transfer’s place in Coach Paul Baranowski’s team-oriented offense and defense. No stars, no egos. No isolation where one player monopolizes the ball.
“I like the aggressiveness Jett brings,” said Baranowski early in the season. At that point, Jett had fouled out of the Vikings’ first three games. “It’ll balance,” his coach said confidently.
The youngest Wilson returns the compliment. “I like his coaching methods,” says the fiery ballhawk, who isn’t hesitant about throwing a hip or getting physical in some other way while guarding an opponent.
Case in point: In La Jolla’s first-round Western League game against St. Augustine, the top-ranked team in the county, the Saints’ Chibuzo Agbo had already made the result academic, scoring 18 of St. Augustine’s 20 points in the first quarter to jump out to what turned about to be an insurmountable 20-5 lead.
But there were Jett Wilson and Saints reserve guard Tyson Shields, flying across the floor in the fourth quarter, playing each other like it was the Final Four in March Madness. Wilson, for his part, sank seven of his nine free throws in the period to help bring the Vikings back within 11 with a minute left, enough to scare Saints coach Mike Haupt into sending four of his starters to the scorer’s table to check in if the lead further eroded.
“I like being aggressive because it puts the other guy back on his heels a little,” says the Viking guard. “It’s just the way I play.”
The family, eyeing every move and exulting in every triumph, likes it that way. John, father of Jett, 18, and his older brother Jordan, 20, used to take the boys to the La Jolla Recreation Center while he played basketball.