RED SPRINGS — To say that Tim Rogers was interested in Monte’ Wilkerson on the recruiting trails is an understatement.
After following the Red Springs point guard closely for four years, the assistant basketball coach at Marion Military Institute got his wish when Wilkerson signed the dotted line of his National Letter of Intent on Monday.
“I’m really happy to get the opportunity to sign Monte’ because I have been recruiting him for the last three or four years,” Rogers said. “I’ve been calling him, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to get him and we’re really happy to have Monte’ coming in as a freshman.”
Rogers was a former basketball assistant coach at Red Springs a, who left before Wilkerson came to the high school. He knew of Wilkerson’s abilities on the basketball court well before he came to Red Springs in the fall of 2014, and kept up with Wilkerson’s recruiting process as he took stops at St. Andrews and now in Alabama at the two-year school.
For Wilkerson, signing to Marion Military Institute was fulfilling a college basketball dream he had wanted since a young age.
“It’s the best feeling I’ve felt in a while,” Wilkerson said. “It’s a military school so I’ve got to get used to that strict schedule. That basketball program, over the years they have been good. I feel like I can fit in.”
Marion Military Institute is a two-year junior college in Alabama that has become a regular atop the Alabama Community College Conference standings in recent years, and has moved 15 players to rosters on NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III and NAIA rosters in the last four seasons.
Wilkerson sees this as a route he can transfer on to bigger schools like many players before him.
“I will go down there and handle my business to pick up the offers I want and it will be all up from there,” Wilkerson said.
As a four-year varsity player, Wilkerson has twice been named to the all-county team and is coming off a senior season where he scored over 13 points a game and dished out 3.5 a game as well. For head coach Glenn Patterson, there is one word that comes to mind when coaches would ask about his floor general.
“They’re getting a leader. A true leader,” Patterson said. “He’s a pass-first point guard that can score. They’re getting a very versatile player and the sky is the limit for him.”
Patterson echoed that this is just a stepping stone for Wilkerson, and said he feels there is more ahead for him.
“I think he has a great chance of going to a Mid-Major,” Patterson said.
For the time being, there is only one thing on Wilkerson’s mind before he gets down to Alabama in August.
“I’ve just got to work hard day by day to get better,” he said. “I’ve got to work for everything that I want, which is what I have been doing my whole life so it shouldn’t be hard. I’m willing to work for what I want.”
Wilkerson is the first boys basketball player to sign to play college basketball from Red Springs since Glenn Patterson Jr. in 2011.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected]m. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.