Sid Wilson: The Transition from the CHSAA to the NEPSAC

By David Cordova

The climate of basketball in New York City has changed dramatically compared to the last twenty to thirty years. For example, in 1990, there were four players from the Catholic League, from powerhouses such as Tolentine and Christ the King, respectively, that were selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game. Those were the days in which the hoops scene in the city was at its highest.

Fast-forward to 2016, the present day, in which plenty of people say that the city game has fallen off or is in decline. Although that may be partially true, the reason for that is because some of the brightest stars from the five boroughs, Westchester County and Long Island are departing for the greener pastures of boarding schools across the North, South and the West.

Reasons for those departures range from academic deficiencies in coursework and the inability to pass the New York State Regents exam to gaining more exposure from colleges. Going to prep school was something reserved for players in the PSAL for many, many years, due to many of them needing academic refinement in the areas of coursework and SAT scores and collegiate offers. But as of late, there are many up & coming players from the CHSAA that are also going towards the prep school route.

Among them, is Sidney Wilson, a 6-foot-7 forward that starred at St. Raymond’s High School in the Bronx for his first three years of high school. Wilson is a forward that is known for plenty of leaping ability and is a high riser on both ends of the court that will be a surefire Division I prospect.

“What makes me want to be successful in the game of basketball is helping my family, making it out, proving people wrong,” Wilson says.

Wilson made his name in his younger days through the famed Milbank Flyers program in Harlem, which included players like former St. Raymond’s teammate Isaiah Washington, Teaneck’s Ja’Quaye James and Albertus Magnus College freshman Pedro Marquez, formerly of Cardinal Hayes.”We did good, we went through everything in the city. When I was in eighth grade, we went to the AAU Nationals and came out ranked 12th in the country.”

Under Armour Elite 24
Wilson flies high to the basket for a one-handed dunk at the Under Armour Elite 24 scrimmage. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

From there, Wilson took his act to St. Raymond’s as a freshman. Throughout his three years as a Raven, he made his impact on the city with his slam dunks and his shot-blocking ability and him and Washington made the perfect pair as they had a two-man game similar to Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin in the early 2000’s.

Off the court, Wilson was an A+ student and was a part of the National Honor Society. Also during his junior year, he was the leading scorer for the Ravens with 17.7 points per game on a team that went 16-12 and reached the CHSAA quarterfinals. He also made the CHSAA “AA” First Team All-League and reached a milestone on the court, making 1,000 points in his high school career.

“My time at St. Ray’s was great.” said Wilson, “I loved the whole school, students, faculty, coaches, everything. I enjoyed my time there, but it was time to move on.”

On July 1st, Wilson shocked many in by deciding to transfer to national powerhouse Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hamsphire, and reclassifying into the Class of 2018, which means he will be a junior again. Brewster Academy, which is coached by Jason Smith, has sent over 100 players to Division I colleges in the last 15 years and has produced nine NBA players, which include: JaKarr Sampson (Denver Nuggets), Will Barton (Denver Nuggets), Chris McCullough (Brooklyn Nets), Thomas Robinson (Brooklyn Nets), Semaj Christon (Oklahoma City Thunder) and T.J. Warren (Phoenix Suns).

Wilson’s reasons for going to Brewster were: “Coach Smith has a track of players playing right away, so that’s one of those things. I feel like he’s one of those guys that can help me get to the next level and play right away.”

Throughout the spring & summer, Wilson also continued to make his presence felt with the New Heights AAU program on the Under Armour Association circuit, leading them to an 8-4 record and also averaging 17.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. “I feel like I did good. I was in the top five in scoring. My team came up short in the UAA Finals, but we did good throughout.” Wilson said.

Sidney Wilson 1415.jpg
Wilson during the Under Armour Association Finals in July. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

His impressive play throughout the spring and summer earned him invites to events such as the Pangos All-American Camp in Norwalk, California in early June, the Under Armour All-American Camp in Charlotte, North Carolina in July and last, but not least, the Under Armour Elite 24 in August in Brooklyn, which would be one of the last appearances in the city before he headed to prep school.

Also, since leaving St. Raymond’s, his collegiate recruitment has risen, including earning as many as 11 offers in the span of one month. Some of his offers have included programs like Texas, SMU, UConn, Memphis, Louisville, UNLV and local hometown favorite, St. John’s.

Another reason that Wilson has been largely popular around the city the last couple of years and another reason why he will be missed, is because he is one of the members of a group of ball players named the “Jelly Fam”, which have become a staple around the city. “The Jelly Fam started when we were eighth grade, me, Isaiah, Jahvon [Quinerly], Ja’Quaye, Leondre, Mimi and we’ve been doing it for a minute now & it’s starting to get recognized throughout the whole country.” The “Jelly Fam” is a crew of ballplayers that have made the finger roll fashionable amongst the current generation.

Now that Wilson has reclassified as a junior he has a chance to raise his profile nationally, help Brewster win the National Prep Championship and also improve his strength and get better as a basketball player. “My strengths are my athleticism, I can score in different ways, I can play on both ends of the court. My weakness is my shooting ability.”

As he develops into a more dominant all-around player, there’s no telling what will happen with Wilson in the next two years when he arrives on a college campus. All we know is that the best is yet to come.

Highlights of Sid Wilson:

Courtesy of Primetime Hoops.

Courtesy of Rivals.

Courtesy of Primetime Hoops.

Courtesy of 302Sports.

Courtesy of 302Sports.

Courtesy of Rivals.

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