Tim Wilson was a late bloomer physically.
But when he bloomed, oh my, he was easily best in show.
Wilson, a 1973 graduate of Wilmington High School, passed away March 3. He was 69.
A funeral service will be held in France Thursday. A memorial service will be held in Wilmington 2 p.m. April 1 at the Bible Missionary Baptist Church.
“He was a great guy,” said Tim Haley, who graduated with Wilson from WHS in 1973. “He was kind of a jokester type. He liked to have fun. Everybody loved him.”
Wilson, known by many as Timbo, made his legend overseas but his start in athletics here would never lead you to believe he was destined for stardom.
Wilson didn’t play sports in high school until his senior year at WHS. And then it was only basketball.
In an interview with the News Journal for his induction into the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, Wilson said he was hanging out on the street at that time in his life and it was easy to stay out of sports.
Wilson’s play his lone season at WHS, though, left many people wanting more. Wilson was first team All-South Central Ohio League. As he continued to grow, from 6-2 in high school, to 6-5 in college, so did Wilson’s achievements.
Wilson played basketball at Wilmington College but left for California during his sophomore year. He returned to WC when John Ferguson became head coach. Wilson was then a force for the Quakers.
As a junior, Wilson averaged 20 points and 13 rebounds a game, earning team MVP, first team All-Hoosier-Buckeye Conference and first team All-District 22 honors. With a 20-point, 15-rebound average per game as a senior, Wilson repeated as an all-conference and all-district performer.
“I always liked to say he was probably a better human being than a basketball player,” Ferguson said in a recent phone interview with the News Journal. “He showed up every day, early to practice. He played injured. He was rugged, played inside. He was very easy to coach. His personality … he was a big, strong kid but he was a teddy bear. He was a good kid.”
Though thoughts of trying out for the National Basketball Association were in Wilson’s mind, he opted instead for a bigger leap of faith … to France and professional basketball.
In one of his early games in Europe, Wilson scored 76 points. His status as a legend was solidified. He played pro ball in France from 1978 to 1998. Thereafter, Wilson was just as accomplished as a coach. In recent years, Wilson was part of Tony Parker’s basketball program in France. Parker was an NBA champion with the San Antonio Spurs.
Ferguson said Wilson’s best attribute may have been his positive nature and the ability to the turn the page after a tough outing.
“Even if we’d get beat and I’d probably have my head down, he’d come by and say, ‘Hey, coach, let’s pack it up and get the next one.’ He was always positive like that,” said Ferguson.