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story.lead_photo.caption Photo by Michael Wade/Farmington 2017 graduate Matthew Wilson launches a jump-shot during Delta State's 70-69 upset over Valdosta State during Saturday's semifinal action of the 2019 Gulf South Coast men's basketball tournament. Wilson scored 28 points and added 16 a night later as the Statesmen defeated Alabama-Huntsville, 64-60, to win the tournament championship. Wilson was named MVP.

FARMINGTON -- Farmington 2017 graduate Matthew Wilson was named MVP of the Gulf South Coast tournament and has become a major contributor to Delta State according to head coach Jim Boone.

"All of you in Farmington are all aware of Matthew Wilson, his hard work, he's a great kid, all those things, but he's turning into one heckuva college basketball player," Boone said.

Wilson is the son of Bobby and Dawn Wilson, of Farmington. He is attending Delta State at Cleveland, Miss., on a basketball scholarship majoring in Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

Last season, as a freshman Wilson played in all 31 games and made 10 starts helping power the Statesmen to a runner-up finish in the Gulf South Conference tournament averaging 6.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.2 assists.

He became a starter by season's end.

Wilson's high school coach, Beau Thompson, of Farmington, follows Wilson's career and is thrilled with Wilson's tenacity, sticking with the Delta State program even when his role changed and he is no longer a starter this season.

"This year they kind of moved him to sixth man. He accepted his role. He's had a bunch of 20-point games," Thompson said.

Thompson noted a lot of kids can't handle that. They either sulk or quit.

Thompson enjoys keeping up with the tournament.

"They upset Valdosta (70-69) in the semis, then beat Alabama-Huntsville last night (64-60)," Thompson said. "He had 28 against Valdosta and 16 in the championship."

Boone said Wilson fits the team better this season coming off the bench and plays starter minutes. Wilson logged 34 minutes against Valdosta and 28 against Alabama-Huntsville.

"He's really emerged as our top scorer. He's kind of our go-to-guy," Boone said, praising Wilson's consistency and penchant for making big shots and key plays offensively.

Yet, for all of Wilson's point production, Boone delights in the defensive impact Wilson has.

"I'm most happy as a coach with the progress he's made in his defensive game. He not only does it, he's beginning to excel at it," Boone said. "Like most high school kids coming in he was a really prolific scorer, and defense was just a thing on the side."

Wilson knew that if he was going to survive in the college ranks, he would have to improve his individual defensive skills. He has done that and Boone is pleased with the progress. At one juncture during Sunday's championship game Boone inserted a substitution. Wilson had been matched up against Seth Swalve, who according to Boone, was having an outstanding tournament scoring.

Wilson inquired of his coach if he should switch defensive assignments.

"No, you're staying on No. 12," Boone said. "That's your man."

Surprised, Wilson looked at Boone.

"Really?"

The exchange illustrates the confidence Boone places in Wilson as a defender. Swalve played 34 minutes scoring 13 points, yet only two came from the free-throw line.

"Stopping dribble penetration is really hard to do," Boone said. "Matthew Wilson's done a really good job of working hard to keep his man in front of him and not get beat off the dribble."

Delta State (19-11) won the championship of the Gulf South Coast men's basketball tournament and is one win away from a 20-win season. Wilson and the Statesmen will take on Florida Southern in the NCAA Men's Division II national tournament on Saturday.

Sports on 03/13/2019

Print Headline: Wilson Named MVP Of Gulf South Coast Tournament

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