Wesley Person, a sophomore global business major from Brantley, has been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District Second Team.
Person was named the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, ranking 68th in the nation in three-pointers per game with 2.6, and fourth among freshmen in the NCAA. Scoring an average of 14.2 points per game, Person set the Troy Division I freshman points record with 412.
In his sophomore year, Person finished sixth in the Sun Belt in scoring, posting 16.8 points per contest and leading the league in three-pointers per game with 3.1. Person hit a three-pointer in all 60 games he has played for Troy, which is the longest active streak in the nation.
Born to a former NBA and Auburn star basketball player, Person didn’t wait until elementary school to learn to play the sport. According to Person, he has been playing basketball for as long as he can remember.
Person said that he was probably 2 years old when he first dribbled a ball.
“My father just put the ball into my hand and taught me how to play,” Person said.
Person transferred to Brantley High School in the middle of his sophomore year and played on that team for three years. Person led his high school team to the state championship game and earned Alabama 1A Player of the Year honors two years in a row.
Despite his potential and performances in high school, Person said that the road to college basketball was not a totally effortless one, especially through the recruitment process.
“People were concerned about my height and my weight,” Person said. “They were thinking if I was strong enough to play that position. But the fact that people doubted me motivated me to play harder and prove that they’re wrong.”
According to Person, some of the determining factors in his choosing Troy University were Troy’s head basketball coach, Phil Cunningham, and the coach’s close relationship with Person and his family.
“I thought that I would be most comfortable playing here and I will have an opportunity to play,” Person said.
According to Person, Cunningham has taken Person under his wing and guided him to be a better player. Person said that he models himself after the coach, who he respects as a second father.
“I graduated from high school on a Friday night, and Sunday I moved to Troy, and ever since then I started working hard, from fall semester to spring semester to summer school,” Person said.
According to Person, during the basketball season he travels every other week for away games. Like many other college athletes, Person has a rigid schedule and finds himself working hard every day to balance school and the sport.
The Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year attributed his achievement to the collaboration of his team rather than individual excellence.
“It’s a total team effort,” Person said. “There’s a lot that’s going on to score, execute and play.
“My teammates—they do a good job. They give me an open when the place calls for me. Whenever I am given an opportunity, I will do the same for them.”
Person said that the team had “to start building that bond, start building that trust and a strong relationship (among teammates).”
“When you get to the court, you know what you can expect from these guys,” Person said. “You trust them and you no longer play for yourself.”
According to Person, he not only played for his teammates, but also for his mother.
“I play because of my strong relationship with my mom,” Person said. “I want to honor her. I play because I don’t want to fail her.”
Although Person said that he is honored to be named to the NABC second team.
“Next year I will try to work harder,” Person said. “I wanna be on the first team.”
Person said his ultimate goal is to play professionally in the NBA. He said he is determined to do whatever he can to one day achieve this goal.