Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Basketball Whiz Nick Wilfong Turns Sights on Baseball

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Basketball Whiz Nick Wilfong Turns Sights on Baseball

Article excerpt

At one point in his athletic career, Nick Wilfong saw himself as a basketball player who also played some baseball.

Nick, a senior at Francis Howell High, was a member of the star-studded St. Louis Eagles AAU program that has helped develop CBC's Larry Hughes and Justin Tatum, DeSmet's Matt Baniak, Pattonville's Brian Grawer and others. Last summer, the Eagles won a national title.

"Back then, I spent almost all my free time playing basketball," said Nick, 18. "I really enjoyed playing the game, and I was playing with some of the top players in the area. I was a starting guard on a team that finished fifth in the nation the summer before my sophomore year." During that trip to nationals, however, Nick's career took a drastic turn. In a practice session, he and teammate Craig Albrecht collided. Albrecht, a Post-Dispatch All-Metro defensive lineman from John Burroughs, now stands 6 feet 5 and weighs 250 pounds. "He wasn't quite that big back then, but he was at least 235," Nick recalled. "When we hit, I went one way and my knee went the other. I didn't have surgery right away; I was playing varsity basketball as a sophomore, but the knee kept popping out on me. In January of that year, I had surgery." And Nick's dreams of big-time basketball slowly faded. After sitting out his sophomore baseball season to rehab his knee, he enjoyed a solid summer with the junior team of the Daniel Boone American Legion program. "I'd always wanted to go to a big school and, at that point, I think I realized that maybe baseball was my best shot," Nick recalled. "I still love basketball, but the Eagles had already recruited some other top players to replace me; honestly, they never really tried to contact me again. I probably could've won back my spot on the team, but at that point, I wasn't mentally ready to get back into basketball at that level." Nick enjoyed a solid basketball season as a junior; he averaged 11.2 points and was named All-Gateway Athletic Conference honorable mention. He followed that up with a Post-Dispatch All-Metro baseball season. A center fielder, Nick batted .456 while setting school records in hits (36) and triples (nine). …

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