Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

You Don't Have to Tell Wilson's Proud Parents, Pierre and Romi. [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

You Don't Have to Tell Wilson's Proud Parents, Pierre and Romi. [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

You don't have to tell Wilson's proud parents, Pierre and Romi.

And you don't have to tell Jimmy Sciulli, Wilson's longtime pal and teammate at Montour, who will be one of many friends and family members representing the Kennedy Township and McKees Rocks communities when the No. 8 seed Hokies and No. 9 Crimson Tide tip off around 9:30 p.m.

"As soon as it was announced, we immediately started a group text. He told us he would no longer consider us friends if we're not in the stands 'actin' a fool' - those were his exact words," said Sciulli, who also came to watch Wilson and Virginia Tech practice Wednesday. "I haven't talked to a former teammate yet that isn't going."

Sciulli laughed when he was reminded that Wilson's arrival at Montour back in 2009 meant Sciulli, a junior, would no longer be the point guard. Kaufman gave Wilson the ball from day one, and by the end of his sophomore season, it was clear he could be a major-college athlete.

But back then, the Post-Gazette's 2013 Male Athlete of the Year was still deciding between basketball and football. As Kaufman recalls, Villanova checked in, but then backed off. West Virginia did the same. By the end of his recruitment, Wilson's only official offer from a Power Five program was Virginia Tech.

"It was a cool experience, but kind of a scary experience," Kaufman said. "These people were shying away, and you're thinking to yourself, 'Here's a great kid that really deserves an opportunity and works his butt off.' You want him to get that chance, and people are walking away for different reasons."

For the Hokies, the 6-foot-4, 195-pound Wilson stepped right in as the starting point guard, just like his Montour days. Problem was, they went 9-22 and finished last in the ACC. James Johnson, the coach who recruited Wilson, was fired.

"I think every kid's worried about that," Wilson said of the change. "Especially when you see your teammates just flying out the door, transferring left and right. You kinda wanna go, 'Am I in the right spot?'"

Enter Buzz Williams, the Marquette coach who brought an impressive resume to Virginia Tech and a world of uncertainty to Wilson. In Williams' first year, Wilson started fewer games, scored fewer points and played fewer minutes as the Hokies remained in the ACC basement. As a junior, he made just eight starts behind Seth Allen, a transfer from Maryland.

"It wasn't easy for him, especially with Buzz coming in and bringing in his own type of guys - really talented guys," Kaufman said. "Buzz has done a tremendous job everywhere he's been, but it wasn't easy for Dev because he's a competitive kid and wants to be on the floor."

And Wilson even stuck with his passion for football. In a rare move, he played wide receiver for the Hokies in 2016, catching only two passes on the season but deciding to take a redshirt year in basketball. …

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