May 27, 2014 8:16:19 PM
STARKVILLE-- Two things Darryl Wilson loves are basketball and Starkville, Mississippi.
For the first time since 1996, he'll get to once again revisit both as he will be the lead assistant coach for the Starkville High boys basketball program starting next season.
The Starkville School District approved Wilson as a full-time faculty member in its board meeting on May 13 and he'll be a Physical Education teacher at Ward Stewart Elementary in Starkville along with his duties assisting Yellow Jackets coach Greg Carter. Wilson will officially begin his position on Aug. 1.
This past season, Starkville advanced to the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A North Half semifinals before losing to Grenada
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to coach in a place where I consider it my second home," Wilson said. "Greg and I have been friends for so long and we both love the game of basketball and want to help kids play it the right way."
One of the people that would've likely guessed Wilson would get into basketball instruction at some level is his college coach at MSU.
"He has a passion for basketball and despite his enormous talent, what separated Darryl from other players that had more athleticism than him was his attitude and willingness to work on his game," Former MSU coach Richard Williams said. "His skill level improved tremendously at MSU eventually becoming one of the best to ever play there."
Wilson was the star guard on the only Bulldogs squad to advance to the Final Four in 1996 on a team which included center Erick Dampier and Dontae' Jones.
"Darryl Wilson loved basketball more than any player that I've ever coached and was the easiest to coach," Williams said. "Darryl's skill that was natural to him was his ability to be a fundamentally sound shooter from deep range."
Wilson was an assistant last year at Tupelo High School but accepted this opportunity in Starkville to possibly further his career in coaching now that his playing career days are behind him.
"I want to be a head boys basketball coach in the state of Mississippi and I have no problem saying that's my goal," Wilson said. "So I'll work with Greg, take notes and learn everything I need to achieve that goal."
The last time fans in Starkville saw Wilson on a basketball court in Starkville, the player nicknamed 'Super D' at his alma mater Mississippi State scored 1,619 career points and the Bulldogs had a 66-27 record and three postseason appearances in his three years.
"When we had that opening, Darryl was the first call I made and he immediately said yes," Carter said. "It took a couple of minutes for us to realize we'd now be both coaching our sons on the same sidelines and how good that would be for both of us."
Wilson's son Darrius, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound guard, will be a junior on the SHS team next year as he transfers from Tupelo High School. Tyson Carter will also be a junior this fall.
"Darryl's son can shoot it," Carter said. "Maybe not as well as his dad could but then again, few can ever say around here they shot it as well as Darryl Wilson."
Wilson was on the 1996 SEC All-Tournament and NCAA All-Southeast Regional teams but it was one night against Georgia that exemplifies what a coach on the floor cliche' Wilson during his tenure with MSU.
"When we were playing Georgia one night and I told Darryl that if (former 10-year NBA player) Shandon Anderson gets to the offensive glass, we'll lose," Williams said. "At the end of the game, he turns to me while knowing the answer and said 'Coach, how many offensive rebounds did he have?' and the answer was none. Darryl did things like that where a lot of fans didn't see but were crucial to us being a winning team."
With a career scoring average of 17.4 points, Wilson stands fifth in MSU history. He scored in double figures in 83 of his 93 games played with the Bulldogs, including 32 games with 20 or more points and three 30-point outputs. Wilson owned the MSU records in three-pointers made (439) and three-pointers attempted (645) before that record was broken by Barry Stewart.
"When I was a kid, I was a basketball junkie and wanted to take to coaching and wanted to improve my game," Wilson said. "This is a level that suits me just fine in terms of getting to improve the game of kids when they're the most needed of instruction."
After he graduated from MSU, Wilson had a long career playing professionally overseas in Turkey, Israel and Italy before returning to Tupelo to play in the World Basketball Association.
Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter @matthewcstevens.
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