Eli Ruiz | Democrat
Brent Wilson will bring his Division 1 experience to SCCC hoops.
Wilson takes Sullivan to new level
Story by Ken Cohen
LOCH SHELDRAKE June 28, 2013 New SUNY Sullivan head basketball coach Brent Wilson brings something to Loch Sheldrake that no past coach has Division I coaching and playing experience.
In fact, Wilson has never been at any other level in his brief basketball career. After playing for former SUNY Sullivan coach Will Brown at The University of Albany from 2004-2008, he served as an assistant for Brown from 2009-2012. Last year, he was an assistant for The University of North Dakota under Brian Jones, a Steve Alford, disciple. North Dakota also has roots to perhaps the greatest coach in NBA history it’s where Phil Jackson played in the late 1960s.
While it’s unusual for a Division 1 assistant to go to the junior college level, Wilson, 28, feels it’s the right move for him.
“I wanted to be a head coach, run my own program and come back to the East Coast,” said Wilson, who had never been to Sullivan before his interview, but heard only good things from a very complimentary Brown.
Athletic Director Chris DePew said the college received over 50 inquiries about the advertised position.
“Brent had an amazing interview. I was familiar with Brent, as I was with most of the interviewees, both as a player and coach. Brent was polished, hungry and ready for his first head coaching position,” said DePew. “Being the former head coach here, I know the type of person and coach I am looking for. Brent fit that mold and I am excited to have him.”
Wilson feels his Division 1 background, including back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances as a player, will be a significant asset as he tries to assemble another national championship team for Sullivan.
“My goal here is not to just to win games and win a national championship, but also try and get kids to the next level. That’s what they want to play Division 1 ball.
“I have lived it both as a player and a coach and that should give me some added credibility when I’m out there recruiting.”
Noted Depew: “It was clear during Brent's interview that he was the right person for the position. He is a gifted recruiter, he is strong with the Xs and Os and brings the personality needed to lead our highly successful, national caliber program.”
Wilson takes over for Roscoe native Kevin DeVantier, who accumulated an impressive 121-15 record in his four years as coach before leaving earlier this month to become an assistant at Norfolk State. Wilson knows who he’s following literally. He and DeVantier are close friends and have already discussed what awaits each other.
“I’ve known Kevin for 10 years and we’ve talked since I got hired,” said Wilson. “He’s going to Division 1 where I was and I’m coming to the junior college level where he was, so we can bounce things off each other and help each other out.
“He’s been a huge help in getting to know the [Sullivan] program and vouching for the players here.”
One of those players was Cleanthony Early, who last year led Wichita State to the Final Four. Wilson said that is definitely a recruiting tool.
“Having Early [as a former Sullivan player] helps,” said Wilson. “Everyone knows where he came from and I talk about it in my recruiting pitch.”
Wilson admits the chances of another Early walking through the door are slim just as they were for Wichita State going to the Final Four. But he believes he offers potential recruits a decent chance of landing a Division 1 spot, especially in the northeast.
“The kids are going to have opportunities in the northeast,” said Wilson. “I know a lot of assistant and head coaches in the area and I can help them get to the next level.”
Wilson said that no assistant coaches from DeVantier’s staff will be returning and he’s in the process of filling those positions now. He said he’s fielded a bunch of calls from interested parties.
In fact, between talking to recruits, well-wishers and potential assistants, Wilson said he feels like “he hasn’t put the phone down yet.”
Wilson has a wife and a five-year-old daughter who will be moving here from the midwest sometime in August.