NEW YORK, N.Y., March 22, 2002
– Huntsville Flight guard Michael Wilks has been named the inaugural recipient of the 2001-02 NBDL Sportsmanship Award, which honors a player who best represents the ideals of character and conduct on the court. Wilks will be honored tonight during the Flight’s regular season finale against the Mobile Revelers at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Ala.
“Michael is truly deserving of this award,” said Huntsville Flight head coach Bob Thornton. “He leads by example and represents the characteristics of a professional athlete – he’s a hard worker, he’s dedicated and competitive, all while respecting his teammates, opponents and fans.”
“I thought Michael displayed great character in not only working as hard as he did with us in Mobile, but after being released he carried that same attitude into Huntsville,” said Mobile Revelers head coach Sam Vincent. “He became a leader and a key member of a team that had a very successful season.”
Going into tonight’s regular season finale, Wilks has started all 37 games in which he played for the Flight, averaging 10.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg over 30.0 mpg, leading the Flight to a 20-17 record in those games. Prior to Wilks’ arrival, the Flight were 5-11. He appeared in 43 games in the NBDL this season, averaging 9.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg over 27.3 mpg. Wilks currently ranks fifth in the league in both assists (3.8 apg) and steals (1.6 spg).
Wilks attended the Sacramento Kings’ veterans training camp after spending the summer as a member of the organization’s entry in the Southern California Summer Pro League, in which he averaged 7.7 ppg and 3.0 rpg over six games. He was drafted in the twelfth round (95th overall) of the NBDL’s Inaugural Draft by the Mobile Revelers, but was waived by the team on December 12, and claimed by the Flight on December 24. He played collegiately at Rice University, where he finished his career ranked 11th all-time in scoring (1,300), second in steals (184), fifth in assists (348), third in free throws made (361), seventh in three-pointers made (107) and third in minutes played (3,482).
“Michael is as fine a person as I have ever had an association with,” said Rice University head coach Willis Wilson. “He exemplifies every component a coach would want in a player at every level. His character is impeccable, and his work ethic and determination are exemplary.”
Wilks earned an economics degree from Rice, and is looking forward to a post-basketball career as a teacher or as a youth minister because he would like to have a positive impact on kids. While with the Flight, Wilks has been involved in numerous events in the Huntsville community, including the league’s Read to Achieve program and appearances at local youth clubs where he stressed the importance of education.
“Michael's professionalism on and off the court has been a real example for all of our community youth to model,” said Melvin Allen, President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Huntsville. “The Huntsville community is blessed to have Michael Wilks as a part of our community.”
Other top vote getters for the NBDL’s Sportsmanship Award were Terrell McIntyre of the Fayetteville Patriots, Billy Thomas and Jeff Myers of the Greenville Groove, Eugene Edgerson of the Mobile Revelers and Marshall Phillips of the Roanoke Dazzle.