Raiders add Arkansas shooting guard named state tourney MVP


In February 2019, one of Three Rivers men’s basketball’s new signees tweaked his knee as Ashdown, Ark., was in the middle of a state championship run.

Lamar Wilkerson, a 6-foot, 4-inch shooting guard, came down wrong during a 28-point win.

His coach held him out of the following night’s game against Drew Central, and Ashdown lost by a point on a buzzer-beater.

Those two teams saw each other again in the 3A state championship, and with Wilkerson in the lineup, Ashdown won by 29 points.

Wilkerson was the state tournament MVP as a junior, a two-time All-State selection, and a three-time All-Conference selection. Ashdown went 28-2 that season and then 19-6 during Wilkerson’s senior year this winter.

With a younger team this past season, Wilkerson took on more of a leadership role as coach James Smith opted to run everything through him.

Wilkerson averaged 26 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and two turnovers before hurting his ankle late in the season. He was out of practice for two weeks, returned, and Ashdown lost by a point to Drew Central in the regional tournament.

“If he’s healthy, we’re 99% sure we win the game,” Smith said. “We were on the way, we felt, to winning it back-to-back until he twisted his ankle real bad.

“He filled up the stat sheet in the right way. He played pretty smooth this year. You’d look up, and he’d have 26 in the fourth quarter, and I thought he might have 14.”

Wilkerson had interest from Division I colleges and was initially committed to Northeastern State University in Oklahoma before reopening his recruiting in late April amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smith called Three Rivers coach Bryan Sherrer, who had seen Wilkerson as a junior.

“Everything he’s gotten, he’s worked for. I expect him to do well. I expect him to come up and play hard,” Smith said. “He’s an all-around basketball player. He improved a lot this past year, took on more of a leadership role this past year.”

Added Sherrer, “He’s got a chance to be a really good defender. He can do a lot of things scoring-wise as well ... He’ll be looking to do some big things for us coming up.”

Outside of the court, Wilkerson has written on his Twitter page that he has a 3.7 GPA, and he’s spending his summer working night shifts assembling chain saws to earn some extra money.

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