RALEIGH, NC (seminoles.com) – Despite being raised in a household dominated by two of Sunshine State’s biggest names in basketball, Florida State senior Redshirt Wyatt Wilkes credits his mother for his success as a that player.
His grandfather, Glenn Wilkes, is widely recognized as the “Godfather of Basketball” in the State of Florida. He was the head coach of men’s basketball at Stetson from 1957 to 1993 and director of athletics for the Hatters from 1968 to 1990. He was inducted into the National College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014. The Father of Wyatt, Glenn Wilkes, Jr., is in his 36e season as head coach of the Rollins College women’s team. He has won over 725 games, taken his team to the NCAA tournament 15 times and coached six All-Americans.
However, it will be his mother, Kim, whose wisdom he draws when the Seminoles travel to play NC State on New Years Day at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC The Seminoles’ game against the Wolfpack is scheduled to start at 4:00 a.m. pm and will be televised on the ACC network.
As Kim remembers (like all moms), Wyatt’s first steps were taken at Rollins College Gymnasium, and his first stuffed toy was actually a basketball. From a young age, Wyatt was encouraged to play many sports and not just focus on basketball. However, as many sons of successful parents often do, Wyatt turned to the family business and formed his first AAU team before he was a freshman in high school.
“We told him he couldn’t be on an AAU team until he could drive,” Kim said. “His coach convinced us to let him play for his AAU team at the end of the eighth year. We just wanted Wyatt to enjoy playing. Enjoy. Not to turn professional at 10 years old.
It was from there that Wyatt’s basketball career began to focus. He secured a berth as a starter on the varsity team at Winter Park High School in freshman and had a double-digit GPA during his 114-game preparation career. Preparation star Wilkes totaled 1,474 points and 812 rebounds. He won the All-State Class 8A Second Team honors as a senior and was selected to the All-Area First Team in 2015 and 2016 by the Orlando Sentry.
None of the accolades he won during his career would have been possible without his mother. She made breakfast at 5 a.m. for two-a-day workouts, washed uniforms, went to AAU pickup points before sunrise, rubbed sore feet, prevented the dinner to cool, calculated the statistics and worked in the concession stands. , and instilled a competitive spirit in his sons.
“My whole family is incredibly competitive and she (my mom) is maybe the most competitive,” Wyatt said. “It’s a fact that she never let me win once. No board game, no card game. Never.”
It’s easy to see where Kim gets her incredible motivation – as a mother of two basketball-playing sons and a full-fledged college star.
Kim is the second-all-time leading scorer for the Rollins College women’s team with 1,916 points. She is the career leader at Rollins in two categories (average points per game and goals scored) and is second in nine other categories. She has been selected four times by the All-Sunshine State Conference which has led Rollins to three SSC regular season championships and two Conference tournament championships. It is one of the Sunshine State and Central Florida Temples of Fame.
“Everyone’s guessing that since Glenn is a trainer and the son of a legend, he’s coached Wyatt,” Kim said. “The truth is, Glenn never told them anything about how to play unless the boys (Wyatt and Van) asked him to. He wanted to be their dad and not their coach, which I really respect.” But I didn’t feel that way – I went to every game Wyatt played until the AAU trip. I shouted what to do during the quiet times, and I have the loudest cheer I have. they would hear across the gymnasium.
Wyatt remembers that his “father had changed [him] left-handed to right-handed shooting. After that, [my mom] Took me to the gym everyday and actually taught me how to shoot right handed.
“I was a really good free throw shooter,” Kim said. “So I took Wyatt to the gym and taught him how to shoot free throws and flaunt himself. Because he was tall, everyone wanted him to be a cross, but he wanted to be a goalie. Kim’s most memorable story about Wyatt’s basketball education sounds like it came straight out of a movie.
“Once, when he was in fifth or sixth grade, I had Van [his brother] take him down while he was on the bench what he needed to do the second half, ”Kim said. “If there was one aspect of the game that I thought he could improve on, like the rebound, I would try to make him more aware of that. I always told him that the only thing he had under his control was how hard he played and how he acted. Van, who became
Wyatt’s most formidable opponent on the Wilkes home driveway court in Orlando, played alongside Wyatt for a season at Winter Park High School.
Wyatt recalls, “If I didn’t want to work out as a kid, she’d say something like ‘your dad told me Austin Rivers had been training in the gym for two hours already.’ She knew I wanted to be better than him someday, so of course I would get on my bike and go down to the gym and do some hits.
Kim’s competitive aspect has helped Wyatt create one of the strictest pre-workout and pre-match training routines of any current or recent Seminole. He is recorded and on the field at least one hour before the start of each practice and is always the first Seminole on the field before each match.
Wyatt’s routines helped him grow to be a successful college student and player during his career. He received his BS in Humanities from Florida State University on April 23, 2021 and is currently pursuing a second BS in Social Sciences. Wilkes has been a member of three NCAA Tournament teams (2018, 2019 and 2021), the 2020 ACC Seminoles Championship team, and two ACC Tournament finalist teams.
The next time Wyatt walks up to the free throw line and you hear a thunderclap or a word of encouragement from the Seminole devotees, there’s a good idea it’s Kim Wilkes cheering on his. son.
And she’s also there to remind him that she’s the only American four times in the Wilkes house.