Playing for the best team in the Chesterfield area allows a lot of players to generate buzz. For L.C. Bird, there are so many players that can be the leading scorer every night. There’s the obvious in seniors Kenny Williams and C.J. Miles, who have led the team in scoring each of the last two years. Then there are the breakout players, like Charles Falden who is currently averaging 14 points per game after playing JV last year.
What do they all have in common? They are often set up by sophomore point guard Johquin “Pinky” Wiley. He is affectionately referred to by coaches and teammates as “The General,” because he commands the troops and makes sure everyone is rewarded on a nightly basis. Despite being just a sophomore, Wiley’s game is far beyond his years. He’s a leader, has a high basketball IQ, and always has a calm demeanor on the floor even in the toughest times.
“Pinky has an uncanny feel for the game, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes for our team to win,” Skyhawk’s coach Troy Manns said. “No stage or situation is too big for him.
Wiley came in to the Bird program with his cousin Mario Haskett expecting to start on JV his first year, but they were so talented that Manns made him the backup point guard, and Haskett the shooter off the bench on varsity, their freshman year. After the departure of last year’s starting point guard Malik Johnson, who is now starting at Blue Ridge Prep, Wiley was forced to step into a bigger role.
He started the season as the first guy off the bench and would usually come into the game to get others easy shots. However, after the first 11 games of the season, it was obvious that Wiley’s impact on the game was too strong to have him on the bench and he was inserted into the starting lineup.
Now as sophomores, both Wiley and Haskett have had key moments for the Skyhawks this year, and colleges are taking notice. Many evaluators have the two of them rated as top 15 prospects in their class in Virginia and many of the best schools in the state are interested in them. With Haskett as an athletic dead-eye shooter and Wiley as a floor general, many schools want both of them for different reasons.
Through 20 games this season, Wiley is averaging 7.9 points and 5.8 assists per game and his impact on the defensive end of the game is evident with over two steals a game. Even more impressive is that he rarely turns the ball over, with a 5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio in just his second year of high school basketball. Despite his decent stats, Manns believes that it’s Wiley’s intangibles that set him apart from other point guards in the area.
“Pinky is gifted physically,” Manns said, “but his best gift may be his intelligence and mental fortitude. He is growing into his role as a point guard for us at Bird, and he continues to learn every day.”
Despite being the youngest player on a star studded team, Wiley is the unquestioned leader of the offense. He will play an important role for the Skyhawks, as they look to get over the hump and win a state championship before the departure of some of their key pieces.
Despite losing Kenny Williams and C.J. Miles next season, “The General” is here to stay, and his power will only get stronger with time.