By KEVIN WEAKS
Jeff Walk hopes he’s catching lightning in a bottle for the second time.
He has certainly added a charge to his roster.
The Three Rivers Community College head coach made his way back to Troy on Monday to sign Obion County Central guard Shannon Wiggins to play for the two-year school.
In Wiggins, Walk has locked up another lock-down defender who is capable of knocking down the three-point shot.
About a year ago, Walk was at OC signing Macy Wright, another tenacious defender and good shooter. That move paid of well for the Raiders’ program as Wright averaged 12 points, 3.5 steals and 3.4 assists this past year, helping TRCC to a 23-7 overall record.
“Shannon can play, Macy can play and they come from a good program,” Walk said. “Coach (Lyle) LaRue does a good job coaching these girls. We’re just tickled to death she chose us.”
Defense is what will get Wiggins on the court at the college level, and Walk said she’s ready right now to make the transition. On the offensive end, her new coach knows the potential is there.
“I like her defensive tenacity,” Walk said. “She can flat guard, and I noticed during a Christmas tournament that she was extending that range out to the three-point line. She has a lot of upside as far as facing the basket and being offensive-minded. I know coach LaRue didn’t need her to do that, but I think she has some offensive skill that’s just waiting to come out.”
While averaging just 6.5 points a game as a senior for the Lady Rebels, she flashed some of that potential with a career-high 18-point game, hitting five treys.
Wiggins was good for 3.4 steals a game along with 4.1 rebounds. She connected on 37 percent of her three-point shots, 42 percent from the floor overall and 72 percent at the line.
“The things you look at with Shannon are her three-point percentage and her steals per game,” LaRue said. “She’s proved she can make the open shot and that she can limit the other team’s touches. She always drew the toughest defensive assignment, and she would’ve been more of a scorer if we’d have asked her to do that.”
Wiggins will join a proven program that should be strong again next season. Among the individual accolades resulting from a strong season were a third-team all-American, three all-region and three all-conference picks. Four starters return.
But, the fast-paced, full-court style preferred by Walk makes depth a necessity, and the Raider coach feels Wiggins will earn immediate playing time.
“You can’t play 40 minutes, not running up and down the floor the way we like to play, so you need good players coming off the bench,” Walk said. “I think she has a lot of upside to her. She’s very athletic, very coachable, and I know she can guard, which is what we look for at the college level.”
With a skill level already prepared for the JUCO game, Wiggins is poised to provide some more spark to an electric Raider lineup.
Published in The Messenger 4.17.13