Road to the Show

Alumnus inspires students on MLB journey

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Wilson graduated with the class of 2010. Prior to his senior season, Wilson was selected as an Under Armour Preseason All-American.

“I remember career day when I was in kindergarten at Winnona Park Elementary. Everybody was asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. Most people said they wanted to be a teacher, a lawyer or doctor. They just said normal stuff. My answer was, ‘I wanted to be a baseball player.’”

Those words spoken by a 5-year old Nic Wilson continue to motivate him today. Wilson was selected in the 24th round of the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Wilson has come a long way to get to where he is today.

Wilson grew up in Decatur his entire life. From Winnona Park Elementary to Renfroe Middle School, he was always involved in sports.

In high school he played baseball and basketball while his dad, Carter Wilson, was the head coach. Former head baseball coach Rusty Bennett saw his potential early on.

“When I got to Decatur in 2007, I remember seeing this big, tall kid,” he said.“What most impressed me about Nic was his work ethic. He had an endless desire to work at his trade and get better,” Bennett said.

After a great senior season in baseball where he made the all-state team, the journey was just beginning. Wilson describes his college experience as “a tour of the United States.” His freshman year he played at Hofstra University in New York where he only received seven at bats.

Wilson views his time at Hofstra as turning point in his career.

“[I realized] I can be a program guy up here, do everything right and have a good college career, but I didn’t think that was the end of my journey,” he said.

Wilson then transferred to a junior college called Eastern Arizona, where his college career took another turn. As a sophomore, he had (.376) RBI and two home runs. Wilson attributes this growth to “getting hooked up with a great coaching staff.”

After his sophomore season, Wilson moved back to Atlanta and transferred to Georgia State. He finished his last two years of collegiate sports strong, ending out his senior season with eight-teen home runs (fourth in the nation), batting (.322) and being selected Second-team All-America by Louisville Slugger.

Fast forward to June 7, 2014. Wilson is at home with his family and has just heard his name called in the draft.

“I felt instant gratification for something I had dedicated so much to,” he said. “In that same moment I knew it was time to create a new goal and dedicate all I had to making it to the show.” Wilson never lost faith that one day he would get drafted. “I always believed, in my heart of hearts, that one day I would become a professional baseball player. I knew that once I got my foot in the door, with enough work and relentless effort that I would have a chance to become a big league baseball player.”

Wilson, standing 6 feet 6 inches and 240 pounds, is looked up to in more than one way. Sophomore Ryan Lewis and Junior Jaylen Sprull both watched Wilson play since their childhood. Sprull would like to play collegiate baseball too, and take the sport as far as he can. He is motivated from seeing Wilson’s drive and determination.

“I’ve never seen anybody, in any sport, come in day in and day out and work like he does,” he said.

Sprull knows how challenging it is to make the roster, but he believes in Wilson.

“He’s just the kind of guy that can get it done.”

Lewis admires him for more than just baseball.

“He was one of the best athletes at Decatur when I was younger, but he was also good friends with my sister,” Lewis said. “He’s just a really nice guy.”

Wilson is excited to have younger guys looking up to him. He said that’s what he’s done his entire career; look up to guys that have already been there and are at the level he wants to be.

“It’s a huge honor to be someone that anybody looks up to… I just try to be a good guy, a good teammate and hopefully that will rub off on some kids,” Wilson said.

Wilson’s family has been rooted in the city for years. His grandmother, Elizabeth Wilson, was Decatur’s first African-American mayor. His mother is running to be Georgia’s education superintendent. His father is also a graduate of Decatur High School and the current athletic director.

“We always put a premium on being a good person. If you are a good person and treat people right, then goals will take care of themselves,” Carter Wilson said. “Everybody in my family has told me ‘If you have a dream, chase it. Even when it looks like you won’t make it, you’ve got to keep working and see what happens tomorrow,” Nic Wilson said.

Along with many others from Wilson’s hometown, Bennett believes in him. “I know without a shadow of a doubt he can make it. I still believe he has not hit his peak. With his work ethic I believe the big day is still looming in front of him, and I mean the day he makes the show.”

Batter up.