Media darling: Wilson-Frame named Panhandle POY

Media darling: Wilson-Frame named Panhandle POY

By SETH STRINGER

NICEVILLE — During the season Jared Wilson-Frame and Jeromy Rodriguez discussed the likelihood that one of them would win Panhandle Conference player of the year.

The NWF State sophomores were right. And also very wrong ... in the best possible way.

Rodriguez was named by Panhandle coaches as the player of the year on Feb. 27.

Wilson-Frame followed on Monday as the media's player of the year.

"I think that's a testament to the strength and depth of this team," said Wilson-Frame, whose signature beard rivals James Harden's. "I told (Romy and Daryl Edwards) really all five starters could get it. I just happened to be the guy scoring the most points."

Echoed head coach Steve DeMeo, "We have a lot of different guys that can lead us on any given night. I'd like to think it's seven or eight, which makes us a dangerous team. But Jared's very deserving of this honor."

Wilson-Frame leads the team with 14.6 points per game, down from his 15.4 average last year. But this season's been about quality over quantity.

Speaking to his maturation as a decision maker and team player, the 6-foot-5 guard is shooting 50 percent from the floor and 41 percent from beyond the arc for 2.2 3-pointers a night. That's up significantly from his 40.5-percent shooting effort last year and 37.3-percent effort from 3-point land.

"What changed is my mental game, the things that were out of my natural ability," Wilson-Frame said. "With my mental stability, it was just about understanding what the coaches wanted out of me and understanding my leadership role. At this level every possession counts, so taking smarter shots, making better passes and just making the right play was the biggest change."

Along with the shooting percentages trending in the right direction, the turnovers dropped and Wilson-Frame has added four rebounds and three assists a night.

"He's always been super talented," DeMeo said. "It's just been about fine-tuning the strengths and tightening up the weaknesses and becoming a leader. Scoring isn't as important to him as before. His value is in doing other things, and he's excited to make the extra pass. He can drive, he's a shooter, he's a strong guy and can rebound in traffic. When he does what he's capable of doing, that gives us some separation."

Wilson-Frame's talents were locked up by the University of Pittsburgh before the season, a move that DeMeo thinks benefited his sophomore.

"Everyone responds a little differently but I think for him it was a good thing. For others it's not. I'm excited he chose that avenue and found the best fit for him."

More importantly it freed up Wilson-Frame to focus solely on leaving NWF State as a national champion.

"This is about redemption, a lot of revenge, a lot of things we want to get done that we haven't been able to," Wilson-Frame said. "I'm just embracing the pressure and ready to get it done."

Joining Wilson-Frame on the first team were Rodriguez and Edwards, while Andres Feliz and Malik Petteway garnered second-team honors. Feliz also made the All-Freshman Team and trailed only Tallahassee's Joponica James for freshman of the year honors.

Britney Snowden, who was named honorable mention, was the lone selection for the NWF State women's team.