And that in-depth scouting had in impact this season on Laurel resident Kayla Wilson, a 2017 graduate of Reservoir High School in Howard County and a freshman guard for FSU.
Opposing teams didn’t have a lot of tape in games through the middle of January on Wilson, who attended Montpelier Elementary School in the Prince George’s side of Laurel before moving to Howard County.
Wilson had played just 13 minutes off the bench in the previous three games before she played 25 minutes as a reserve on Jan. 20 in a 50-point loss to national power Christopher Newport. She had 15 points in that game and reached double digits for the first time as a college player.
She then scored 18 points in each of her first two starts and had at least 10 points in each of her next three games after that.
Wilson was told two days before facing York (PA) College on Jan. 24 that she would start for the first time with the Bobcats, whose roster suffered several injuries.
“I was kind of nervous but I just talked to my dad and he gave me some advice,” she said.
What was it like to come off the bench as a college freshman?
“Just accept your role after playing big minutes (in high school) to not playing as much. I just understand the role they wanted me to play,” said Wilson, who was 10 when she began playing youth hoops.
That string of scoring at least 10 points ended when she made just one of 10 shots from the field and had four points at Marymount in Virginia in a loss on February 10.
“It was kind of tough but I think we played well as a team,” Wilson said of the loss to Marymount.
Wilson played 23 minutes that game after she saw just two minutes of action against Marymount when the Saints played at FSU on January 3.
The Laurel resident averaged 6.0 points as she played in 21 games, with eight starts, and had 15 assists.
“She is typical of a freshman that is expected in the program right away,” said Saunders, who played at Division II Shepherd in West Virginia. “At the beginning of the year it was finding her comfort level with the team. We knew she was a scorer coming in. There is more to it, especially at this level, than scoring, [such as] calling plays. You have to be able to multi-task.”
“We have been working, as a staff, with her a lot. Then in the last month we have had a lot of injuries and different things have happened with some older players and it was time for her to step up,” Saunders added.
FSU (12-14) ended regular-season play on Feb. 17 with a 77-71 win over Wesley and Wilson scored eight points. They were eliminated in the first round of Capital Athletic Conference Tournament after a 66-61 loss to York. Wilson scored seven points.
The Bobcats are losing just one senior from this year’s team and Saunders expects an even better Wilson next season for the Bobcats.
“I think the biggest thing for her is [improving] on the defensive end and being able to see the whole floor,” Saunders said. “She works very hard. So whatever we tell her to work on over the summer, I have full confidence she will. She is going to be a very, very good player.”