There has always been something smooth about Tylor Wimbish on the basketball court.
Whether it is cutting to the basket or his release on a 12-foot jump shot, the former Mountain Pointe star can make the game look easy at times.
It is one of the reasons, along with his work ethic, that Wimbish is flourishing at Mesa Community College with opportunities to play at a four-year school just around the corner.
“He has really developed into one of the top players,” MCC coach Sam Ballard said. “He knows the game, where he needs to be, and does a great job of getting everyone else involved.”
Ballard admitted he came across Wimbish while checking in on other players, but kept wanting to see more of Wimbish.
“Every time we saw Mountain Pointe he’d get 18 or 20 points,” said Ballard, the former Pride coach. “We honed in on him pretty quickly after that.”
It has turned out to be a good fit after taking short to MCC when he could have gone to Division II schools like Hawaii Pacific and Notre Dame de Namur (Belmont, Calif.).
In his sophomore year, Wimbish has become one of the Thunderbirds’ top players as the 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward leads the team in scoring (12.0) and rebounding (6.5) through Tuesday.
“It’s going pretty good,” he said. “We’re winning and doing some good things. Coach is one of the smartest people I’ve been around. If you are struggling on the court, he can tell you what you are doing wrong.”
With Wimbish the changes since leaving Mountain Pointe have been subtle. He’s playing much the same way, just more efficient.
“I came to Mesa to further my career and it has been everything I expected,” he said. “I’ve developed my whole game. I’m more focused on the defensive side and playing a better level of team ball.”
It has led to some interest from colleges at the next level.
Wimbish mentioned Arizona Christian, Montana State-Billings and Hamlin University, while Ballard said UC-Riverside and Idaho are smaller Division I programs that have showed some progress.
“We will see how it goes,” Wimbish said. “It’s good knowing there is going to be a place for me somewhere.”
Ballard believes it will be a smooth transition for Wimbish and not just because of what he does on the court.
“He has really developed into a great leader,” Ballard said. “He goes about it quietly and isn’t a rah, rah guy. He does it by making sure everyone knows where to be and when. He sends out texts to the younger players and keeps everyone on the same page.
“I’ve been really impressed as to who he has become as a person.”
Wimbish, who averaged 7.1 points and 3.9 rebounds as a freshman, said he is just returning the favor.
“Last year as a freshman the sophomores did a good job of making sure we knew what to do,” he said. “It’s part of being a good teammate and leader.”
Wherever Wimbish ends up, his time at Mesa — considering he could have been in Hawaii instead — has been pretty special.
“It’s a good group and I’ve learned a lot,” Wimbish said. “It’s been good, but we have some work ahead of us.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN