PULLMAN, Wash. — Down in Pullman, there's an athlete by the name of Jack Wilson who's as big as they come. About the only thing larger than him, is the idea of what he's accomplished over the past year.
"Yeah, I work really hard, but I also have these crazy genetics. So, I just understand that I might as well use them as best as I can," said senior Washington State football offensive lineman and basketball forward Jack Wilson.
Standing 6'11," Wilson became the tallest football player in program history. This year, he's also become the first athlete to play both football and basketball since Brandon Gibson in 2007-08.
"I think football really complements it. I was already kind of a physical player," said Wilson. "Something about it is its just felt really good on the basketball court. I'm more relaxed. It's been a lot of fun. I feel like a different person on the court."
When you hear Wilson's story, you think football player turned basketball big man, but it's actually the opposite.
Wilson's collegiate career began in basketball, spending his freshman year on Oregon State's team before transferring to Idaho. After two seasons, he decided it was time to stop playing basketball and transferred to WSU to focus on his future career.
"I had my sights on becoming a strength coach, like that's where I was at. I was ready to get into that," said Wilson. "Get like, kind of jumpstart on my career."
That jumpstart was interning with the Cougs strength and conditioning staff. They saw his strength and size, which later led to football head coach Jake Dickert getting Jack on the team for a sport he'd never played.
"It was kind of like a one year thing see how it goes. I ended up earning a scholarship for this last season and I mean, it was a blessing," said Wilson.
After two seasons of football, Jack thought it was time to go back to his original plan. But then a slew of injuries hit the WSU basketball team.
"Luckily knew him way back when he was a sophomore in high school going into his junior year," said WSU basketball head coach Kyle Smith. "So, I knew he could play basketball and he tried to stay in football and then we had a season ending injury for one of our guys, so I called up Jake (Dickert), I said 'hey, I don't know how much Jack is playing for you right now this and that, but gosh, we might need him this year.' Jake was really gracious about it, he said 'just let us finish the season' and Jack was up for it and it's been great to have him around."
So, Jack, the now football player, got back on the court.
"I saw one of his workouts one day and I was like 'whoa, dude's actually good!' I honestly didn't know what to expect the whole time, but I was expecting to be like a football player just kind of going down there and banging and stuff," said WSU junior guard Justin Powell. "I definitely was surprised with the skill set."
"It's really been a blessing to come back to basketball. I think I didn't really leave it. It was something I did my whole life. And I did a lot of growing up from the time I stopped to now. And coming back to it has been really cool," said Wilson. "It's, I don't know, fun's not even the word. It's just like a wild experience and I just take it in every day and try to make the most of it."
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