Larry Wilkins is back for his senior season after sitting out 2011-12 with an Achilles injury. Known as a ferocious rebounder with a high energy level, the 6-foot-4 forward/center is averaging four points and 3.6 rebounds through the first nine games of the year.
UTSA is playing its first and only season in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). What are some of the team’s goals?
“We want to win a conference championship and get back to the NCAA Tournament. We want to be where we were two years ago. We didn’t do that last year and that was disappointing. We know the WAC has some great teams and it’s going to be a battle every night, but that’s our goal. We want to show people that we are a team to be reckoned with.”
What are some of your personal goals for your final season?
“My personal goals are the same as our team goals. I want to win every time we step out on the floor. I want to win a ring. I want to go back to the NCAA Tournament and experience that moment again.”
UTSA will play 10 of its first 11 games on the road. What is it like for a college basketball team to play away from home?
“It is very difficult to play on the road. You have to go to someone else’s house and try to steal a win in front of their home crowd. It builds character, though. It’s tough, but this will definitely help us in the long run when conference comes around. When we’re on the road at a place like Utah State where they are known for having a rowdy crowd, we’ll know how to handle ourselves.”
What’s your favorite part about playing on the road?
“Personally, I like playing on the road when we’re against all odds. I like when we can silence the home crowd. If we can pull out a win on someone else’s home court, that’s my favorite part.”
What was your experience in rehabilitation from the injury you suffered in July 2011 and what was your reaction when you found out you were awarded a sixth year of eligibility?
“The injury and rehab were very tough. I had never experienced an injury like that before where it ended my whole season. I worked hard every day during rehab trying to get back for at least part of my senior year. When I found out I got that sixth year, I was just extremely happy and thankful to everyone who helped in that process. I’m glad that I have this opportunity to play a full season and I’m just working hard every day trying to make the most of it.”
What is one thing most fans may not know about this team?
“We have great team chemistry. There are no players with their own agenda. Everyone is all about the team. We’re all like family on and off the floor. We take care of each other and we’re always looking out for each other. We’re like brothers.”
What does home crowd support mean to the team?
“It means a lot. It feels good to have your own fans cheering you on and making it difficult on the other team. It gives us another energy level, so our fans are like having an extra player on the court for us. When we come back home, it’s going to be special to play in front of our fans again.”
What has your experience been like to play NCAA Division I college basketball in your hometown?
“It’s very special to me. Being a native, it’s almost like a dream come true. My family is here and they get to see every game I play here. I get to see them out there in the stands cheering me on. That means a lot to me and I’m just happy I have the chance to make them proud.”
What are your career plans?
“I will graduate with a general business degree in May. I’m still debating on what exactly I want to do once I graduate. I will look into some internships once I get into the spring semester. I love sports, so I would like to pursue something in the sports business field.