Former Wolfpacker Damien Wilkins has had quite the interesting career. He came to NC State as the #1 overall prospect in 1999. As a freshman, he got off to a pretty strong start averaging 11 points, 6 boards, 2 assists and a steal. The next season he put up nearly identical numbers, averaging 12 points, 6 boards, 3 assists and a steal. That’s when things starting getting strange.
Soon after his sophomore season, Wilkins decided to test the NBA draft waters. When he found not many teams interested, he thought coming back to college would be the right move, but he didn’t come back to NC State. Instead, Wilkins transferred to Georgia, where he had two somewhat pedestrian seasons and went undrafted after his senior season.
Damien did end up getting scooped by the Sonics in 2004 and played with them until 2008. His best season came in 2007 and 2008 where he played nearly 25 minutes per game and averaged about 9ppg.
From there he moved over to Oklahoma City where he played only 15 minutes per game and scored 5ppg.
After a season in OKC, he moved to Minnesota, then to Atlanta for a season and on to Detroit before getting his final chance in Philadelphia. Wilkins wasn’t a star at any of those stops and never scored over 7ppg in any of those seasons. But that didn’t stop him.
In 2013, with zero NBA interest, Wilkins went to China for a season. In 2014, he decided he wanted to give the NBA another chance and came back to the states to join the Iowa Energy (of the NBA D-League).
In 2015, Wilkins was all set to head to Venezuela to join a team, but his agent learned that the Charlotte Hornets may have a little interest because of an injury to Kidd-Gilchrist. Wilkins jumped on the opportunity and signed a non-guaranteed training camp contract. Unfortunately, after 3 preseason games, Wilkins was waived and headed down to Venezuela to play.
In 2016 he wanted to give the NBA another shot. He joined the Greensboro Swarm (NBA D-League) and actually put up some pretty nice numbers. He averaged 15 points, 5 boards, 4 assists and a steal per game, but it never materialized into an NBA contract.
Earlier this year Wilkins went down to Puerto Rico to play for a bit before returning to the states to give the NBA one last try. He signed with the Pacers, returning to the NBA for the first time in 4 years.
The real question is whether or not Wilkins will make the final cut. He has had a decent preseason, averaging 8ppg and 2 boards per game.
While it’s hard to imagine the Pacers keeping the 37 year old vet, we are certainly rooting for him and will keep you updated on the Pacer’s decision.