M/P-B's Rylen Wick taking on leadership role as a junior
Wick and the Thunder finished runners up in the 2023 Stutsman County Boys Basketball Tournament for the second year in a row.
MEDINA, N.D. —- This season, Medina/Pingree-Buchanan’s Rylen Wick has stepped up as a leader and has not been afraid to challenge head coach Bob Young on the floor.
“Rylen’s very important to the team,” Young said. “All the kids are important but he’s one of the most dedicated kids I’ve ever coached. He is a leader on the team and whatever we ask of him or I’ve asked for him, he has done whether it be playing defense or being a passer or being a scorer which he usually is. He’s always my biggest critic too and I mean that in a positive way. He asks me a lot of questions. He has conversations with me about things we’re doing.”
Wick said the leadership role has been split between himself and senior guard Josh Moser.
Wick said his favorite part of playing the sport is being with his teammates and playing tight defense.
"If me and my team can play good defense I think we can win every game,” Wick said.
Through nine games, the Thunder are 7-2 and are currently on a two-game winning streak. This season, Wick is averaging 15.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. Wick is also shooting 45% from the field.
“I think he’ll continue to get better as the year goes along,” Young said. “He did sit out quite a bit in the summertime with a bad foot and that’s gotten better. He’s been playing a lot of minutes this season. So, I think he’s getting into a rhythm and as the season grows here, he’ll get better and better.”
In order for Wick to shoot the ball better, he said he has to move more while his team has the ball.
“I’d say I just have to work more on offense to get more open, cut more, use my teammates because I know they’re going to help me get open,” Wick said.
Wick said his best skill on the floor is his court vision and he needs to work on his moves in the post more.
“I definitely need to work on my post moves because I think if we’re going to continue to win they need to be much more of a threat down low and then we’ll get a lot of open shooters, knock down shots,” Wick said.
Wick said the most underrated part of his game is his passing.
Wick said he puts a lot of work into his 3-pointers doing drills in practice as he puts up as many as 30 shots in a minute from beyond the arc. The work has caught the eye of Young who calls Wick’s shooting one of the best parts of his game.
“Rylen always shoots with a lot of deep range and I think people know that about him,” Young said. “He’s also I think a really underrated defender and passer. I’ve put him on point guards and post players and when he’s playing man to man he makes the night very difficult for those guys.”
Wick has been a member of the Thunder since he was in seventh grade and Young said he has seen Wick be confident since day one. Wick said he has grown a tremendous amount since his seventh-grade year as he has worked with his coaches, family and friends during the summers to get better.
“He’s grown a lot in the program,” Young said. “I’ll never forget, the first game I put him in was in seventh grade and I looked at him and I said, ‘Are you going to be too nervous to play?’ He looked at me and smiled and said, ‘No.’ I told him if you’re open shoot it and I think he took that to heart because he’s done that ever since.”
This season, the Thunder have held their opponents to under 50 points in all seven of their wins. Wick said he is most proud of his defense because of the challenge that Young presents to him on a daily basis.
“Lots of times players don’t want to attack me, they want to go away but there’s players that come at me,” Wick said. “My coach puts me on usually the best player and it’s my job to shut them down.”