Aces guard Dominique Wilson was not drafted by a WNBA team in 2017, resulting in temporary dejection.
Turned permanent determination.
Wilson, a former North Carolina State standout, played two years professionally in Europe and received the first WNBA training camp invitation of her career in April from the Aces. The 5-foot-8-inch combo guard knows she must compete for a roster spot alongside other talented guards but cherishes the opportunity.
“I wanted to give her a shot, take a look and see what kind of guard she is. We’re evaluating it,” Aces coach Bill Laimbeer said. “She’s trying to find her way.”
Wilson, 25, was born into an athletic family and played several sports while growing up in the Atlanta area. Her mother was a track star in Minneapolis, and her father played football at Georgia Tech, winning a national championship in 1990.
But Wilson settled on basketball and bloomed at McEachern High School into a four-star recruit with a bevy of scholarship offers. She signed with Arkansas and averaged 6.6 points and 2.5 rebounds in her freshman season of 2012-13 before transferring after a coaching change to North Carolina State.
The Wolfpack hired coach Wes Moore in 2013, and he remembered Wilson as his first recruit while noting that her competitive spirit invigorated his program.
“She really helped kick-start our program and got it going in the right direction,” Moore said. “She was somebody that was just about every time you walked in the (arena), she was in there getting shots up. Working on her game.”
Wilson averaged 14.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in three years at North Carolina State, a career that culminated with an NCAA Tournament berth. She expected to get drafted by a WNBA team but was not among the 36 players selected.
“Life goes on,” she said. “You’ve still got to pick up the pieces. Things happen.”
Undeterred, Wilson went to Africa that summer to play in the Zenith Women Basketball League and helped her club to a third-place finish. She played the 2017-18 season for Swedish club Norrkoping — averaging 19.4 points — then played the 2018-19 season with Polish club Widzew, for whom she averaged 22.4 points while expanding her repertoire of offensive capabilities.
“Overseas, they wanted me to facilitate a little bit more and run the offense,” said Wilson, a natural scorer. “They realized I could score, so I started becoming a scoring point guard.”
Laimbeer said before training camp that two roster spots probably are available, adding that he’s impressed with Wilson’s perimeter shot and competitive nature.
The regular season starts May 26, giving Wilson two more weeks to prove her potential.
“I’m here,” she said triumphantly. “My story is still continuing.”
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