Had he played somewhere else, Louie Wild’s numbers would look a lot different.
Had he not played on the Roman Catholic High School basketball team, Wild probably would have taken a lot more shots. He probably would have driven to the basket. He probably would have spent more time on the court. And he probably would have been the go-to guy every trip down the court.
In fact, he played that type of game during his freshman and sophomore seasons when he attended Academy of the New Church.
But Roman Catholic is a different animal.
The Cahillites are an elite team in an elite league, and this year they featured a lineup of great players.
They had senior stars Hakim Hart and Seth Lundy. They had junior star Lynn Greer. And they had two freshmen, Jalen Duren and Justice Williams, who are some of the best freshmen in the area. And like Wild, those players can fill up a scorebook in a hurry. So while he still posted fine numbers, averaging nearly 8 points per game, he did things you won’t see in the box score to help the team succeed.
“We had so many stars on the team that we didn’t need me to take a lot of shots or score a lot of points,” said Wild, who lives in Mayfair. “I tried to do the little things that we needed. Play defense, dive for the ball, take charges, give energy. I tried to help the team any way I can. If my role was to score, I would have tried to do that, but we had so many guys who could do that, I did other things to help the team.”
Wild did his part to help Roman have an incredibly successful season.
The Cahillites lost just once during the regular season in an incredibly competitive Catholic League and then went on to win their second consecutive Catholic League championship by beating La Salle in the finals. They also won the District 12 championship by besting Public League representative Boys Latin.
The Explorers gained a measure of revenge against Roman when they defeated the Cahillites in the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs. It spoiled the chance for Roman to win its second state championship.
“It was really hard to lose, we wanted to win another one, especially for the seniors,” Wild said. “We have a lot of seniors on the team and we wanted to win another one.
“I don’t think it was any worse losing to a Catholic League team, it really didn’t matter who we lost to, it just hurts to lose. We’re Roman, we always expect to win. The school has great tradition.”
Roman certainly has that.
The Cahillites have won the Catholic League crown 32 times, including four of the past five.
But according to historians at the school, Wild will go into the record books for going back to back.
“I didn’t know this, but someone told me that me and my dad are the only father-son combo to win back-to-back championships,” said Wild, whose dad Michael won championships at Roman in 1999 and 2000. “That’s really cool. Roman has so much tradition and if we’re the first one to do it, it’s great.”
Being the son of a former Cahillite basketball star has its advantages.
Prior to going to Roman, he knew all about the rich tradition of the program. He even attended games when he was growing up. And his father, who was a star on those teams that won championships along with former NBA player Eddie Griffin, is now an assistant coach for Roman.
That’s been both a blessing and a curse.
“It’s hard because we’re always talking about basketball, not just at games but at home,” Wild said. “But it’s good. He knows a lot, he’s helped me a lot. And whenever he’s telling me something, I know he’s doing it because he wants what’s best for me. He wants me to become a better player.”
That’s probably played a big role in Wild’s basketball IQ, which is extremely high.
So if any colleges are just looking at the box score when trying to find a quality guard, they probably should take a look at film because they would see Wild helping his teammates get better.
“This year, we all tried to help the freshmen because you always want to see your teammates get better,” Wild said. “They didn’t need a whole lot of help. Jalen is great, he’s probably going to play in the NBA some day. And Justice, too. But they were playing with eighth-graders last year, so you try and help them get ready to play in high school.”
He’ll gladly do the same at the college level.
Right now, he hasn’t made a decision, but he’s starting to get calls.
“I think I’m the kind of player who just wants to win,” said Wild, who is unsure of what he wants to study in college, but does want to continue his basketball career. “If they want someone to dive on the floor or play a role they need me to do, I’ll do it.
“I’ve been told I know a lot about the game. That comes from playing (at Roman). We have great coaches who really help you understand it. I’ve tried to learn a lot and use it, and if I can help (teammates), I’ll do it. I will do whatever a team wants, I just want to win.”
He won’t just do it. He’ll happily do it.
“I don’t care about how we do it,” Wild said. “I know I didn’t have big numbers, but it wasn’t about that. If we won, I was happy.”
Which is why Wild is going out with a smile on his face.