BIRMINGHAM -- The power of the tongue is mighty. For JQ Wilson and his Talladega teammates, what they had talked and dreamed about for years served as motivation Friday night in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
Wilson and the Tigers defeated West Limestone 60-48 to win the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A state championship.
Since they were young, Wilson and his teammates had talked about winning a title. Now, they had done it.
“Since we were in the rec league, that is all that we have been talking about,” Wilson said. “We wanted to be the ones to win a state championship and we did it. It is a dream come true.”
The senior forward finished the title game with seven points, four rebounds and two blocks, including one he swatted off the backboard. Wilson embraced the role as the Tigers’ defensive stopper.
“Everybody can’t be a scorer,” Wilson said. “You always need that defensive player to run the ball down and play defense the whole game. The aggressor is what I try to be.”
Staying in the moment is something Talladega head coach Chucky Miller preached throughout the Tigers’ playoff run. Wilson said putting on a Talladega basketball uniform for the final time provided him with additional motivation.
“It was my last basketball ever since I am about to be strictly football,” said Wilson, who is pursuing a football scholarship. “That’s why it meant so much because I knew that this was it.”
Wilson said it’s time for the disrespect Talladega basketball has received over the years to come to an end.
“I feel like we have earned our respect,” Wilson said. “When you hear Talladega, know that they are coming to play ball. We are not the same team that we have been for the past years.
“We are really a team and we know what it takes. We know that in order to win, we have to play as a team. That’s all we have been hollering all year.”
Wilson has earned some new titles during the 2018-19 school year, including all-state receiver and state champion basketball player. Now, he wants to add championship parade coordinator to his list.
“The parade should run all the way down Battle Street from Walmart to the college (Talladega College),” he said with a big smile on his face.