In this reoccurring series – inspired by Moneybagg’s fire single — the CHIEF breaks down each of the 2018 signees in Memphis HC Penny Hardaway’s inaugural recruiting class. Get to know the new Tigers as we hit on five facts about each player in the order they committed. Always feel free to chirp us at The BarnBurner if y’all have any suggestions or questions. #GTG #TimingIsEverything
David Wingett, Jr. | SG/SF | 6-8 | 185 lbs | Bull City Prep | Carrboro, NC
Winnebago is a village and Native American Reservation in Nebraska with a population of 774 (though likely closer to 1000) per a recent census. While the citizenship may be small, the heart and passion is gargantuan, with basketball central among the reservation’s heartbeat.
David Wingett, Jr., standing at a full and impressive 6-8, dribbles to the three-point line, goes behind his back and begins to take his defender off the dribble before whipping a dart pass to a cutting teammate for a routine layup. His poise and skill, when coupled with naturally gifted athleticism and size, makes for an unstoppable presence on the court. But this is Class C-1 Nebraska state ball. What about the next level? What about D-1?
Blessed beyond measure to announce that I will be playing for Coach Penny at the University of Memphis!!! Words cannot describe how excited I am apart of the Tiger family! 🔵⚪️🐅
One goal pic.twitter.com/93WYU6lYvG
— david (@wingett_jr) May 9, 2018
When Wingett signed with Penny and the Memphis Tigers, he became the first ever member of the Winnebago Tribe to play D-1 ball. DW is bringing his brand of “rez ball” to the University of Memphis.
(1) Rez Ball:
If you go to any rez, you’ll see a kid out there dribbling the ball in the dirt. You’ll see a kid shooting on a basket with no net. A lot of kids, that’s what they turn to. In a world where there’s no mall, arcade, or significant amount of disposable income, they’ll always have a rubber ball and a metal hoop.
A lot of people said, who’s Winnebago? Who are they? “You play hard defense, get turnovers, get out and run up and down the court,” Winnebago Head Coach Jeff Berridge explained when asked about his team’s brand of Rez Ball. “It’s an up-tempo, fast-pace game. The philosophy is defense first. If we get defensive stops, we get turnovers, we get rebounds, and we push the ball fast.”
Does this style sound familiar? Penny has articulated nearly these exact principles when asked what sort of basketball philosophies he intends to implement his first year. Position-less and always moving, much like the way the NBA has gone in recent years.
During Wingett’s tenure, the Winnebago Indians captured a Class C-1 State Title, a feat that the Indians hadn’t accomplished in 75 years.
DW never passes on a moment to shoutout his “Bago Boy” brothers and his roots:
— Clint Parks (@Brotherhood05) October 6, 2018
(2) Shooter’s Shoot:
Shooter’s shoot is an age old mantra passed down around what I imagine to be the all-time greats sitting around campfires telling tales of buckets — the likes of Reggie Miller, Bird, the Jet Jason Terry, Ray Allen, Steve Kerr, the Splash Bros., Kyle Korver, etc.
I’ve also seen former Tigers that can shoot the rock. The OG Chris “Clutch” Crawford comes to mind topping out at 40% on five 3-pt attempts per game in the 2012-2013 season. But let me tell you right now, Tiger Nation, Wingett can shoot the dang cover off the ball and has the smooth lefty stroke and confidence to perhaps be the all-time leader in threes when his career in Tiger Blue is all said and done. Fans don’t have to look much further than his 3-pt contest win at Memphis Madness.
As you’ll note from his mix tape, though primarily known as a shooter, DW is also shifty and athletic. While defenders have to honor his shot from deep, he has no issue with careening to the rim to put his nut — er, a highlight reel dunk:
I can think of no better tutor and mentor for Wingett than former marksman and all-around NBA stalwart M33M who just so happens to be on the Tigers’ coaching staff.
(3). Getter of Buckets (and Boards):
DW scored more than 2,300 points during his high school career, good enough to cement his legacy in the record books for second all-time in scoring for Winnebago and fifth leading scorer in Nebraska prep basketball history.
Wingett led Winnebago to the 2015 C-1 championship as he averaged 20.8 points and 4.9 rebounds during his career. He spent a postgraduate year at Bull City Prep Academy in Durham, North Carolina, where he averaged 25.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.
Regarding his first practices with the Memphis team, DW explained: “once we get going, it’s very hard to stop. Because we’re so unselfish and we always make the extra pass, and make the defense move and tire out.”
(4) Fifty for the City:
Wingett announced that he’ll wear No. 50 for the squad in the upcoming season. While this will no doubt immediately bring to mind a certain professional PF who captured the hearts of Memphians with his hip bumps, fade-aways, and rebounding despite having the vertical of a phone book, Wingett’s number selection has some personal pathos arising from a family tragedy.
Wingett has decided to keep wearing No. 50 to honor his late brother Nicholas Lapointe who passed away at an early age. When DW was a young hooper in 2nd grade, he was notified that his big bro had passed away in a car accident. Nicholas was only 12.
“I kind of made it into my number and the one I wear to honor him,” Wingett told 24/7 Sports. “He was a bigger guy so he wore a higher number,” Wingett said. “He got in a car accident when he was 12 years old. He played basketball and was going to be really good. He was bigger than me, he had handles and could shoot too.”
Moments like these remind basketball fans that the game can transcend the players on the court and wins/losses. No. 50 now carries even more meaning to the 901.
— NDNSPORTS.COM (@ndnsports) June 7, 2018
(5). The Bago Legacy:
Wingett has become a certifiable legend in Winnebago.
Wingett’s mother, Darla LaPointe, recognizes her son’s celebrity as well. “You go down to the courts and the kids say they don’t want to be LeBron James of Steph Curry, they want to be David,” she told Greg Russell in his terrific UofM Magazine feature piece on DW. “They want to wear his number.”
Wingett is in no way ignorant, though, that there are still those think differently of him because of the Native American blood pumping through his veins. “I’ve always been doubted,” Wingett explained during media availability. “There’s a lot of people that don’t think I’ll come out here and do what I do best. I just gotta prove them wrong.”
Rest assured, there will be 1000 folks in that Nebraskan small town cheering for Memphis when the ball is tipped this season. But we love that here. The Bago is 901-Mid-West. One team. One goal.
“I saw what [Penny] was doing here, and I believed in it. I’m all in in with it too.” We’re with you, DW.
[banner image: Tiger Athletics]