'Neon' is Wilde Lake's bright light Wingfield leader of struggling Wildecats

February 11, 1993|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

He's called "Neon" because he's a flashy basketball player with a monster dunk shot who especially enjoys playing before large crowds.

But Deon Wingfield means more than just flash and glitter to his Wilde Lake team.

He's its captain, leading scorer and leading rebounder, averaging 15.4 points and 11.2 rebounds. And he's shooting 67 percent from the floor.

Wingfield, a 6-foot-5, 180-pound senior, had hoped to lead the tall, talented and experienced Wildecats to their first county basketball championship since 1978.

Instead, they lost their first two league contests in overtime and have struggled with dissension since.

"I'm kind of disappointed because I thought we had the best talent," Wingfield said. "But guys have quit the team because they thought they weren't getting enough playing time, or just didn't like the coaching."

Three players have left the team since the season began. The latest -- 6-5 starting center Ramone Myers -- departed after the team lost four of its first six league games.

Since Myers' departure, Wingfield has moved from power forward to center, a position he played sometimes last season.

Wingfield would rather play forward, but has accepted the change for the good of the team.

He hasn't abandoned all hope that Wilde Lake will catch fire and win the county title, because he thinks the Wildecats are starting to play more as a team.

But losing five of their first eight league games -- including four at home -- has left the Wildecats in a deep hole. Their last four games are on the road.

Wingfield, who may have the best vertical leap in the county, doesn't see the schedule as a problem.

"I like to play away, because big crowds motivate me and we don't draw many fans at home," he said.

Wingfield's top game was in the Southern-AA Christmas Tournament, when he scored 28 points and had 13 rebounds in an 80-67 loss to Calvert.

His top league effort was a 26-point, 12-rebound performance in a 53-50 overtime loss to Centennial.

He scored 12 of his points during a fourth-quarter comeback, including 10 during an 18-6 Wilde Lake run. His bank shot tied the score at 62 with three seconds left and forced overtime.

Wingfield is noted for his off-balance shots that somehow find the mark. He drives well to the hoop and he can sink three-pointers when needed, though he rarely shoots them.

"He has an uncanny natural shooting eye," said coach Paul Ellis. "We work with him to try and square up and shoot properly, but he doesn't have to."

Wingfield's worst moment, one that still haunts him, is missing the last shot in an 83-82 double-overtime season-opening loss to Oakland Mills.

"It was supposed to go to Seth Willingham and I was second choice, so I was a little surprised when I got it," Wingfield said.

Wingfield has long arms and is a natural shot-blocker, averaging about 3 1/2 blocks this season.

But his favorite part of the game is rebounding. He had 18 in one game, and his goal is to get 20 at least once this season.

His weakness is that he commits too many fouls.

Wingfield started playing at Wilde Lake as a sophomore for the junior varsity. He was sixth man last season when he averaged 12 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes.

Wingfield hopes to play for Howard Community College next season and Ellis said he has a lot of college potential.

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