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Wilcher Waits for His Dance With Destiny : The standout point guard says Fremont is 'overdue' for a City Section championship. He leads his second-seeded team into this week's Watts Games with an expected showdown against No. 1 Dominguez of Compton.

June 18, 1995|SEAN WATERS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

During the 1994 City Section high school basketball semifinals, Fremont High point guard Dony Wilcher discovered how quickly fans can turn against you.

Wilcher's former teammate Tommie Davis was dribbling up-court when the Fremont fans began taunting the Crenshaw point guard. Davis had transferred to Crenshaw from Fremont prior to his senior year.

"Traitor! Traitor!" the fans screamed.

Davis was forced to leave Fremont for disciplinary reasons and used the opportunity to play for Crenshaw, a star-studded team that would win a second consecutive State Division I title in 1994.

Wilcher, then a sophomore, also had a chance to transfer to Crenshaw and play alongside Tremaine Fowlkes, Kristaan Johnson, Reggie McFerren and Ronnie Arch.

"I considered it for a hot second," Wilcher said. "They had just won a state title and had lost all their guards. It looked like a good situation to step into. Everyone wanted to jump on the Crenshaw bandwagon."

During the 1994-95 season, Crenshaw rolled to its third consecutive City 4-A title with an inexperienced point guard, while Fremont suffered another heartbreaking loss in the semifinals, this time on a buzzer-beater to Fairfax.

For Wilcher, however, no regrets.

"Once you make a commitment, you need to stick to it," he said.

Wilcher, who averaged 19.5 points a game, was selected to the City Times' boys' basketball all-star team. He also was a candidate for the area's player of the year honors.

Entering his fourth varsity season, the 5-foot-8 Wilcher believes that his team will finally play for a City championship.

"It's our destiny," Wilcher said. "Crenshaw got us my first two years and Fairfax beat us with a lucky bounce. I think we're overdue."

Wilcher may be right.

In addition to having one of the City's premier point guards in Wilcher, the Pathfinders also return five of their top seven players, including 6-5 guard Leon Jones, 6-6 forward Raymond Sims and 6-1 guard Claude London. Wilcher and Jones were both selected to play in the Nike All-American Camp July 7-11 in Indianapolis.

Fremont entered this week's Watts Summer Games as the second seed behind Dominguez of Compton, the State Division II runner-up. Wilcher believes Fremont gets slighted when it comes to preseason rankings and would like nothing better than to show that a City team other than Crenshaw can beat the best from the Soutbern Section.

"Everyone is pumped to see a big showdown between Fremont and Dominguez," Wilcher said. "City Section schools don't get nearly half the publicity Southern Section schools get. We don't get respect until we play them."

As a sophomore, Wilcher scored a 920 on the Scholastic Assessment Test to meet one of the college eligibility requirements for an athletic scholarship. He has drawn the interest of Washington State, Syracuse, Clemson, Alabama, New Orleans and Long Beach State.

That's quite an accomplishment for a player who many thought was too small and couldn't shoot well enough to play guard at the Division I level.

Wilcher proved them wrong. By shooting 500 to 600 shots a day in practice, Wilcher improved his range. Last season he made 10 three-pointers against Bell.

In addition to shooting well, Wilcher also has improved his dribbling and court leadership.

"He knows how to get other people involved and that's the secret to being a good point guard," Fremont Coach Sam Sullivan said.

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