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Q&A: Wisconsin Junior SF Billy Wampler Says Its Exciting to Get Call From Gophers Ben Johnson

04/16/2014, 7:00pm CDT
By Chris Monter

As a junior, Wampler averaged 25.5 points per game and had 18 games of more than 20 points with seven contests of more than 30 points.

Billy Wampler, a 6-6 junior small forward from Eau Claire (WI) Regis, helped lead Regis to a 15-9 mark this season, losing to Mondovi 54-39 in the playoffs.  He averaged 25.5 points per game and had 18 games of more than 20 points with seven contests of more than 30 points.


Wampler averaged 15.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore and led Regis to a 12-12 mark.


Wampler helped lead the D1 17-and-under AAU program to a win in the Comets Shootout this weekend in St. Cloud, prompting his second scholarship offer and a call from Minnesota. He is also receiving recent interest from Marquette, Wisconsin and Iowa.


Wampler recently talked to Gopher Hole about the latest on his recruitment and expectations for the upcoming season.


Gopher Hole: You were a unanimous All-State selection. How pleased were you with your individual play this season? 


Billy Wampler: I was really pleased, actually. I thought that I needed to step up because we were losing two big seniors from last year. I knew that I had to take on a big scoring role for our team. I did that. I scored more than 30 points in ten games this year. Not only that, I tried to get everyone involved and I was also our leading rebounder with about nine a game.
Gopher Hole: What are the expectations for next year? Do you lose a lot of guys or do you have most of your guys coming back?


Billy Wampler: We only lose one senior who played, so we really don't lose a lot of guys. We have our base, which was juniors and we are going to work together and get in the gym together and try to settle around each other. The nucleus is all coming back and hopefully, we can make a deeper run in the tournament.
Gopher Hole: Is that kind of the goal for your senior season to make a big splash?


Billy Wampler: We want to make a big splash in the tournament and if we have to play (three-time defending Division 4 state champions) Dominican with Diamond Stone, that is what we want to do. We are probably going to play them early in the year next year in the WBY shootout in Concordia. That will fun. 


Gopher Hole: What is the latest on your college recruitment right now? What school are you hearing from?


Billy Wampler: Lately, it has been a lot of Vanderbilt, Xavier and Davidson. Michigan has called and a lot of bigger schools are starting to contact me. I have about 28 Division I school that have been in contact with me.
Gopher Hole: That has to make you feel very proud that all your hard work is starting to pay off?


Billy Wampler: It has been a long way. I came from a little shooter freshman year to fully developing my game. I model my game after Nik Stauskas. Being able to take the ball to the rim and get everyone involved along with shooting threes, is kind of what I do.
Gopher Hole: What things have you been really working on to continue to improve yourself as a player?


Billy Wampler: I have really been working on my handles to be able to drive by defenders and be able to get my jump shot off. A lot of step back shots and being able to create space. Getting stronger physically. I've been able to jump out of the gym now and can get up with the best of them.


Gopher Hole: Did you have a chance to go to any college games this past year?


Billy Wampler: I went to the South Dakota- South Dakota State rival game and that was the only one.


Gopher Hole: You had your first AAU tournament of the spring and won. How pleased were you with how well you played?


Billy Wampler: I was actually really pleased with how well we played. We came in there not really knowing what to expect, losing a lot of big-name players, so we were kind of thought to be underdogs, but we really played well on defense and offense came naturally to us. We beat TNBA in the championship, which is ranked two or three in the state, which really proved a point that we are not going anywhere. We are still D1 Minnesota. We are still going to be one of the top teams in Minnesota.


Gopher Hole: Will you take more a leadership, scoring role this year? You lost some good players who would have been important for this team. You still have some good talent, but are you going to be taking a bigger role this year?


Billy Wampler: Definitely. I really think that this team needs me to step up because when we need a bucket, I can get a bucket whenever I want usually. I usually try to create for my guys and I usually don't try to go too far out of my way to force things so I can get buckets, but if I have an opportunity to just be able to score, I'll score. 


Gopher Hole: Your first game Saturday, you had two dunks among the team's first ten points. Is that something that you are trying to show a little bit more since people view as more of a shooter?


Billy Wampler: I am not really just a shooter anymore. I really just worked on my all-around game, trying to get to the basket more. I probably scored more going to the basket this weekend than I did shooting threes. Obviously, I have been working on my jumping ability and my speed, so I really tried to showcase that this past weekend. I got a couple of dunks this weekend, so it was pretty fun.


Gopher Hole: You picked up your second offer over the weekend from North Dakota State to go along with one from South Dakota. What was it like to hear from them?


Billy Wampler: It was good because I have been talking to their new coaching staff and I obviously had a good relationship with their old coaching staff and some of them stayed. Freddy Coleman stayed. I have really gotten to know them well. They were supposed to come to my house, but because of the rules, they couldn't come to my house, so they offered me on the way home from the tournament, so it was pretty fun.


Gopher Hole: I know that Minnesota called you this weekend, right?


Billy Wampler: Ben Johnson talked to my dad. That was pretty exciting. It is obviously a Big Ten school and Indiana contacted me today, so they are trying to get up to an open gym next weekend along with UNI, who is coming up for the open gym and Creighton, Coach (Doug) McDermott is coming Friday.


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