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Saugus' Colby Wilson: Middle ground

Fourth-year varsity player has developed as a middle blocker

Posted: April 1, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 1, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Saugus senior middle blocker Colby Wilson doubles as a varsity basketball player at the school, but he’s become one of most dangerous front-row players in the Foothill League.

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Saugus boys volleyball head coach Barry Nua makes no bones about which players he builds his team around.

It’s the kind of player who is devoted to his craft and one who brings the same kind of competitive spirit and professionalism to the court every day.

Yep, that sounds about right.

That’s a pretty accurate description of Saugus senior captain Colby Wilson.

“He’s almost cliche in what you want as a captain,” Nua says.

In Wilson’s fourth year as a varsity player, he, along with co-captain Matt Coleman, is happily taking the reins this season.
It’s been a while since Saugus has been a major contender in the Foothill League, finishing no better than fourth place since 2009, when the team finished third.

Wilson was a freshman then.

Now he’s captain on one of the most experienced teams in league, and with Coleman recovering from an ankle injury at the moment, even more is put on Wilson’s shoulders. 

“It kind of puts a lot of pressure on us but it’s really interesting to know it’s our team and we kind of have control of it,” Wilson says.

It’s something Wilson has learned to do over the years — taking control.

He’s done so through managing a year-round volleyball schedule along with playing varsity basketball at Saugus for the past two years.

“When he says he wants to do it, he’s going to do it,” says his father, Spencer.

Basketball has been a part of Colby’s life since long before high school, and long before he started playing volleyball.

Colby figured out that he shined in volleyball even more than basketball, but he saw no reason to let either one of them go.

“I couldn’t see my life without playing either one of those sports,” Colby says. “And there were some times when volleyball tournaments were more important that basketball tournaments and times when basketball tournaments were more important than volleyball, so I kind of had to juggle.”

It’s not unlike his ongoing involvement with Boy Scouts of America, which he joined at age 12.

Thanks to his father’s encouragement, Colby stuck with that too for the long haul. He’s just months away from attaining the organization’s highest ranking of Eagle Scout.

“My idea is to give every young man an opportunity to be a part of something and whether that be charity work, whether that be giving service to somebody, whether that be playing on teams,” Spencer says. “My idea is if he’s going to play two sports, he’s going to give everything he can to those two sports.”

The numbers back that up.

This season, he averaged 4.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game this season for the Centurions and he played in all 27 games.

But for Colby, the real fun starts in the spring.

“He’s more comfortable for volleyball because I think he just understands the game more and he’s just more comfortable playing it,” says Coleman, who plays with Wilson on both varsity teams.

So far, Wilson has amassed 84 kills, 19 aces and 15 blocks in volleyball, including a 35 kills and seven blocks in just three league contests.

Figures like that demonstrate a versatility rarely seen in the sport, especially from the middle blocker position.

In many occasions, middles only play front-row rotations and are subbed out for a defensive specialist to play in the back row.

That’s not the case for Wilson, who has the height and jumping ability to play at the net and the athleticism and speed to play defense.

“Middles usually don’t play all the way around. How can you call a guy a leader when he’s on the bench for half the game?” Nua says. “We play Colby all the way around because he is a very well rounded player.”

For a competitor like Wilson, he prefers it that way.

“When you’re on the sideline, you feel like you’re kind of helpless when your team isn’t doing very well,” Wilson says. “But when you’re on the floor, you can control what’s going on.”

So far, what’s going on is pretty positive for Saugus volleyball.

With players like Wilson around, it’s bound to continue.



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