When he showed up to some of his first practices with the Rockdale Bulldogs, C.J. Wilson was immediately pulled aside by future Division I players Kevin Ware and Bernard Thompson.
The two, now former, Bulldogs told him, "You're with us now. This is what we're going to need for you to do."
Three years later Wilson not only has done what they needed him to do and more, but he's also delivering that same message to the newer players on the 2011-12 Rockdale team.
Wilson has been a starter since his freshman year on Coach Alvin Williams team, and is now in his junior season, where he is the experienced veteran.
"We already knew he was going to be our captain this year," Rockdale assistant coach Ralph Denmark said. "The guys respect him in that role. Even the seniors look up to C.J."
He has provided that leadership with a style similar to that handed down to him by Ware, now with Louisville, and Thompson, now with Florida Gulf Coast.
"They kind of mentally prepared me how to win since my freshman year," Wilson said. "On going in mentally prepared, physically prepared and emotionally to try and prepare for a big game. I've taken on that role this year."
In each of his three years, Wilson's role has changed. As a freshman he was asked to provide energy and 3-point shots. In his sophomore year, it was to work as a point guard. And now as a junior he is one of the go-to-guys for Rockdale, as well as a leader.
"He's doing a lot more this year of attacking the basket and finishing at the basket instead of being a 3-point specialist," Denmarks said.
Wilson scored 29 points against Collins Hill, 16 against Spalding County and 24 against Southwest DeKalb.
"I'm adjusting to my role, and helping my teammates elevate their play," Wilson said.
His coaches have been please so far, and are ready to see him improve even more.
"He still has some steps to take his game, but he has definetly come up 10 notches form when he was a freshman," Denmark said.