Before last year’s renovations at the Guy V. Lewis Development Facility, UH Basketball players saw a display every time they left the second-floor locker room. They saw it before going downstairs to the weight room or the practice gym. They saw it every time they walked out of the film room.
“A stonecutter hammers away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow, it will split in two. It was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”
The message is that you keep going, confident in the knowledge that all of your work will pay off one day. You never know when the rock will split, but when it does, it’s not from a single massive strike but from years of diligence.
That is the Mylik Wilson story.
the daily #191 | 2/11/2024 | Archives
Mylik Wilson went to Louisiana-Lafayette out of Rayville High School and put up big numbers there. He scored 30 at App State, hit five three-pointers and grabbed 16 rebounds at UT-Arlington, and made seven FTs at ULM and at Arkansas State. He saved his best performances for road games.
After transferring to Texas Tech, he was ninth on the team in minutes but third in steals. He had four in a win over Texas, three against KState, and two in a Big 12 Tournament game against Iowa State. But he thought he could do more – he could affect winning more. So he transferred again, knowing he’d have to sit out a year.
He chose Houston and began hammering on his rock. In his GoCoogs Interview on Thursday, he admitted he didn’t know how to deal with the coaching tactics from Kelvin Sampson and his staff. Kellen Sampson told me earlier that day that the staff didn’t understand how to coach him when he arrived. But they settled on a focus: Mylik is our most athletic guard, and we need to build his confidence in what he does well.
Mylik will never be a team’s best shooter, but he can be a culture warrior. In 20 months on the white team (reserves that practice against the starters), Wilson has proven that he’s willing to do what it takes to win. Coaches say he’s a great teammate, while other players make it clear they love him and his work ethic.
Over the last 5-6 weeks, Mylik’s game has been coming. He’s gained confidence, and he’s practicing well, helping Kelvin Sampson, in turn, gain more confidence in him. Sampson knows he will put a hand in the passing lane or see opportunities on film to pickpocket a ball handler. And he wants to rebound.
Mylik Wilson hammered his rock for the 100th time Tuesday against Oklahoma State, scoring 12 while pulling down four rebounds and two steals. But the rock finally split in the second half at Cincinnati, where Wilson had seven boards and three steals.
Mylik’s three second-half steals were one fewer than every other player in the game had combined. In the CATS! postgame show, former Houston PG Galen Robinson said Mylik had 8 culture plays in the second half.
Kelvin Sampson teams need that guy. You know him: he can come off the bench or be a starter. He does the dirty work, makes the culture plays, and becomes a Sampson-era hero.
Justin Gorham was that guy. Reggie Chaney was that guy. In the Fall, it appeared that Terrance Arceneaux would be that guy before his season ended due to injury. But since the calendar turned over and Big 12 play started, Mylik Wilson has been building towards being that guy.
There’s another parable about stonecutters that seems appropriate for Mylik. A man approaches a work site and is curious about what is being done. He asks the first worker, “What are you doing?” The man replies, “I’m a stone cutter. Ask anyone. I’m the best stone cutter around.”
Not happy with that answer, he asked a second worker, who thought for a moment, then said, “I’m a stone cutter. I am supporting my family.”
Curious about the different responses, he asked a third man the same question. The man stopped, stared at the stone in his hand, turned his head slowly, and smiled, “I’m a stone cutter. And I’m building a cathedral.”
Some players are happy being the top dog in their situation. Some players do it because of financial or other practical reasons. And then some players want to be part of building something bigger than themselves.
Mylik Wilson could have been the best stone cutter at Louisiana. But it wasn’t enough. He could have been well compensated through NIL at Texas Tech. But it wasn’t enough. At Houston, he’s toiled on the white team. Helping Marcus Sasser, Jamal Shead, and L.J. Cryer improve their games. But it has also improved his game, too: his confidence, his anticipation, and his ability to see the floor.
He’s helping build a cathedral, and his craftwork is beginning to show.