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Pearl River’s JaRonn Wilkens named NJCAA All-American

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Pearl River men’s basketball standout JarRonn Wilkens (Biloxi) picked up another honor in as many days Wednesday when he was named an NJCAA All-American Honorable Mention.  

“I think JaRonn has made the biggest jump from freshmen to sophomore year more than any player I’ve ever coached,” head coach Chris Oney said. 

Wilkens is the fifth Wildcat to be named an All-American in the past four years, joining Darral Willis Jr. (Madison, Wis.; Madison Memorial), Brandon Rachal (Natchitoches, La.; Natchitoches-Central), Tae Hardy (Ellenwood, Ga.; Believe Prep) and Isaih Moore (Columbia, S.C.; Sumter).

Wilkens had a phenomenal year for the 12-2 Wildcats averaging 15.8 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game helping lead PRCC to the semifinals of the Region XXIII Tournament. 

“Jaronn, like I told some of my Division I buddies, he’s a matchup problem because he’s so fast and can finish with both hands. That one possession he went by that kid so fast and dunked it that it changed the game,” Oney said. “We’re lucky we have him. I’d go in any foxhole with that kid. He’s just … a warrior.”

As a freshman Wilkens averaged 5.6 points per game. 

“From year one he went from a kid that played sparingly to one of the best players in the conference and our go-to player,” Oney said. “Whenever we needed him to step up he did. I think that’s a direct correlation from his work ethic and his toughness.”

Wilkens is no stranger to recognition as he was already named to the All-MACCC Team with fellow Wildcats Earl Smith (Jackson; Lanier) and his twin brother Jariyon Wilkens (Biloxi). Wilkens was also named to the All-Region XXIII team earlier this week.  

One of the many highlights from Wilkens season was when he hit a game winning buzzer beater against arch-rival Jones to give the Wildcats a 64-61.