Adam Wing wore an orange jersey — typically indicative of a starter — to Tuesday’s practice. He’s been doing that for about a month and a half now but got a first opportunity to enter the lineup for last Saturday’s 71-68 loss to Creighton.
With senior Lewis Jones out due to illness, Wing scored 10 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. No jitters visible, the guard/forward hit an early 3-pointer and assisted another basket en route to an early 14-3 Aces lead.
“It’s nice to see Adam go out and step up,” said senior Troy Taylor. “I know he was kind of nervous. We didn’t know who was going to start for sure because Lewis (Jones) has been sick lately. We didn’t know if it was going to be him or D.J. (Balentine). We thought it was going to be D.J., and (Wing) was excited for D.J.
“I just told him to go out there and play basketball. To see him go out there and make his first couple shots, that got his confidence rolling.
“He’s the kind of player you don’t have to tell to work hard because he already is. Sometimes he can get a little too physical, but other than that he’s the type of player everybody likes to be around. He’s a natural leader.”
Wing’s strategy in practice this week: don’t change a thing.
“Just come in here with the same attitude every day, work hard, be enthusiastic, encourage guys and just stay enthusiastic and upbeat,” Wing said.
The former high school quarterback — and Football Bowl Subdivision prospect — has brought a notoriously blue-collared attitude to his first season at UE.
That can be a negative, too. Wing racked up his four fouls quickly having to guard Creighton’s all-American junior, Doug McDermott. There was an illegal screen call in the second half Sunday, and he picked up the fourth not long after trying to box out for a rebound.
“Me being inexperienced kind of came into effect,” Wing said. “Hopefully with time, experience will come and I’ll be like, ‘Don’t be so aggressive here. The referees are watching you.’”
Coach Marty Simmons didn’t guarantee Wing a starting spot but did acknowledge his presence in the Aces’ early-game runs against the Bluejays.
Jones will be available, too, after missing his first game of the season.
“He came back and practiced yesterday and did a nice job,” Simmons said.
Jones wore purple along with reserves at Tuesday’s practice.