South Charlotte

Athlete of the week: Myers Park senior guard expands his game

Patrick Wallace always thinks his next shot is going in.

"I think you have to have a certain confidence to be a great shooter," said the Myers Park senior guard.

For most of his life, Wallace has been known as a prolific shooter because of his quick release and ability to make an impact on any game from behind the 3-point line.

While Wallace, 17, says he still hasn't met a shot he doesn't like, he has been busy for the last two years trying to prove that he can do much more than shoot.

"For most of my basketball career ... all that I looked to really do was shoot," Wallace said. "I've worked really hard in the offseason and this year to improve my ability to play both guard spots and improve my overall game."

He worked on his game and physique with coach Brandon Payne at Accelerate Basketball in Fort Mill, S.C., to turn his 5-foot-10, 155-pound frame as a junior into a 6-foot-1, 175-pound player this year.

"I'm in the gym as much as possible," said Wallace. "I've not only gotten stronger but more confident in nearly all parts of my game."

Wallace, who averaged nine points per game as a junior at Myers Park, is now leading the Mustangs this year with 16 points per contest while also grabbing four rebounds, dishing out two assists and nabbing one steal per game.

Wallace is shooting 47 percent from the field, 43 percent from the three-point stripe and 90 percent from the free throw line.

Wallace has already had some big games for Myers Park, including a 31-point performance against Garinger in the East Lincoln Winter Jam holiday tournament, where he went 11-for-15 for the game, including 7-for-9 from the 3-point range.

Wallace hopes his play will also help Myers Park climb the Southwestern 4A conference standings, as the Mustangs (9-6, 4-2 going into the Rocky River game) are currently in third place behind South Mecklenburg and Butler, whom they host Friday.

Wallace's improvement has also had to do with his increased freedom in Myers Parks' new boys basketball coach Wes Hepler's up-tempo style.

Hepler also likes what he has seen in Wallace's game.

"Patrick has always had outstanding work ethic and no one is ever going to outwork him," Hepler said. "But he has not only expanded his game from being basically a shooter but also become a real playmaker and leader for this team."

Wallace said he currently has offers from Lenoir-Rhyne and a few other Division III schools but is hoping to capitalize on Division I interest from places like Navy and Brown.

"My ideal situation would be to go to school and play basketball at a top Ivy or Patriot League school," said Wallace, who hopes to go to law school one day. "I feel like I have a great chance at getting to and making an impact for a mid-major type school."