Wilson blossoming into dominating force

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    By SHANNON JOHNSON

    Mac Wilson’s friends think of him as approachable, a lot of fun and just an all-around good guy.

    “Mac has achieved a great deal and you’d never know it,” said Anthony Pabst, 22, a junior from Woodenville, Wash., majoring in humanities.

    Mac Wilson, 23, a sophomore from Palmdale, Calif., is majoring in psychology. A BYU middle blocker, and the team’s only sophomore starter, Wilson began his volleyball career at an early age.

    “My brother got me into it more than anything,” Wilson said.

    His brother, who is a year older, would take Mac out to the backyard and teach him what he had learned from his own team practices.

    Wilson chose to play at BYU partly because his parents had come to school here, and because he wanted to get away from the fast-paced life of California.

    Wilson red-shirted his first year at BYU, and now has two more years of eligibility. He served an LDS mission to Buenos Aires, Argentina after his freshman year.

    The last two years have been a series of improvements for Wilson.

    “He really wasn’t developed to be a starter at the beginning of the season,” said BYU assistant coach Hugh McCutcheon. “We always knew he would be good, but we didn’t know when he would blossom.”

    Wilson’s first opportunity to start came in the UCLA game in February.

    “I kinda thought it was a fluke, but then I kept on playing well,” Wilson said.

    The change in Wilson’s play was so dramatic it was surprising, said head coach Carl McGown. This year’s national championship was the culmination of this determination.

    “He was very steady during the tournament,” McCutcheon said. “Mac blocked well and his service game was fantastic.”

    Wilson said the whole feeling of the team this year was different than he’d ever experienced. Although the team roster has not changed drastically, the team spirit has.

    “When we weren’t playing well, we didn’t fall apart as a team. We’ve always pulled together,” Wilson said. “I think losing to Long Beach last year in the playoffs humbled us. It gave us more drive and determination.”

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