High School Sports

Pace guard Destiny Wilson excels as athlete and student despite being deaf

Pace guard Destiny Wilson is averaging 17 points and has a 3.6 grade-point-average.
Pace guard Destiny Wilson is averaging 17 points and has a 3.6 grade-point-average. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Monsignor Pace’s Destiny Wilson is never out of sync with her teammates.

Whether it’s shooting three-pointers or driving to the basket, Wilson has a knack for being in the right spot at the right time to make plays for the Spartans girls’ basketball team, which entered Tuesday night’s regional semifinals with an 18-3 record.

But her talents aren’t limited to the basketball court.

Wilson, a 5-7 junior guard, is averaging 17 points, has a 3.6 grade-point-average, is a two-time All-Dade first team flag football player and was a sprinter for Pace’s track team.

And she has accomplished all of this despite being deaf.

“I was deaf and my family didn’t notice until I was 1 year old,” Wilson said. “I wear the hearing aid when I play during games. If I don’t hear my teammates I will let them know. I’ve sometimes broken the hearing aid and I still play through it.”

But Wilson, who reads lips well, can hear enough to carry conversations, and her teammates have never let it impair their ability to succeed together.

“Destiny is very encouraging to all of us,” Pace senior forward Kevona Gay said. “Even if she may get frustrated on the court, she’s always positive and has been great for all of us. Even that time her hearing aid broke, we just made sure to get her attention, talk louder, whatever it took to make sure we knew what plays we needed to run.”

Wilson’s condition, however, hasn’t deterred her from becoming one of Miami-Dade County’s top shooting guards and leading Pace to its second regional semifinal appearance in three seasons.

Wilson doesn’t have formal scholarship offers yet, but is starting to draw interest from some schools after a breakout season.

“The biggest thing with her and other players on this team was getting them to play with confidence,” said first-year Pace coach Adam Hopkins, who won state championships at Miramar Parkway Academy before coming to Pace. “She had the talent to be very good, but she had to believe in herself.”

Gay and Jaylin Moye have worked well with Wilson and sophomore point guard Vernisha Jenkins this season to make the Spartans one of the top teams in Miami-Dade County.

In flag football, Wilson plays wide receiver and as a freshman was a vital part of the Spartans’ run to the state final four.

Wilson also ran the 200 meters for Pace’s track team until her sophomore year.

One of seven siblings, Wilson is the fourth-eldest among her brothers and sisters and was raised mainly by her grandparents.

“My brothers and sisters have always encouraged me to stay on the right track,” Wilson said.

Wilson said she grew up idolizing Heat star Dwyane Wade and WNBA stars Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker.

If her basketball dreams don’t take her as far as her idols, Wilson wants to study to become a firefighter.

“I always want to help people,” Wilson said. “My friends are always saying I have a very caring personality and want to make sure people get the help they need.”

Wilson, whose dream is to one day play for the University of Miami, has a 3.6 grade-point-average in school and is one of the brightest student-athletes at her school.

“I’ve never coached an athlete as talented as her that’s overcome what she has,” Hopkins said. “She can bring it in whatever sport she plays and she can get it done.”