Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson resorted to Twitter to express his excitement when his younger sister Anna Wilson was named to the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team.
“I’m pouring in tears about how blessed my sister @annaTION5 is to make #TeamUSA @usabasketball,” he wrote last May.
Wilson, a junior at Collegiate School (Richmond, Va.), was elated, but she said her brother seemed even more enthused. She said that’s typical of Russell, who is eight and half years older.
Wilson described their dynamic as close-knit and encouraging. As much as she celebrates his successes, she also leans on them as motivation.
Like last February, when she attended the Super Bowl and watched as Russell led the Seattle Seahawks to its first Super Bowl title in franchise history. She returned home fired up and ready to take her basketball game up a notch.
“We’re super competitive,” Wilson said, laughing.
As the youngest and only girl in the family — her brother Harry is 14 years older —Wilson relies on both siblings for guidance. Harry, she said, is like a father figure, while Russell is like her best friend and role model. She said after their father passed away, their relationships with each other became even closer.
Wilson, a 5-foot-7 point guard, averaged 13.1 points, 4.9 assists, 4.4 steals and 3.7 rebounds last season, and she looks to greatly improve the mark this year by helping the team make it to the state championship, like Russell did at Collegiate for the football team in 2006.
“Anna is a very talented player who makes us better just by being on the court. She is also the type of player who makes the other players around her better,” said Rives Fleming, Collegiate girls basketball coach.
Wilson said her experience playing for USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team, which claimed the gold medal after defeating Spain 77-75, sharpened her skills all around, and she feels more prepared than ever when she steps onto the hardwood.
“She has patiently worked over the years to establish her own legacy, both here at Collegiate and beyond,” Fleming said. “When we play somewhere, people used to ask me, ‘Which one is Russell’s sister’? Now they ask, ‘Which one is Anna Wilson?’”
Wilson, a Stanford commit, talked with USA TODAY High School Sports about her basketball pursuits and how her older brother’s football accomplishments continue to motivate her on the court.
Question: What do you credit for your supportive family dynamic?
Answer: We know we’re each extremely blessed in our own way. We nurture and help each other any way we can. My oldest brother is like the father figure in our family; Russell is like the best friend, but also my role model. I’m the little sister who keeps everybody humble. We all know our roles, but we also know we’re in it together. We’re like a team.
Q: How often do you communicate with your siblings?
A: We have a family group chat. I talk to my brothers often about everything. They’re always there for me. Since they’re older, they have some wisdom so whenever I have a question, I text them. We texted a lot about my decision to go to Stanford.
Q: What advice did Russell provide as you contemplated your college decision?
A: Both brothers gave great advice, and without them it probably would have been harder. The great thing about having older brothers who played sports is that they have experience. Russell explained that a Stanford degree cannot be compared to anywhere else. I can get the best of both worlds.
Q: How did Russell react when you were named to the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team?
A: I’m pretty sure he was more excited than I was. I didn’t make the team the year before. I wasn’t upset about it, but I’m competitive, and I was determined to make the team the following year. I called my brothers when I found out I was named to the roster. Russell missed my call. I kept calling and calling. He was so excited when he found out. He actually got to come to the U.S. Trials for a day. It was pretty awesome.
Q: How are you and Russell most alike and most different?
A: We speak very much the same, and we’re quick on our feet with answers. Our mannerisms are similar. A lot of times, if I’m in a different state for a basketball tournament, people ask if I’m Russell Wilson’s sister. They notice me because of the way we look and the way we talk. It’s a nice compliment. How we’re most different, really our age. He is obviously more experienced and wiser than I am.
Q: You watched your brother lead the Seattle Seahawks to their first Super Bowl title last February.
How did that moment impact you?
A: Being there was emotional. Seeing Russell perform at a high level in that moment motivated me. It made me want to be more competitive. He obviously has a high standard, which is good for me. Later that year, I won a world championship with USA Basketball Women’s Under-17 Team.
Q: How has your brother’s drive motivated you in your own pursuits?
A: I describe him as extremely poised, humble and funny. He’s a calm before the storm kind of guy. He’s one of the best of the best. He makes me feel like I can do anything.
Q: How have you handled your brother’s success?
A: It’s not easy. People ask me all the time, ‘what is it like living in the shadows of your brother?’ I don’t live in the shadows of my brother. I’m not jealous of his success. I support my brother 100 percent. The more successful he is, the more successful I will be. I’m excited for him. I can’t wait to see what else he does in the future.
Q: Knowing that your brother led Collegiate to a state championship in football in 2006, how does his accomplishment push you athletically and mentally?
A: My brother won three state championships and lost, I believe, maybe three games during the course of his high school career. I don’t actually think I really watched any of those games. I was too busy claiming my territory on the other field playing against the boys.