Kansas Men’s Basketball Adds Two Walk-Ons


Courtesy of Kansas Athletics

Kansas men’s basketball has added two walk-on student-athletes with guard Charlie McCarthy and forward Dillon Wilhite joining the squad for the 2021-22 season, KU head coach Bill Self announced Monday. These two California freshmen have deep connections to the University and Kansas Basketball.

Kansas Jayhawk Basketball can be heard on Z-96.3 The Lake in North Central Kansas and Today’s Country 95.5 KNDY in Northeast Kansas & Southeast Nebraska

“We’re happy to get both Charlie and Dillon,” Self said. “Each had successful high school careers in California but they are probably more familiar with Lawrence, Kansas, than anyone from out of state that we have recruited. Dillon’s father, Brad, grew up here and his grandmother, Joanie Stephens, happens to be my administrative assistant and has worked in the athletic department for 37 years. Both Charlie’s parents, Kent and Missy, graduated from KU and have been generous contributors to the Williams Education Fund for years. Charlie and Dillon will both be able to put their handprint on what we are trying to do in the men’s basketball program and they’ll both have a role in accomplishing that.”

A San Diego, California, native, Wilhite (6-foot-9, 240 pounds) comes to KU from Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego. In 2020-21, Wilhite averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds per game for the Dons who were 15-2. As a senior, Wilhite was a 2021 all-league first-team selection for the Western League in the San Diego City Conference. Cathedral Catholic is coached by William Cunningham.

Wilhite comes from a family of athletes. His father, Brad, who grew up in Lawrence, played golf at TCU and his sisters, Peyton and Brennan, currently play volleyball at Georgetown. Wilhite’s grandmother, Stephens, has worked at Kansas Athletics for 37 years. Wilhite attended the Kansas Bill Self Basketball Camps numerous times as a youth.

McCarthy (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) played his senior prep season at Shadow Hills High School in Indio, California, for coach Ryan Towner. A Rancho Mirage, California, native, McCarthy averaged 12.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game in 2020-21 at Shadow Hills. McCarthy started every contest and the Knights posted a 9-4 record in the pandemic-shortened season in 2020-21. McCarthy averaged 11.5 points per game his junior year at Palm Desert High School in Palm Desert, California. Like Wilhite, McCarthy has attended numerous Kansas Bill Self Basketball Camps.

“I’m excited for both of them. They know it’s going to be a lot of work,” Self said. “More importantly, what they are most excited about is being at the University of Kansas and continuing their family tradition.”

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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