August 12, 2011

Bill Wilkinson – the Greatest Warrior

Bill Wilkinson – the Greatest Warrior
Submitted by
Marilyn Hudson

Bill Wilkinson, an Elbowoods Warrior, passed away on July 23, 2011. Elbowoods had more than its fair share of good basketball players – the kind most coaches would give their eye-teeth to have on their team. When local folks get together to reminisce about the basketball teams of Elbowoods, two names always come to the top of the list as the best of the best – Bill Wilkinson and Larry Rush.
One day in the early 1970’s, Larry Rush and I visited about those great days of the Elbowoods Warriors. Larry knew he was a good ball player, and he loved to talk basketball. He could stand on a certain spot on the gym floor and make a basket every single time. However, on that day, Larry said there was one player that he “would tip his hat to anytime” and that player was Bill Wilkinson.
Bill was born in 1926 in Nishu, an Arikara community in the eastern part of the Reservation. He came to Elbowoods to attend high school. He stood 6’2” and, like most of our people at that time, was quite lean, and seemed to stay that way for the rest of his life.Bill was quiet, hard-working and humble. In 1945, as the captain of the winning team at the McLean County tournament, he made this speech:“’Well, we really didn’t expect this, but I guess we were just a little luckier than the rest.”

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