Not every student-athlete wants a career in sports. Many view sports as an outlet from their daily lives - a way to connect with friends; others view sports as an opportunity to get a discounted education. But there are those who want a little more from the games; there are those who want to turn sport into profession.
St. Mary’s Ryken senior guard Wynston Tabbs wants to do just that. He views basketball as more than just sport: “I want to do this for a living,” says Tabbs. When he announced that he would be committing to Boston College to pursue his academic and basketball career, he made clear that the Eagles had the essentials to turn his ambitions into a reality.
“[There] are two really good guards that I can learn from [without being] buried on the bench,” Tabbs said. The two guards Tabbs mentioned are the Eagles’ top returning scorers from last season - sophomore Ky Bowman (14.7 ppg.) and senior Jerome Robinson (18.7 ppg.). Bowman, who was named to the all-freshman team, is a gritty point guard who can fill up the stat sheet. Robinson is an efficient scorer who led all ACC freshman in shooting percentages. Wynston believes he can learn from Robinson’s decision-making on ball screens and Bowman’s ability to adjust to the pace of the game.
Though Tabbs was the one who made the final decision on his commitment, he received much counseling from his mother Rose, and his coach and mentor Stanley Hodges Jr. (Stan), who Tabbs identified as his “Big Homie.” “My mom is really on the academics side [of schools],” Wynston explained, “and Stan is more of the basketball side.”
After filtering through the many different schools that had offered him a chance to pursue his dreams and assessing their respective basketball programs (Penn State, La Salle, and UNLV among others), Tabbs saw Boston College’s excellent academic reputation and membership in the always competitive ACC as a perfect fit.
Despite his early commitment, Tabbs refuses to rest on his laurels. He credits his incessant pursuit of greatness to his late father, Chris Tabbs.
Chris was more than a father to Wynston and his two older brothers—Chris, Jr. and Victor— he was coach, friends, and a humble servant to their community and church. Yet that all changed on October 21, 2016 when Chris, a PE teacher, suffered a fatal heart attack while playing basketball with his students. Expectedly, the sudden tragedy caused the Tabbs family much grief and despair, but the passing also served as a form of motivation for Tabbs.
“He [was] a Christ-like guy,” Tabbs said. “He [brought] some people that were going down the wrong path back onto the right path by talking to them, playing basketball, and by just working them out.” When his father passed, Wynston began to believe the best way he could live out his father’s legacy was by fulfilling his dreams of becoming the best basketball player he could.
Tabbs has continued to focus on keeping his word. His junior year of high school he honored his father’s legacy by exceeding the 1000th point mark at St. Mary Ryken’s all while being named 1st team WCAC. He continued his basketball ascendance over the summer running in Nike’s vaunted EYBL circuit with Team Melo and garnering national attention from a bevy of colleges.
Tabbs says he isn’t done yet. He has established new goals for himself and his Ryken teammates this upcoming season, two of which are winning a WCAC championship and finishing as WCAC player of the year. With newly minted head coach Walter Booth at the helm and a collection of new faces, Tabbs will have his work cut out for him to lead new faces to the promise land, but if anyone can do it, Tabbs seems up for the task and how will he do it you might ask? "I'm just going to work." says Tabbs, succinctly.