Xavier guard Wilcher featured in documentary

Benedict Men gives an inside look at St. Benedict’s Prep’s basketball team

written by: joe clark, sports editor
Photo courtesy of Whistle Studios/Quibi
C.J. Wilcher sits with Madani Diarri in the documentary Benedict Men before a tournament game. Wilcher, a captain on the St. Benedict’s team his junior year, is now a freshman guard for Xavier’s basketball team.

On Sept. 20, Benedict Men, a Quibi original series, premiered on the app. 

The 12-part documentary series, which is directed by Jonathan Hock and executively produced by Stephen Curry, chronicles life at St. Benedict’s Preparatory school in Newark, N.J and follows its nationally-ranked basketball team. 

One of the main players featured in the show is C.J. Wilcher, now a freshman guard at Xavier. Wilcher was a junior on the St. Benedict’s team during the 2018-19 season, which is when the docuseries was filmed.

Wilcher admitted at first it was strange having a camera crew follow him around, but eventually he got used to it. 

“At first it was kind of weird, because I kind of felt like I couldn’t be myself. But as the year (continued) it got a little easier because of the documentary and who I am, and I got a little more comfortable in front of the camera,” he said.

One of the founding principles of St. Benedict’s, which is heavily touched upon in the documentary, is, “What hurts my brother, hurts me.” Wilcher emphasized the nature of brotherhood at St. Benedict’s.

 “They kind (of) taught me the basis of what a brotherhood is. I have brothers, but I’ve always seen my brothers as my brothers,” he said. “It’s kind of like how they can help me stem out into not being afraid to accept other people for who they are, whether that’s their flaws or the things they do good.” 

Wilcher also touched on how St. Benedict’s helped him as an athlete. 

“What Benedict’s taught me as an athlete was how to go through a process of tough times, how to handle tough times, and then also how to handle times of success. You don’t wanna get too high or too low,” he commented. 

Most of the players on St. Benedict’s featured in the show went on to earn a Division I scholarship, and the school itself is a hotbed for Division I talent year in and year out. 

They also play against high level talent, which was seen in episode five when they played Hillcrest Prep in a tournament game. In the game, St. Benedict’s faced off against Kyree Walker, who at the time, was one of the top recruits in the country. 

“It was cool. It’s always been a goal of mine to be able to play at that level and compete at that level,” Wilcher said about playing against high-level talent while in high school.

While he was only a junior, Wilcher was one of two captains for St. Benedict’s, the other being a senior. 

He admitted at times there was pressure being a captain as a junior. 

“I didn’t want to underachieve as a captain, and I felt like the captains before didn’t really care, it was kind of like they were just the captains because they were the best player on the team,” he said. 

“I didn’t want that to be the case, and I didn’t want anybody on the team to feel like they weren’t getting a fair chance or a fair shake at things,” Wilcher continued.

There were numerous examples in the documentary of Wilcher sticking up for guys on the team who the team felt weren’t getting a fair chance by the coaching staff by either not playing at all or being pulled quickly after getting subbed in. 

Wilcher’s parents were also featured in the documentary.“

(My dad) has had a tremendous influence. Being able to wake up in the morning, get a good workout in, comes from his process he had with my older brother. And I just followed suit, and it’s kind of been the culture of my family and my house my whole life,” he said.  

“My parents have had a major impact, not just my dad but as well as my mom,” Wilcher continued. “That’s just who we are as a family.”

While Wilcher transferred away from St. Benedict’s after his junior year to play at Roselle Catholic with his younger brother Simeon, he said he still keeps in touch with his former teammates through a group chat and Instagram. 

The final episode of Benedict Men was released today, and all episodes can be streamed on Quibi.