by Eric Oslund
Chandler Wellman moved to Zimmerman when he was in fifth grade, and began playing basketball with his friends he made almost instantly.
His mom played basketball growing up and instilled a love of the sport in her son at a very young age. He first started playing in kindergarten, and then joined a travel league in third grade.
Wellman eventually made his way to the school teams, and was named a member of the Zimmerman Thunder varsity basketball team as a tenth grader. His first two season on varsity had a lot of highs and lows, which ultimately led to a coaching being made. Now, he is expected to be one of the players to help guide his teammates through this transition to where they want to get, a conference championship.
“He’s definitely one of the guys that needs to step up, and he’s done so so far,” head coach Nathan Christensen said of his senior forward.
At 6-4, 190 pounds, Wellman possess a good combination of size and speed and he definitely likes to use both to take advantage of mistakes his opponents makes. He is aggressive to the rim and knows he can put up a lot of points on any given night.
“I’d say I play really fast paced,” he said. “I get a lot of fouls because I’m aggressive on defense and then offensively, it’s kind of like I can break out 20 points if you don’t play me right.”
On defense, Wellman is always one of the most aggressive players on the floor. It’s the reason he comes up with so many rebounds – both offensively and defensively – for his teammates, but it also has it’s drawbacks. From time to time, Wellman will get hit with a lot of penalties, just because of his aggressive nature in the paint.
But that’s not going to cause him to change the way he plays the game. He knows that, as a senior, he is one of the leaders on this team, so he wants to show the younger players how to go about playing in a game. Working hard and always trying your hardest whenever you step onto the court.
The Thunder finished the 2015-16 season with an 11-13 record and got knocked out of the section playoff after just one game. The season just left a sour taste in the mouth of Wellman and his teammates, which is why they are striving to do better this year.
“We got to increase our defense, like I think our goal is 20 turnovers a game,” he said when asked what they do to win a conference championship. “On offense, we want to cut our turnovers down to 12 a game.”
The team lost their first two games of the season, both of which were games they could have easily won, but the seniors were able to get everyone together and really turn things around. They had won three straight as of Dec. 13, and are looking to ride that momentum as long as they can.
Even though his primary focus is on the team and winning that conference championship, Wellman has also set a personal goal for himself. He wants to be crowned the Conference MVP at the end of the season, it will not be easy to do as the conference is filled with talented players, but he is certainly up for the challenge.