February 11, 2013

The unveiling of Cole Welle

Kevin McCarthy

When you own a 4.0+ grade point average, your parents stand 6-feet-9 and 6-feet respectively and you check in right now at a just-below 6-foot-7 as a high school junior plus you are the best talent in your league, anonymity is usually not an issue. But reside off the beaten basketball path and recognition can be a challenge. So here is Cole Welle of Aptos (Santa Cruz County) High.

photo of Cole Welle

Does the above sound enticing? Add these current numbers to Welle's résumé: 18 points, 14.5 rebounds, 3.2 blocked shots and two assists a game in 2012-13.

Here's Aptos High Coach Joseph Smith on his junior: “Cole started for us as a sophomore and played an integral role in helping us win the [Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League] championship.”

Aptos beat Santa Cruz High 79-76 in double overtime. It was a team heavy on upperclassmen and he was an honorable mention selection at season's end. In fact, that victory is what Welle considers his best basketball moment, which is indicative of his mind set.

Smith continued: “Cole really developed over the summer. He's a good rebounder, passer and shotblocker and is versatile, able to play inside or out. He's a good teammate who encourages others and someone who comes from a great family.”

This season, the Mariners are 17-5 overall, 8-2 in league.

Also, Welle was named the most valuable player in the Steinbach Classic held at North Salinas High in late December.

So why did this young man head towards the direction of basketball?

“It's definitely in my family's history,” he said. “My Dad played at Alaska Fairbanks and was an All-American as a senior. Plus, look at my height.”

In fact, he and his father still match up on the court -- “we have a healthy rivalry.”

What Welle assesses as his best strengths are “my post work and my three-point shooting” and he's envisioning playing small forward at the next level.

His response to being asked how he has developed since his freshman go-around was not one usually offered. “I've learned what I can and can't do with my body” -- an aspect not all that many reflect on let alone carry on to the court.

It's still some time away but he wants to major in pre-med -- “I'm strong in math and science.” His father is an orthopedic surgeon while his mother was a practicing obstetrician for over a decade before returning to school to get a law degree.

Welle isn't sure what club team he will play on this coming spring and summer but his role will be different as the squad he was on last year was a “showcase team with a lot of graduating seniors and I was more of a role player.”

He won't be a graduating senior until 2014 but it's not difficult to imagine him in the role of a centerpiece talent come April and May, although still playing within himself and the system.

Burgeoning talent, top of the chart smarts and a great attitude -- what's not to like and, if you're a recruiter, pursue?