April 5, 2013

Smarts, skill and Buell

Kevin McCarthy

Currently standing as the 26th rated prospect in the NorCal Preps 2013 class, 6-foot-7 frontcourter Will Buell is a luminous example of a student-athlete. Noting the prioritization of that term, he will be making his collegiate decision based on a wise-beyond-his-years determination of where he can obtain the best education.

photo of Will Buell

Named the 2013 Pioneer Valley League (PVL) Most Valuable Player for his well rounded court contributions, Buell is aces in whatever he does. Try a 4.4 grade point average while taking every AP class available at Colfax High. Add to that a 33 ACT score.

Mike O'Connell, his Colfax coach, concurs that Buell “is a great student” and also gives back to the community. He elaborated with: “Will is versatile and can play all five positions due to his shooting, ballhandling and size and he is unselfish to a fault.” The senior averaged 20 points per game for the Falcons and that included accuracy from behind the three-point line.

Asked what his best skills are on the court, Buell confirmed O'Connell's assessment -- “it depends on what the team needs at the moment” as he noted scoring, posting up and getting the ball to the right guy.

Also a member of Play Hard Play Smart (PHPS), Buell received the highest accolades from someone who has worked at both the collegiate and prep hoops levels.

“Will is the biggest sleeper in northern California right now,” said Jason Jennings, head of PHPS. “He's under the radar but could be scoring 30 a game if he wasn't so unselfish. Will is smart, skilled and shoots the lights out.”

Jennings added, “Does he need to get stronger? Absolutely. But he is uniquely special and as good of a kid as I've ever coached.”

Buell concurred: “I'm working on improving my strength and aggression so I can get more physical.”

He is looking to major in the mathematics and economics areas come September.

His recruiting story is fascinating as he is currently waitlisted at Dartmouth but has been accepted at both California and UCLA. Buell said, “playing at Dartmouth is a possibility but probably not at Cal and UCLA.“ Pomona Pitzer is another school in the mix.

Buell's plan is to gain further exposure by participating in some of the bigger tournaments with PHPS in Las Vegas and Los Angeles this spring and summer.

Asked what was his best basketball moment to date, he offered, “we won the PVL in a game that went back and forth with Lincoln High. I hit a rebound putback and then a jumper that sealed the game. I was really proud.” Colfax won 51-46 in that February 12 matchup.

Buell is another prime example of steady but consistent improvement category -- “as a freshman I was hesitant to shoot, unconfident and afraid of contact. I had to figure out who I was as a player and now I'm well-rounded.”

To a query regarding where he saw himself in a decade, Buell explained, “Once I get my undergraduate degree, maybe I'll go to work in San Francisco, New York or Los Angeles in the financial area. But I also want to go back to school and get an MBA.”

Talk about someone who is already far along a path to success.