July 30, 2015

Ulmer nabs a ’ship

Kevin McCarthy

Aren Ulmer is known for his persistent play on the basketball court but could also write a book on how to be patient without becoming anxious. However, he would much rather be spending his time playing basketball and now will do so this coming season at University of West Georgia (UWG).

photo of Aren Ulmer

The 6-foot-1 Ulmer, captain of his St. Mary's College High (Albany) squad which finished this season 20-12 overall, is a late signee out of the Bay Area. “I visited West Georgia (about 45 miles west of Atlanta) in June. The coaches and players were very welcoming—it felt like a family. I had the chance to play with some of the team and demonstrated my skills set.”

Included in the latter are “bringing a presence all the time, my energy, being a great on-the-ball defender and creating plays. My style is being a verbal leader.” He officially completed his national letter-of-intent on July 13.

So what was the genesis for his focus on defense?

“I started playing at a very young age,” Ulmer recalled. “My first AAU team coach, Johnny Parker of the North Coast Express Hoopsters, emphasized fundamentals and defense became first nature for me. I started the beginning of my freshman year on varsity and defense helped me get there.”

“Aren is one of the best defensive guards I have ever had the privilege of coaching,” St. Mary's Coach Craig Battle offered. “His hard work and drive to be better is why he is one of the top point guards in northern California. His leadership is indicative of the successful season we had this season and off the court he is an even better person.”

Ulmer averaged a very well-rounded 12.4 points, 6.3 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 steal per game for Battle in 2014-15.

UWG is coming off a 22-9 season in which the Wolves made it to the NCAA South Region Semifinals. But a large percentage of the backcourt scoring and passing has now graduated so the opportunity for newcomers to earn early playing time is certainly available.

As for influences, Ulmer cited “my Mom is definitely my biggest influence. She only missed one or two games of my high school career because they were out-of-state games and she helped me become a leader. She implanted that in me.”

Ulmer offered a number of games as top moments standing out in his mind. “One was our last game of the season this year against Capital Christian in the NorCal Finals.” Capital Christian won that encounter 60-47 despite Ulmer totaling 12 points. Also, “the rivalry game win against Salesian, the Rock Game” a 60-54 victory at Contra Costa College. St. Mary's hadn't won that game in over four years. Plus, there was senior night against El Cerrito—“we lost by nine (70-61) but played the best basketball we played all year.”

UWG seems to be a good fit for Ulmer, “My grandparents and other family live in Georgia and, although I signed extremely late, West Georgia is definitely where God wants me to be.”

Ulmer is looking “to major in mass communications and minor in sports management and, after playing overseas, I want to be the CEO of my own public relations firm that builds brands for athletes.”

Looks like Elbert Hubbard was right with “How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success.”