Wells a large catalyst to Loyalist Men's Basketball success
BELLEVILLE - Jan 30, 2017 - by Brock Ormond
The Loyalist Lancers Men’s Basketball team has been an exciting and productive group this season, with a big portion of their success being attributed to their sharp shooters.
Few have been more clutch in that department with less playing time than Aiden Wells.
The Belleville native was named “Athlete of the Week” for Loyalist for the week of Jan. 8-15 following a standout performance against the Georgian College Grizzlies. He scored a team-high (also career-high) 19 points off the bench in the victory for the Patrick Kabeya-coached Lancers. Wells says he was honoured to receive the award.
“It means a lot. It’s good to be recognized for something like that. Hopefully I’ll get more (accolades) like that,” he said.
High-level basketball wasn’t always in the cards for Wells though. Despite playing the sport all of his young life, it wasn’t until his Grade 11 year that he started to take it seriously.
““At first, I played hockey for a very long time, but I didn’t really want to go to the next level, so I took up basketball. My dad played basketball for a while, so he started me in the sport,” Wells said.
The late start in competitive competition did not seem to deter 20-year-old however.
“I’m just addicted to getting better. I see myself working so hard, so that improvements are addicting.”
Some help from a veteran player like Anthony Lowe hasn’t hurt either.
“That guy (Lowe) has been my mentor since last year, he’s helped me a lot. I try to match his work ethic.”
When asked which current NBA player he looks up to, Wells says he likes to model his game after Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick.
“He’s a shooter like me, I like to watch a lot of his highlights and just try to imitate what he does on the court,” Wells said.
The Lancers have rebounded as a unit this year after a strong start, coupled with a poor finish last year that evened their record at 10-10. They currently sit in a tie for fifth in the East division with the St. Lawrence Vikings with a very different looking team this year as they continue to battle for that elusive playoff spot.
Wells points to Kabeya’s and assistant coach Caleb Hugh’s coaching styles and general attitudes as a big reason for the success.
“Compared to last year, the team chemistry wasn’t all that great,” Wells informed.
“We had a lot of individual players. This year, everyone talks to everybody, there’s no cliques. Team chemistry has just been fantastic this year.”
Wells adds that getting the opportunity to talk to Kabeya before everyone else opened his eyes to the kind of leadership the former Lancer guard was going to bring to the team.
Coach Kabeya says it's very important to forge professional-type relationships with players before the season and throughout.
It's very key actually, especially because we're in Belleville," Kabeya said.
"Others teams such as Seneca or Humber or whoever it is, their kids are local, so they can fit in a lot more workouts during summer...other players are learning through Wells what it is that we stand for, so I think that is very key and we hope that this summer is not any different," he added.
Kabeya himself has seen Wells make great strides from day one of summer workouts to the current point of the season. He says it's now at the point where he and the rest of the team are expecting him to contribute in every game.
"It's funny because Aiden made five threes one game and everyone (in the crowd) was like 'oh my goodness.' And I'll tell you what, everyone on the team knows that he does that. There wasn't any surprises. Our bench wasn't overly ecstatic. They knew that he does this everyday in practice."
Wells says that if the Lancers can come together they could be a dangerous threat down the stretch drive of the season.
The future looks incredibly bright for the Lancers and Wells. As for beyond this year individually, Wells admits he is unsure what will be in store for him.
“My options are going to play a high level of college or university after I’m done at Loyalist or just continue at Loyalist,” he said.
The Lancers are in the midst of a five game road trip, seeing them make stops in North York (Toronto), Ottawa, Quebec, Kingston and Oshawa. So far, they are 1-2.