Posted on: June 5, 2017
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s basketball team have added some depth at the guard position.
Head coach Scott Clark and the WolfPack are happy to announce that 6’1” guard Nolan Willett has agreed to join the Canada West/USport program effective September 1st.
Willett and his family are relocating to Calgary, Alberta after living the last few years in California. He graduated from Jserra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano in 2016 and attended Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria last season.
“I decided to come to TRU after meeting with Coach Clark,” says Willett, who will be majoring in Sociology as part of the Bachelor of Arts program. “He told me a lot of amazing things about the school. When I came to visit in late May, I was sold. It is a beautiful campus, the city is really nice. It was a great experience coming out here. The people here are very welcoming.”
Willett started 22 of the Bulldogs 25 conference games, averaging 32 minutes, 7.8 points per game,,126 assists (fifth in the league but first in his own conference), 74 rebounds (3.8 average per game), 36 steals (24th in the conference), and averaged 18.1 points per 40 minutes. The Bulldogs are members of the Western State Conference and finished 4-6 in conference play and 14-16 overall in the North Division.
Willett is a point guard who led his team in assists. “I had the highest assist total at the school in the last five years. I think my strengths are running the team and distributing the ball.”
“He definitely is a pass first, true point guard,” says Clark. “He wants to get his teammates involved. He has played a high level—both in high school and the junior college. His background is good. While he played down there he is a Canadian citizen which is a bonus for us. He fits right in with what we value as a basketball program. He is a good teammate and good person. Those are the types of players we are looking to attract.”
Before deciding on TRU, Willett paid visits to both the University of Victoria and the University of Alberta and had offers from a number of schools including Mount Royal, Algoma and Lakehead and spoke with New Brunswick and Bishops.
Tyson Aye was Willett’s coach at Hancock College last year and emailed Clark looking for a place for Willett to play as his family returned to Canada. “ Nolan really improved during his freshman year with us,’ he said. “ His best playing days are ahead of him and we can’t wait to follow him at TRU. He was our starting point guard for almost the entire season. He ran our offense and got our guys in the right places on both ends of the floor.”
He believes he is coming to the WolfPack at a good time with a few holes to fill at the guard position going into the 2017-18 campaign. “There is nothing promised but I am hoping that I if I work hard I will get the opportunity.”
Willet is looking forward to being a part of the “Pack’s community initiatives. “ That is another reason why I picked this school. I am looking forward to being a ‘big fish in a small pond’ and helping aspiring young basketball players enjoy the sport that I love.”
DOUBLE DRIBBLES: Willett got the chance to play with and against some of his future teammates during the WolfPack Spring League at the Tournament Capital Centre. “It was a lot of fun,” he said. “Coach Clark didn’t tell me that I was going to play. We won pretty handily which was nice (laughing). The guys seem like a fun group and I am happy to get the chance to play alongside them in the fall.”
Clark on what he saw of Willett during the spring league game: “You can tell he knows how to play. He knows how to run the pick-and-roll. I thought he could move his feet defensively and competed in the defensive end. He had a nice mid-range game and could finish close to the basket. Like all younger players, he needs to improve his body and strength and increase his shooting range. Those are all things that we can work on and develop. He has the right attitude that he wants to improve. That makes it a good fit.”
When asked about an anecdote on Willett, Aye stated: “Nolan is a gym rat. He pushes others to get into the gym as well. He is a very good ball handler and can get into the lane along with knocking down three pointers. He will have no trouble adjusting to the Canadian/FIBA game.”
He adds. “TRU is getting a very good point guard and even more, an outstanding young man who will work hard and represent the institution with integrity and class.”
Willett joins other WolfPack recruits: Devin Halcrow (6’8” forward, Kamloops,BC-Norkam Secondary), Jon Steele (6’8” forward, Chilliwack, BC-G.W. Graham Middle-Secondary/Trans Canada Basketball), and Tyus De Vries (6’4”, forward, Chilliwack, BC-Sardis Secondary/Trans Canada Basketball).