A little more than a year ago basketball life for Chaed Wellian was normal as he was balling for the Itzehoe Eagles for ambitious and well known head coach Patrick Elze helping the team win the Pro B title together with top American Chris Hooper. Then in March COVID-19 rocked the world like a nasty and always present Tsunami that suddenly ended many basketball leagues world wide. Luckily for Wellian and the Itzehoe Eagles, they were able to win the title with no playoffs. More than a year later, COVID-19 is still stuck on us like Walter Tavares is on every player he has to defend in the paint in the Euroleague. Wellian didn´t remain in Itzehoe, but sought a new challenge with the ambitious EPG Baskets Koblenz. He helped lead the club into the playoffs, but it hasn´t been an easy season for him with COVID-19 being a daily occurrence. COVID-19 has affected people in so many different ways. For so many, loved ones were lost and for others that were more fortunate, they didn´t necessarily lose loved ones, but had to deal with Corona in other ways that affected them mentally. Wellian who hails from Holland was one of the more fortunate people that didn´t lose any loved ones, but he had to deal with COVID-19 in other ways. “To be honest nothing significant has really happened around me due to COVID-19 that had an impact on me. I can’t even imagine how for some individuals it has been a very painful year with losing loved ones to this virus. The only thing I can say is that this virus can take a toll on your mental health. It’s already hard for an athlete to play in a different country away from home and family but now during this pandemic and lockdown staying mentally healthy is so important. There are no outlets, you start to get into a mode where you just go to practice and then straight home. Doing that day in day out can be a little depressing. I feel like we all are social beings to a certain degree and being a professional athlete you have to limit being in contact with other people because of all the testing we go through to be able to play the games on the weekend. Sometimes it can feel like your a prisoner in your own home and I think that that’s what it is for me that has affected me the most”, stressed Chaed Wellian. After a year, COVID-.19 has become a daily thing for everyone and probably the most common question for everybody is when will it finally end and when will life get back to normal? The Dutch forward is more than ready for life to get back to normal as he has missed the normal interactions with people and having fans at games, because the dynamic without them is just totally different.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz are in sixth place with a record of 11-10. They began the season in 2020 so well having a 8-2 record, but in 2021, the club was unable to keep their winning ways as they are 3-8 at the moment with one game remaining. It has been an up and down season that can always have a toll on the players. “ Mentally it has been not too bad. Losing is a part of the game, everyone wants to win every game or have a significant amount of wins. The adversity we had to face with injuries and new players coming in had a lot to with that in my opinion. It was where we had to find our own DNA as a team and build on from there. We have so much experience on this team that we know what we are capable of. Everyone is back healthy now so we knew that during our slump that there was no need for panic and that we can climb ourselves out of any hole. So mentally it was a little challenging but we never held our heads low”, stated Chaed Wellian. Two of the biggest problems of the club has been their inconsistency on the defensive end and just suffering too many mental lapses during the game. “It has to do with our chemistry, when Edin, C.J. And D.J. got injured we lost on average 30 minutes per game from them. So it was a little back to square one and finding the right solutions on defense and what works best for our defensive schemes with guys that had to step up. Granted the fact that our offense mostly makes up for our defense it is still something that can affect defensive rotations because we have to get used to defensive tendencies of our teammates. But now that everyone is back healthy I feel like it has only made us stronger and made us trust each other more on defense. There are 2 more weeks before the playoffs start and it’s starting to click more and more and I can’t wait to show the work we have put in and what we are capable of”, warned Chaed Wellian. The club made no secret about the fact that their main goal this season was to move up to the Pro A. This could have had an effect on the players mentally without them even knowing it. “I think for some players it can be difficult, maybe the younger guys on our team. But like everyone knows we have so much experience on this team and we know how to handle the pressure of a team wanting to move up. The club recruited their players with the intent of knowing that we as players know what is at stake and we as seasoned players implement that onto the younger guys, who respond greatly to that”, said Chaed Wellian.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz have one regular season game left and will finish on their home court against Giessen. Koblenz won a real exciting nail bitter on the road 82-80 and never forgot the amazing game by German Johannes Lischka who poured in 35 points. “He’s a very good player and you can tell he has the national tram experience. His physicality is something to be matched! But I think we are up for the challenge, he is the engine for that team and it shows. I honestly couldn’t tell how that would translate maybe it would give him a little more quickness and finesse but then again it might go at the cost of his physicality. Either way it goes I think he would still be a great player”, stated Chaed Wellian. Last weekend the EPG Baskets Koblenz lost a brutal game in Dresden 81-79, but the fact that they can end the regular season playing the top two teams of the Pro B will give them an extra special edge over other playoff teams. “It absolutely is. Because it gives us an indication where we stand against the teams in the top tier. Playing Dresden we got the indication that we can beat them and with them being number 1 in the south we know that we have work to do but we are getting to the point where we have it figured out. I think we are a team that plays at its best with our backs against the wall. Giessen will be another good test for us as we might see them in the first of the playoffs. It gives us a chance to prepare for them as the last game we will have against them will be fresh on our mind. At this point there’s no room for mistakes so it’s our last chance to get it together before the playoffs”, stressed Chaed Wellian.
The EPG Baskets Koblenz went into the 20-21 season with a very deep roster, but when the loses continued to pile up in 2021, the club had to react and hauled in new blood with talented and experienced players Bill Borekambi, Anthony Canty and Philipp Liesser. All guys are very special players and bring their own unique qualities to the table. “Like the team did with when I arrived in Koblenz, the new guys were welcomed with open arms and were ready to work from day one. We missed Philipp for a couple games but we are all together now and putting in the work to get playoff ready. Anthony brings a lot of leadership to the table and experience same for Phil. Bill brings us another inside presence which creates for other guys. So we are getting to the point where we want to be as a team”, expressed Chaed Wellian. One guy that is always a delight to watch on the court is versatile offensive force Bill Borekambi who is a genuine walking bucket and has made all kinds of shots on the court and just knows how to score in difficult situations and against good defenders. Being able to share the court with teammate Brian Butler makes the double B´s so much more dangerous for their opponents. The double B´s could make the difference in the playoffs between achieving a title and not. “Bill is super creative when it comes to the paint and midrange area. On top of that he has some serious skills to match with it. Just watching him work is something you can learn from. I think they can become our motor in the playoffs as their inside presence will create so much opportunity for the other guys. It opens up the outside shots for our guards. And when we need a bucket we can count on them to go to work”, warned Chaed Wellian. But not only is Borekambi a massive reinforcement for the club, but also guards Anthony Canty and Philipp Liesser. Wellian knows exactly what he cherishes the most from their games. “ The perspective of the game. Anthony is a high intelligent guard who knows what he wants from his teammates and makes sure that you share the same perspective of the court with him. I think it’s very important that you are on the same page as your point guard. Phil is a little different he just knows how to get in the lane to either create or get to the basket. They both make the game a lot easier for us as a team since they been here”, stressed Chaed Wellian. With a roster that is so deep, minutes are hard to come by at times and not only Chaed Wellian is aware of that, but also young talented German guard Lucas Mayer who is doing his very best to be as efficient as possible in the minutes that he gets. “Lucas is one of those guys who always steps on the court and feels like he has something to prove. He has a great work ethic and always brings it. He’s young talented and motivated, bright future ahead of him”, added Chaed Wellian.
One thing that Chaed Wellian has done very whttps://youtu.be/a26MuwJNawYell as a professional is being able to adapt to different countries, leagues, coaches and teammates. He has proved this being able to put up solid and consistent stats where ever he has played and that hasn´t been little. He is currently playing his seventh season and one can almost say he has seen it all having played in 8 countries for 14 organizations. Why don´t you try walking in his shoes as he has that very special basketball equation of 14/8. What is very interesting to observe this season is that despite playing for a very talented and deep roster, he is averaging the most minutes per game since he played for German Regionalliga team Saarlouis in the 2016-2017 season. He has had bigger roles on other teams, but played less minutes. Playing so many minutes this season has surprised him a bit. “I guess I haven’t really paid any attention to that but I feel like I’m physically in the best shape I have been in a while. I’m just happy the team puts their trust in me to be an impact in the game. On top of that I’m very competitive and my mindset going into practice and games is that I expect to be on the court every minute possible”, commented Chaed Wellian. Every game is a gigantic challenge for him, because he never knows exactly how many minutes he will play. For instance out of the 16 games he has played, he has logged 20 minutes or more 12 times and even played 34,33 and 30 minutes, but then again also logged only 5, 10,11 and 16 minutes. “It is definitely a challenge knowing from previous teams like Itzehoe where I had a specific and important role on the team to kind of the same role here but having such a deep roster making it difficult to know which rotation will work best in the game. I know that I’m capable of scoring 15+ per game but so does my next teammate. It’s all about finding the right balance with our team at the cost of winning. As a professional you have to live with the decisions your coach makes even if you disagree with them when it comes to playing time. If he thinks that benefits the team then I can’t argue with that”, stated Chaed Wellian. He is a player that is super critical about his play and it is only obvious that he isn´t content with his 7,9ppg and 4,0rpg. “It can be pretty tough especially since I’m an import we get looked upon different because first thing teams look at is your stats as a player so in that aspect I’m not really satisfied of my numbers but I feel like it doesn’t reflect to what I bring to the table, like I said before we have so many other guys that bring a lot to the table where some games you just take the background for the sake of the team. I would like to play a little more of my natural position so I can show that I’m not just a shooter and have all around offensive game. But as long as we win I’m fine with doing what’s needed of me”, warned Chaed Wellian. But his game continues to develop at age 28 as he changed some things up and has seen his basketball IQ get better and helped get his passing qualities on the radar, but feels he still hasn´t reached his peak yet. “I don’t think I’m there yet I feel like it’s just the start of getting there. I approach the game smarter and work harder than I have before in my previous years. I can just feel I have so much left in my tank or actually I feel like my tank has gotten bigger! I think with every game you play your basketball IQ gets a little higher I can’t say that I’ve noticed a significant difference I think I can reflect better on that after the season but I have no doubt that it’s developing! When I’m playing on the wing I think my passing is showcased a lot more because I’m more aggressive playing the 3 and creating more opportunities for dump offs to Brian or kick outs for the 3. I like to practice creative passes. My old coaches in Itzehoe are very familiar with that Timo The assistant coach used to hate when I did all these fancy passes and I kind of did it on purpose just to get a reaction out of him. But that was more the competitiveness coming out of me trying to show him that I can do it. That’s why I was happy playing for Patrick Elzie and he knew that I could do that and he let me be myself but made sure I didn’t get carried away”, remembered Chaed Wellian.
With the post season just around the corner, all that counts now is winning games. The EPG Baskets Koblenz can make a positive first step towards the title by ending the regular season with a huge victory at home against Giessen. The club also knows that in order to be successful in the playoffs, they will have to bring a strong effort on the defensive end something that has plagued them all season long. You can bet that Chaed Wellian will bring that extra effort on defense as winning is the most important goal for him. “Winning at any cost is the ultimate goal. Especially since we won last year without going into the playoffs I strive for that feeling of winning it in the playoffs it just gives you an extra feeling of satisfaction. Defensively I think we all have to get to the point of willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the team not just me. We can’t rely on one guy to do that, if we all on one page then it will be pretty hard to stop us. But any opportunity there is for me to help the team defensively that I have to go out my way for will be done of course”, expressed Chaed Wellian. The club has experienced so many highs and lows that they finally want to seek some consistency in the past season. The question is will the team be reborn and make a run in the playoffs in their quest to win the pro B title? “I’m super confident we are healthy and you can tell that everyone is ready to give their all. We didn’t end at the top tier of the table as we expected and you can tell that we have a chip on our shoulder. I feel like we made it through our adversity and are ready to translate that into the playoffs. Anything can happen in the playoffs and every team is beatable at this point.”, warned Chaed Wellian. Obviously wining the pro B title is his biggest goal, but at times, he finds a little moment to get away from basketball and just relax. Being on the couch and watching a good flick is a normal basketball player ritual besides playing play station. It was only obvious that he would watch the new Coming To America movie with Eddie Murohy and Arsenio Hall. The classic movie got mixed reviews from fellow players for part 2, but Wellian actually enjoyed it and gave a proper review that would even have gotten a wink from Siskel And Ebert from the heavens. Siskel And Ebert were a very well known American movie review duo who gave their two cents about movies every week. “I actually watched it the first day it became available for streaming and the first movie is a classic for me and one of my favorite movies to go back and watch. It’s just classic Eddie Murphy can’t go wrong with that. But I don’t think it was a bad movie it felt more like it was a reunion it’s pretty hard to make a follow up movie after 30+ years. I like that they kept the nostalgia alive in the movie and didn’t try to add too many new elements. Just alone for the reason of having almost the entire original cast in the movie after so long is making me give the movie a C rating minimum already. The criteria for movies nowadays to be considered great is already high so I don’t think it was the intent to make a Oscar nominating movie but just to entertain and in my opinion I think they did so I would give it a B”, stressed Chaed Wellian. Even if Chaed Wellian felt like being a prisoner during COVID-19 at times, at least for two hours during Coming To America he could drift into a different world with Eddie Murphy. Even if he wins the Pro B title, he surely won´t have a problem being a prisoner again as COVID-19 will still be reality when the Pro B title is won. All that matters for Chaed Wellian is winning and he definitely won´t be a prisoner on the court as the EPG Baskets Koblenz will do everything they can to achieve their lofty season goals.