By VERONICA RATES, Staff Reporter
University of Michigan-Dearborn’s men’s basketball head coach Taylor Langley believes in hard work, dedication and quality character in each of his players.
It’s reasonable to see why Langley wanted Howell High School’s Jake Wendel to be a part of his lineup next season.
Wendel, a standout three-year varsity player at Howell, signed with the Wolverines in mid-May, being the third player from the class of 2015 to sign with UM-Dearborn.
“Not only is Jake a quality player, he’s just a great kid,” said Langley. “He’s a good student, he has an incredible work ethic, he’s a gym rat. He’s constantly working on his game and I think that fits into the culture that we’re trying to create here where guys are just living in the gym, constantly working to become better.”
Wendel brings UM-Dearborn some depth at the point guard position, but will use his respectable shooting on the wing as well.
“I feel (UM-Dearborn) has so much talent, and along with the talent, a bunch of hardworking guys,” Wendel said. “Also, they recently got a great coach in coach Langley. I think he’s a fantastic coach and a great guy.”
The newest Wolverine was offered by Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference rival University of Northwest Ohio and by Illinois Tech, but chose UM-Dearborn for its resemblance with his high school team.
“It was really the similarity from my high school (team),” Wendel explained. “The program had a history of not being too good. At my high school, I helped take my team to the elite eight.”
And help is what he did for Howell. According to Langley, Wendel shot 42 percent from behind the arc, and had 94 totals three-pointers his senior season.
“That’s outstanding,” Langley said, regarding Wendel’s three-point statistics. “Those are really, really high, really, really good numbers.”
Wendel plans to not only look to better himself, but look to build his team too.
“Regardless if I play a lot of not this first season, I’m going to be the hardest working guy,” Wendel said. “I’ll push myself and the other guys so they get better and therefore the team is better for it.”
UM-Dearborn hopes to improve from its 11-19 record from last season, and Langley sees the light with his team. He looks to Wendel to be a big part of that and his future with UM-Dearborn.
“I want our guys just to give a great effort, day-by-day, and when you do the right thing the results will happen,” Langley said. “I’m hoping that if Jake continues to have the same work ethic, which he demonstrated all through high school, then I think he’ll be just fine.”