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Local player establishes himself in freshman season

Helming shoots his signature fadeaway jumpshot against Valley City State in Forest City, Iowa on Feb. 5. (Photo via Waldorf Athletics)

By Zach Throne

Chett Helming received homeschooling until 8th grade, and because of this, Helming loves family and the feel of small town Iowa.

Helming, a Lake Mills graduate, wanted to stay close to home when he made his college choice.

Living near Scarville, Iowa, Helming only had to drive about 20 minutes if he decided to attend Waldorf University.

It just so happens Helming received a basketball scholarship from Coach Nigel Jenkins and the Warriors, so Helming chose the close destination to continue his athletic career.

Coming out of high school, Helming’s strength was putting the ball in the basket.

“I knew Chett could score very well from playing against him some in high school,” said Waldorf teammate and Bishop-Garrigan alum Tristan Ferguson.

Helming scored 39 points in the game that sent Lake Mills to its first state appearance in over 30 years, so it was no surprise Helming received the opportunity to play at the next level.

He had an impressive freshman season, even though he did not receive much playing early in the year. Helming played a handful of minutes for the first few games, but established a role in the rotation after a 13-point output against Northwestern-St. Paul on Dec. 15.

Helming started 12 of the 13 conference games for the Warriors, while averaging 11.6 points per game.

He noted that college was similar to high school because after a player becomes a prominent scorer, teams notice that and devise a gameplay with more attention on that player. Helming experienced this as the season transpired.

“It was nice at the start of the year with other teams not knowing who you were,” said Helming, “but as the year progressed, teams started guarding me tighter and tighter, making me work harder on each touch.”

Helming’s season high came in a conference win against Dakota State where he scored 24 points. He followed that performance with 11 points and 8 points.

Helming attributed that to the higher basketball IQ of college basketball players.

“Once you make a move and are successful with it, you really can’t make the same move against without them anticipating it,” said Helming.

The Warriors season ended in the first round of the conference tournament against second-seeded Bellevue.

Waldorf finished with a 5-17 overall record and 4-9 record in conference play, leaving Helming wanting more for his sophomore season.

“My freshman season was filled with ups and down,” Helming said. “I would’ve really liked to get some more wins.”

He looks to build on his individual success and improve the team in his second season of college basketball next year.