The Wolfpacker

Nov-Dec 2021

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 29 of 51

30 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER hen he scores at PNC Arena, senior forward J e r i c o l e H e l l e m s i s called "Cole Hellems" by public address an- nouncer Ned "Tack" At- tayek after each basket. Hellems gave Attayek his blessing to call him Cole, but it turns out that was against his mother's wishes. "It's definitely Jericole that my mom would prefer," Hellems confessed. "I really don't know why I said it [to Attayek]. I had no problem with it because Cole is part of my name, and people end up saying Jericho like the Bible instead of C-O-L-E. It does help with the pronunciation of my name." NC State fans, though, should know how to say Hellems' name by now. In an era of college basketball in which the months of April and May are known as the "silly sea- son" due to all the comings and goings on hoops rosters across the country, Hellems is a rarity: a four-year player at the same school. That's in Hellems' upbringing, however. He didn't switch prep schools, attending Chaminade Prep near St. Louis from mid- dle school to graduation. On the summer traveling circuit, Hellems played for Brad- ley Beal Elite. "Growing up, I've seen a lot of kids transfer. Even on AAU teams, I see a lot of kids move from different teams," Hellems recalled. "I think that has always been a thing for me, to stick things out. It's always worked out the best for me. "I don't think it's the same story for ev- erybody, and everybody has a different situation. But as far as staying four years, I think it's a big thing for me, and I love the Wolfpack." Prior to receiving an offer from NC State in the summer before his senior season, Hellems admits he knew next to nothing about the Pack program. Yet when practices started in September, in preparation for Hellems' senior year, he noted, "It came up quick." "I think it's just been a good learning experience, not even on the court, just off the court I've grown mentally," he added. Growing up through basketball is a theme in Hellems' life. "I think my dad or my mom put the ball in my hands as soon as I came out of the womb, that's how early it feels like," Hel- lems said. Through good youth coaches like Brian Sommer of the Gateway Basketball Club, Hellems learned that the sport can bring a lot of value in life beyond the materialistic things. Hellems gave up football and track around middle school to focus on hoops, and he never second-guessed that choice. His love of basketball has only grown stronger through the years. "I can't ever give up on anything that I put my mind to, especially with the game of basketball," Hellems said. "I've got so much love for it, and I know what I can do now that I have put in the hours and work for it. "I don't think it'll ever go away, and it's probably going to be hard to walk away from the game. Everything is going to have to stop working for me to stop playing." The son of tall parents — mother Eliz- abeth Squibb is pushing 6-0, and father Torano Hellems is at least 6-3 — Hellems was always the tall one on the team. He mainly played center and power forward for most of his teams all the way through high school. But when he arrived at NC State, the 6-7, 200-pounder knew he would no longer be the biggest or fastest on the court, so he worked on becoming a better perimeter shooter. It was how he figured he could influence the game. Through three years, Hellems has de- veloped into a proven ACC player. He av- eraged 12.9 points and 5.0 rebounds per game last year, and needs just 183 points to become the latest Wolfpacker to reach 1,000 for his career. It is likely, as NC State's top returning scorer, that Hellems will have to take on a large scoring load this season again. In the final 13 games of last year after star Devon Daniels went down with an injury, Hellems averaged 14.0 points a contest. W BASKETBALL FOR LIFE Senior Forward Jericole Hellems Has A Deep Passion For The Game   2021-22 MEN'S BASKETBALL PREVIEW Hellems finished second on the team last year in scoring (12.9 points per game), minutes played (31.4) and three-point shooting (.383), and he was third in assists (44) and steals (27). PHOTO BY ETHAN HYMAN/NEWS & OBSERVER

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