Gelaun Wheelright, senior sociology major and guard, said he had his passion embedded in him when his father put a basketball in his hands at age 4.
“I really didn’t start taking basketball seriously until I moved to Corona to live with my father in the seventh grade,” Wheelright said.
The city of Corona was his stomping grounds for success where he entered high school and was a force to be reckoned with. By the time he was a junior, Wheelright was already averaging 18 points per game.
His development in the sport was nurtured through not only his father, but also through Keith James, his travel ball coach, and Josh Giles, his high school coach.
“Keith James was my travel ball coach and that’s how it all started,” Wheelright said. “Josh Giles was a local legend and helped me through my four years of high school.”
Wheelright was committed to NCAA Division I college Webster State University, but later made the conscious decision to transfer to California Baptist University.
“Getting tattoos, spending money — I was messing up off the court,” Wheelright said. “I felt like a liability to my team and coaches so I transferred.”
Although going from a Division I program to a Division II program may appear to be a setback, it was a comeback for Wheelright.
The 22-year-old transfer came back with vengeance in a new season with a new team. Last year, Wheelright was named Newcomer of the Year by the PacWest conference. This year he has already received PacWest Player of the Week honors.
If adapting to a new school and dominating in a new conference was not enough, Wheelright has also has been an asset to his team.
“Gelaun is a phenomenal teammate, he brings a positive attitude every day into the locker room and helps everyone get better on and off the court,” said Michael Smith, junior business administration major.
Wheelright said his transition was not a hard one and he would not want to be anywhere else.
“I think Gelaun felt like CBU was home right away, he has great relationships on this campus and is always making others smile,” said Rick Croy, head coach of the men’s basketball team.
Wheelright said he has plans after graduation to play basketball overseas and use his degree in sociology to help misled kids.