Thursday, May 26, 2011
DES MOINES, Iowa—Drake University men’s basketball head coach Mark Phelps announced Thursday three
additions to his coaching staff. Brett Nelson, in his seventh season as a collegiate coach after an All-America
career at Florida, joins the staff as assistant coach, while former Arizona
State point guard Jamelle McMillan
was named director of basketball operations and former Drake guard Ryan Wedel as named graduate manager.
"We are very excited to welcome
three new staff members to the Drake basketball family," said Phelps. "Brett Nelson, Jamelle McMillan and Ryan Wedel each bring outstanding basketball acumen,
experience and passion to their respective positions and will be a great
resource for our players. They each enjoyed outstanding college playing careers
and demonstrated leadership qualities as captains on their respective teams."
Nelson joins Phelps' staff at Drake after spending the 2010-11
season at Arkansas. With Nelson on staff in his sixth coaching season and
fourth as a bench coach, the Razorbacks finished 18-13, tied for third place in
the SEC Western Division.
"Brett is a talented and experienced
basketball coach with a commitment to excellence and high-level integrity and
character," said Phelps. "He excels in all aspects of the profession, including
on-the-floor coaching and skill instruction, scouting and game preparation,
mentoring and recruiting. Brett's high-level playing experience, instinctive
basketball savvy and IQ, and his terrific all-around personality will serve our
players and our program extremely well. We are very happy to welcome Brett,
Jamie and Eli into the Drake family."
In his one season at Arkansas,
Nelson played a strong role in the recruitment of one of the nation's top 10 incoming
classes. The 2011-12 Razorbacks class includes five players ranked in the top
106 in the country by ESPN.
"I'm very excited to be part of
the family of Drake University," Nelson said. "Coach Phelps has a vision and a
clear plan for Drake basketball. The future is very bright under his direction,
and that of (Athletic Director) Sandy
Hatfield Clubb. The commitment is there to do some special things and take
the Bulldogs to the next level."
Nelson was hired at Arkansas May
20, 2010, after a two-month stay at Central Florida, where he was to continue
working under head coach Donnie Jones, with whom he coached at Marshall from
final season of his three-year run with the Thundering Herd, Nelson helped lead
the team to a 24-10 finish in 2009-10 and a postseason win in the CollegeInsider.com
Tournament. The postseason
appearance was the first for a Marshall team in 22 years and its 11-5 record
and third-place finish in Conference USA was the best since 2000-01.
time at Marshall also developed Nelson's skills as gifted recruiter. He was
instrumental in the recruitment and development of Marshall's Hassan Whiteside,
who was named C-USA freshman and defensive player of the year. Whiteside led
the nation in blocked shots in 2009-10 (182), the fourth-best single-season
total in NCAA history. Whiteside was drafted after his freshman year 33rd overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2010. Nelson's tutelage also attracted
multiple All-C-USA players and a sixth-man of the year award winner.
to coaching at Marshall, Nelson served as Director of Operations at Virginia
Commonwealth (2006-07) and Colorado State (2005-06). His VCU tenure included a 28-7 record and first round NCAA
Tournament victory over Duke while working with current Alabama head coach
player, Nelson made himself into one of the best in Florida's history, leading
the Gators to a Final Four and placing himself in the record books numerous
times. A three-year starter, Nelson completed his career as Florida's school
record-holder in three-point baskets made and attempted and ranked second on
the all-time charts in steals, fifth in steals per game, sixth in assists and
assists per game and 14th in scoring (1,416).
was named a preseason semifinalist for the Naismith Award as a senior in
2002-03. He also was an ESPN.com third-team and Associated Press Honorable Mention
All-American in 2000-01, and was named to the 2000 NCAA Tournament All-East
completed his collegiate eligibility in the winter of 2003 and stayed at
Florida to finish his bachelor's degree in sociology in 2004. He played one
season of professional basketball in Sweden in 2005 before returning to the
United States to start his coaching career.
and his wife Jamie gave birth to their first child, Eli in September 2010.
McMillan is in his first year of coaching after a standout playing
career at Arizona State. A former team captain for the Sun Devils, McMillan
finished his career having played in 122 games and tied a school record by
winning 80 of those contests over his four-year career.
"I have known Jamelle since his
grade-school years when he attended basketball camp at North
Carolina State," said Phelps. "Jamelle is a man of character and excellence who
is the beneficiary of life-long exposure to the game at the highest level. He
is a young star in our profession who has consistently demonstrated and modeled
high achievement in every part of his life, including basketball. These
attributes and experience, along with a great work ethic, passion for the game
and for people, and advanced maturity make him a terrific addition to our staff."
was part of a trio of 2010-11 seniors who were the first in Sun Devils history
to record 80 wins over the course of their careers. McMillan started 78 games
at ASU and played a crucial role as the team's floor leader in each of his four
seasons. His importance to the team was reflected in its 74-48
(.607) record with him in uniform and 6-5 (.545) ledger without him, as he recorded
an impressive 321-153 assist-to-turnover ratio (2.10).
"I feel very fortunate and
blessed to have the opportunity to accept such a great position at Drake
University," McMillan said. "With the quality of the people and their
dedication, as well as the support staff I've met, Drake seems like the best
fit for me. It's a place where I feel I can get a successful jump-start on my
career. I'm excited to get started and looking forward to a great season ahead.
full-time starter over his final two seasons (2009-10, '10-'11), McMillan led
the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio as a senior and finished 14th nationally
at 2.68 (110 assists and 41 turnovers). He finished his career ranked 10th in
ASU annals for three-point shooting percentage at 37.3%.
captain and team leader averaged 11.0 points in the final 11
games and was 23-of-50 (.460) from three-point range. McMillan posted three of
the top scoring games of his career in the final 11 contests.
The son of Portland Trail Blazers head coach and former
NBA player Nate McMillan, Jamelle in the summer of 2008 spent 16 days in China for
the Olympics with Team USA, for whom his father was an assistant coach.
McMillan was one of the top point-guard recruits on the west
coast his senior year (2006-07) at O'Dea High School in Seattle, Wash., after
leading his team to three state titles (2004, '05 and '07). He was ranked as
the top point guard on the west coast by Rivals and the No. 99 player overall
by Scout.com after a senior season that saw him named Gatorade Player of the
Year for the state of Washington.
Jamelle McMillan was born Dec.
30, 1988 in Seattle. He received his bachelor's degree in communication from
Arizona State in May 2011.
Wedel takes over the role of graduate manager for the Drake
basketball team, but is no stranger to the program, having been a member of the
team for the past three seasons. The unquestioned leader on and off the court,
and a captain last season, Wedel will have the opportunity to continue building
on the foundation he has set for the team's future success.
"I have the highest respect and
admiration for Ryan," said Phelps. "He was my first recruit as a head coach and
set the standard for excellence, passion, commitment and work ethic for our
basketball program in his three years here. He was born to play and coach the
game, and I am thrilled that he begins his coaching career here at Drake. He will
be an invaluable asset to our program, as he has instant credibility with our
players, coaches, administration and everyone in the Drake community. His
high-level basketball IQ, experience as a player, commitment to excellence and
competitive fire will add immediate value to every part of our basketball
a redshirt year in 2008-09 that followed his transfer from Arkansas State,
Wedel stepped into the Bulldogs' lineup in 2009-10 and earned Missouri Valley
Conference All-Newcomer honors. He played in all 64 games (63 starts) in his
two seasons of play, and his 137 three-point baskets are eighth-most Drake's
"I am excited about the opportunity to
continue to be a part of the Drake Men's basketball program," Wedel said. "I am
looking forward to the chance to work more in-depth with the coaching staff."
two-time second-team All-MVC Scholar-Athlete, Wedel averaged 11.0 points per
game and posted a 3.24 grade-point average, earning his bachelor's degree in
management and marketing. His steady leadership on the floor produced a 112-85
assist-to-turnover ratio, as he selflessly switched from point guard to off
guard midway through his junior season, and back to point guard midway through
his senior campaign.
posted a top-10 mark for three-pointers in each of his two seasons of
eligibility, dropping 66 in 2009-10 (T-10th) and 71 in '10-'11 to
tie for seventh. His career high of 29 points came in a spectacular showcase on
senior night, Feb. 23, 2011, as the lone senior on the Drake squad drained five
three-pointers in the Bulldogs' 87-69 win.
his final season Wedel started all 31 games and either led or shared the team
lead in scoring 10 times. He ranked third in the conference in three pointers
(71) and seventh in three-point shooting percentage (40.3%). In his junior
season of 2009-10 he averaged 11.1 points per game and ranked second in the MVC
in steals with 51 (1.5 per game).
was a two-year starting point guard at Arkansas State (2006-07, '07-'08), where
he led the Sun Belt Conference in three-point baskets in 2007-08 with 90,
second-best on the school's single-season list. He averaged 15.1 points per
game to earn third-team all-conference honors.
Mr. Basketball in the state of Kansas in 2006, Wedel scored 25.6 points per
game with 6.5 rebounds and 6.2 assists to cap a career in which he led his
Minneapolis High School squad to record of 87-14 and three final four
appearances in the Kansas Class 2A state tournament.
Michael Ryan Wedel was born July 30, 1987 in