Keller Citizen

Central grad picked up by Utah Jazz

Weber State's Joel Bolomboy, Keller Central class of 2012, was recently drafted by the Utah Jazz.
Weber State's Joel Bolomboy, Keller Central class of 2012, was recently drafted by the Utah Jazz. AP

The second Central alumnus from the Class of 2012 has been picked to go play in the pros.

Joel Bolomboy was selected in the second round of the NBA draft – 52nd overall – by the Utah Jazz.

One of Bolomboy’s basketball teammates, Zack Sanchez, was selected in the NFL draft this year by the Carolina Panthers.

Bolomboy helped Central win a district title in his senior year as the Chargers went 13-1 in district play.

He was an all-state selection and led 5A in scoring (17.8) and rebounding (12.9) his senior year.

His relentless work ethic was a trademark trait which helped him excel in Central and then at Weber State in Ogden, Utah.

At WSU, the Russian-born Bolomboy finished as the program’s and Big Sky Conference’s leading career rebounder with 1,312.

Bolomboy was named Big Sky MVP and a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award as a senior. He was twice named Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year and helped the Wildcats earn two trips to the NCAA tournament.

Those that worked with Bolomboy have similar assessments as to why Bolomboy’s talent was recognized by the NBA.

“What sets him apart is that he works hard at developing his weaknesses in the gym, by himself with no coach and whistle,” said Kit Pehl, the Central head coach during Bolomboy’s time in high school.

“In the last two years of high school he had a ton of development and he kept that up in college,” Pehl said.

That sentiment was echoed by Weber head coach Randy Rahe.

“When we first started recruiting him out of high school we saw the potential in him,” Rahe said. “He was about 6-8 and 200 pounds and kind of like a newborn colt, but we could see the potential in him and what he could become. We’re thankful he allowed us to coach him. Each year we’ve had him he made tremendous improvement.

“After a couple of years we could see there was no question that he could put himself in a position to be in the NBA. Joel has earned the right to be here. There aren’t a lot of guys out there that work harder than he does.”

Although he earned the right to play in the NBA, according to his coaches, the draft process is full of unknowns.

Pehl, who attended Bolomboy’s draft-watch party at his Fort Worth home, said the influx of foreign-born players clouds the certainty of players such as Bolomboy.

“We thought he’d be a first-round pick and he went a little later than expected,” Pehl said. “We were all just really happy to hear his name called.”

Rahe said Bolomboy had the rebounding abilities when he arrived at Weber State but gradually added versatility to his game.

Bolomboy added outside shooting, ball-handling and working with his back to the basket to his arsenal, Rahe said.

But Bolomboy is just as impressive off the court.

“He’s a really good player but he’s a much better person than a player,” Rahe said. “He’s got a tremendous opportunity to play with a great organization like the Jazz and we couldn’t be prouder for him.”

Pehl said he could see the difference in Bolomboy and the other players during his time at Central.

“The average parent says their kid ‘loves’ the game, but the average kid ‘likes’ the game,” Pehl said of Bolomboy’s devotion to the game.