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SEB's Wells following family tradition
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Southeast Bulloch's Jontrell Wells sinks a three pointer during the Yellow Jackets' 87-65 victory over Appling County last week in Region 1-AAA play. The son of a former SEB standout, Wells is making a name for himself on both the football field and basketball court.

    In and around Bulloch County, Jonathan Wells was known as a pretty big deal in his playing days at Southeast Bulloch High School. The multi-sport athlete, who graduated from SEB in 2001, was a standout track star, played football and basketball.
    He still holds the school 200 meter track record and was a member of the winningest basketball team in school history.
    Nonetheless, despite Wells’ accolades on the field and court, his high school career is a cautionary tale to his young sons, he said.
    “I’m a has-been,” said Wells candidly in a phone interview. “I blew out my hamstring. My legs couldn’t keep up. I tell my sons ‘Daddy didn’t make it. Don’t be like me, be better than me.’ I always tell them to be better than me.”
    That’s a tall order considering Jonathan’s name, for now, is still etched in the SEB record books. However his eldest son, Jontrell, 15, is set to follow in his father’s footsteps — but better.
    As a freshman, Jontrell was the starting cornerback for Southeast Bulloch’s football team and this year on the basketball court he’s coming into his own. Against Appling County Jan. 16, with his father and mother in attendance, Jontrell put up 19 points.
    “I’m proud,” Jonathan, father of four boys, said. “When he’s doing good it makes me proud. I tell him to make plays, not excuses. He’s always been a good kid.”
    Jontrell gets his playing ability from both sides, Jonathan explained. His mother, Martrella Rich, played basketball at Statesboro High School. She could score in the double-figures on any given night.
    Jonathan said he had Jontrell while he was still in high school. In those days, Jontrell got his first taste of sports, even if he doesn’t remember.
    “We just kind of I had Jontrell when i was young...he was a kid coming to my games and you know just sports is always what I did,” Jonathan said. “Those were some good days. Our team still holds the best record. 24-6, I think. I’m proud of that.”
    Jontrell takes basketball advice from both parents. Southeast Bulloch head basketball coach John Page describes Jontrell as “a tough player with a high basketball I.Q.” Just like his dad.
    “It’s fun. We’re having fun out there and playing team basketball. I started playing in the (recreational) league,” Jontrell said. “(My parents) help me with my dribbling and my shot. They tell me not to let other people bring me down.”
    With four younger brothers, one by his mother (Chandler Harrison) and three by his father (Ja’Quari, Jacalen and Jordan Wells), looking up to him, Jontrell said he tries to set the best example for the family when he’s on the court.
    Jontrell will still get the comparisons to his dad, of course. At the age of 15, the starting guard for SEB is taller and weighs more than his father did when he was a freshman.
    Jonathan said his son still has a lot of growing to do, both physically and mentally. Jontrell’s basketball coaches said the future is bright for the young man. His natural ability, mixed with his vocal skills as a leader makes for a great asset on the team.
    One day, Jontrell said he hopes to be recruited by a college team, something his father never had the opportunity to do because of his injuries.
    The former SEB star athlete remains active in sports in the community. He’s a part of Statesboro’s men’s basketball league and coaches in his children’s youth leagues
    However, there’s still one question about Jontrell and his father that remains a mystery—who would win in a one-on-one pick up game of basketball?
    “Oh I win, definitely. He may have told you different, but I win,” said Jontrell, smiling and laughing with his mother by his side. “My mom, I can take her. She can’t beat me.”
    Johnathan, on the other hand, has a different take on the situation.
    “He still can’t beat me yet. That comes with age and wisdom. I know his weaknesses. I push him on what he can’t do. He hates to lose. The way I see it, who likes to lose?” said Johnathan. “If it’s game-point, I’ll dunk on him.”