From Woodland rivals to future teammates
Pelkofer, Molter earn NOW hoops honors, off to Carroll
When Dave Buchanan returned to the area to take over as head men's basketball coach at Carroll University, he had a pretty good idea where he was going to spend some time mining talent.
The former Greenfield Hustlin' Hawks coach has remained friends with several of the Woodland Conference coaches he matched wits with for five years. Heck, his former assistant Jim Nowak is running his old program. And Buchanan knows just what he'd be getting if he finds talent in the league he once won with the Hawks.
"Year in and year out, there will always be quality basketball players that are always well-coached and that are underrated," Buchanan said. "Eisenhower won state a few years back. So did New Berlin West. You know that you can trust the feedback from the coaches. The coaches there all know what kind of student-athlete I'm looking for and the kind of program we're running, and we have and always will keep our eye on that conference for talented players."
Archrivals become teammates
Buchanan's second recruiting class at Carroll will include two such gems: Greenfield's Alec Molter and Whitnall's Will Pelkofer, a pair of seniors that have been named to the 2010 NOW All-Suburban Boys Basketball Team.
The 6-foot Pelkofer averaged a NOW-area best 23.4 points per game to go along with 3.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.5 steals. He was the only player on his team to average more than 8.8 points per game. Just miles down the road, Molter, 6-6, similarly carried the load for Hawks. His 16.1 points per game was almost double any of his teammates' season averages.
The players were not friends prior to committing to Carroll, but now consider themselves acquaintances and will room together next fall.
"The Whitnall-Greenfield rivalry will find a common ground," Buchanan said. "It will be neat for them to be teammates and roommates as opposed to archrivals. They get to play together as opposed to plotting and scheming against each other.
"And in both players cases, you see two young men that are just scratching the surface of what they can do."
Pelkofer's varsity legacy
Pelkofer, the Woodland Black Division co-player of the year, is the more seasoned of the two, having spent his entire four-year high school career on the varsity. The determined and athletic guard was the only player in the NOW coverage area to surpass 1,000 career points (1,166) and at least the second to do so in school history, joining his cousin Jarrod Pelkofer, who tallied 1,464 through 2004.
"We used to play all the time," Will Pelkofer said of his cousin. "When I was a little kid, I used to work with him in the backyard. He (and Will's father) taught me all the tricks of the trade to make me a better basketball player."
Those tricks included a propensity to make tough shots in the lane, range matched by few players in the area, and a knack to be as disruptive on defense as he is explosive on offense.
"I said last year that I thought he was going to be one of the best seniors in the area," Whitnall coach Kent Kroupa said. "That bore out to be true. He's got the heart of a champion. He's got a perfect first name: Will. He's got will, he's got desire, he's got heart. It's a perfect first name for him."
Pelkofer will be attending Carroll to become a nurse practitioner and believes he has a good opportunity to play for Buchanan quickly. Buchanan was impressed with Pelkofer's total game.
"He shoots the ball very well but will surprise you by going off the dribble and dunking the ball, and everything in between," Buchanan said. "It's nice to see that completeness at such a young age.
"The other thing that impresses about Will is his motor. He plays hard the entire game. Just playing with a constant energy is very impressive. He's only going to get better."
Molter's sudden rise
Molter's ascension was a bit more rapid. After averaging 9.7 points per game as a junior, the skilled big man turned into a complete player on both ends of the court, boosting his scoring average by 6.4 points while also blocking 5.2 shots per game and pulling down 11.5 rebounds, one of just three players in the NOW area to average a double-double.
"Alec might be one of the most improved players in the whole state," Buchanan said. "At first, he was just playing basketball because he was big, but his ability to block shots, change shots and his post moves - he has a tremendous future, a big-time upside and he's a big strong kid that can be a dominant post player in our conference."
Molter, a first-team all-Woodland Black Division selection, was also popular among area hoops enthusiasts. For the first time ever, fans were able to help select the NOW team via online voting. Molter was the highest vote-getter with 385.
"I kind of marketed myself," Molter said. "I told a couple of my close friends and they spread the word. I told my family and they voted a lot. People were coming up to me in the hall saying, 'Hey, I'm voting for you.' It was pretty cool."
Molter, who will play baseball at Carroll as well, hopes to add more muscle to his large frame before hitting the court for Buchanan's Pioneers.
"I'm going to have to get a lot stronger and bigger," Molter said. "I'm a big guy and I'm not very fast. I never have been all my life. I want to get bigger and faster, and hopefully I can be unstoppable on the college level. That's my goal."
Past Hawks on the NOW All-Suburban team:
03-04: Dave Keane, senior forward
01-02: Dave Buchanan, Coach of the Year
98-99: Nick Smith, senior forward*
97-98: Smith, junior forward
Past Falcons to make the team:
08-09: Bryan Stave, senior forward
03-04: Jarrod Pelkofer, junior guard
96-97: Brian Suggs, senior center
95-96: Zach Kulasa, senior forward
90-91: Glen Allen, senior forward*
89-90: Eric Williams, senior guard;
Allen, junior forward
* Player of the Year
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Football: Preps football photos of the week: Aug. 29
- Football: Germantown overwhelms Greenfield in Koch's debut
- Whitnall football team looks to bounce back in 2014 with new coach
- Greenfield football team shooting for WIAA playoff spot under Joe Koch
- Joe Koch takes program-building talents to new challenge at Greenfield
- Whitnall Falcons struggled with consistency in 2014 baseball season
- Library Recommendations: August 7
- Greenfield baseball season ended by Woodland rival West in regional
- Baseball: Franklin finally finds its bats, collects big hits in rout of Whitnall
- Whitnall closes out regular baseball season with victory over Lions