The One Reason Tim Wendel Keeps Breaking Records. And It Doesn’t Have to Do With His Height.

January 18, 2019

When Tim Wendel has a basketball in his hands, you know something exciting will happen.

Coupled with his size (6’6”) and strength, his incredible athleticism and ball-handling allows Wendel to finish plays at the rim and to roll off defenders.

Wendel leads in scoring, steals, rebounds, and more among DIII (NCAA III) college players. Fans anticipate a great year for Wendel as he closes in on 1,516 points, a school record. Wendel already leads the team with 368 points this season. He joined the 1,000 point club on December 7th at a game against University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Yet, it’s the story of how he ended up at Crown, and his real passion for nursing and ministry, that drives him the most.


Missionary background

At the age of four, Wendel moved from Chicago to Tres Cantos, Spain, where his parents, Tim and Melanie Wendel, were church planters. From there he moved to Montevideo, Uruguay, at the age of 15 when his parents received a promotion as the Latin America Regional Director Couple for the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

From a young age, his parents instilled the importance of going to church on Sundays.

“I wasn’t allowed to play basketball on Sundays,” says Wendel. “Unfortunately, we had a few games on Sundays that I had to miss because of church.”


Basketball career

Wendel decided at a young age that he wanted to pursue basketball.

Overseas, Wendel only played on nine-month club basketball teams. There is no such thing as a four or five month season like there is in the US.

“The positive thing about playing club basketball is that I got to play and focus on this one sport almost all year,” says Wendel. “My time and energy weren’t split between multiple sports like most kids growing up in America.”

This dedicated time allowed Wendel to develop his craft as a player.

Around campus, Wendel is not only known for his height but for his love for the Lord and leadership, both on and off the court. Anyone who knows Wendel respects him for the high standards he sets for himself and his desire to help others.

“Everyone looks to him for a lot of things, both on and off the court. He’s a great role model and always gives 100%,” says Coach Inder Singh. Wendel has played basketball in three different countries at many different levels so he tries to help his teammates see what he’s seeing on the court and give them a better chance to win.

What sets Wendel apart? Coaches say it’s his incredibly versatile set of skills. “He is capable of doing everything on the court–not just doing it but doing it great. Tim starts at the wing for us but he’s also a back-up center and back-up point guard for us,” says Coach Singh.


College Career

Another important point to make about Wendel: it’s about more than basketball.

He began his college search by looking for an institution with both a basketball program and his chosen major — nursing. He applied to many DIII schools. However, once he stepped foot on Crown’s campus, he felt like it was where God needed him.

“I love Crown because of the people and the diversity. Crown is a small school but there are a bunch of countries and states represented, which I think is pretty cool and unique,” says Wendel.

He chose the Nursing program at Crown because he’s always had an interest to work in healthcare and loves science classes. He felt like choosing nursing was the most natural step as he entered college to fulfill his dream of becoming a physician assistant.

Wendel believes there’s a strong correlation between how you handle yourself on the court and how you handle yourself in life. “If you aren’t giving it all on the court, you’re probably not giving it your all in real life,” he says.

Dr. Stacy Ingraham, Professor of Exercise Science, describes Wendel as an outstanding student and athlete. “Tim is an influential person, not because of his height, but because of his heart,” she says. “Tim’s passion for the Lord and his diligence to use his God-given abilities to reflect excellence does not go unnoticed.”

In addition to volunteering at the local food pantry to organize food every year, Wendel also serves in the basketball clinic the team organizes in a nearby community. Wendel values helping others and being an example — one of the main reasons he’s decided to pursue Nursing at Crown.

Wendel’s family plays a key role in his support system, even across the world. He talks to his dad before and after every game, and his mom watches the livestream every chance she can.

As a true team player, beating the record is not Wendel’s top priority.

“I met Tim our freshman year of college and knew right away he was someone I wanted to be good friends with,” says Kole Jusczak, fellow teammate. “From his genuine conversations that almost always start with, ‘how are you?’ to the way he treats all his peers with kindness—I knew then as I know now, he’s an upstanding Christian guy. “

It seems everyone who knows Wendel would agree.