Saint Louis Billikens: 1-on-1 with Elliott Welmer

Few athletes have had to deal with the amount of adversity Elliott Welmer has had to deal with in a college career. In 2015, Welmer discovered he had a navicular fracture in his left foot forcing him to sit out his freshman season at Saint Louis. After returning in 2016-17 to lead the Billikens in blocked shots and second on the team in rebounds during 31 contests, he found out that he had fractured the same foot again. After two foot surgeries, two different head coaches, and each season throwing a different curveball at him, the big man stands tall ready to take on the next challenge. Now with a revamped roster and making progress in his recovery to get back on the court he looks to put the past behind him and bring SLU back to their winning ways.

Take me through your initial injury. What happened your freshman year?

I came in and played in the Bahamas my freshman year, then came into school. One of the first workouts, I started limping on it and couldn’t run or anything and that’s when they found out. It was a stress fracture. They said my foot was probably broken for a year and a half or so and I just played on it.

What did your rehab program entail?

Mostly in the pool. We have an underwater treadmill at SLU. It takes away 50% weight and formulates running again without putting a lot of pressure on the foot and really increasing that and getting back on the court to do cutting and jumping and working your way back to 100%.

What did it feel like to get back on the court?

It was an amazing feeling. These foot injuries are very difficult to handle. To be out there and play with that team, it was a great group of guys to be with. I really had a fun time even though we weren’t the greatest team.

What advice would you give to other athletes dealing with injuries?

It’s tough. It’s honestly one of the hardest things in sports to go through an injury especially one that hinders you from playing the whole year. My coaches, friends, and family give me positive vibes every day. I think anyone else going through this same situation should really turn to people who care about them and help them get through this. But at the end you can see it as a blessing because you’re taking a year off so you can try to get better in other areas so its not that you can see it going bad for you. You can turn the tables and try to get better at things you can control.

You came into a team that recently had success, but was in a rebuilding phase after several star players graduated. What was that like for you?

There was obviously frustrations from the players and coaches. We weren’t doing very well. Definitely a lot of highs, a lot of lows, but we came together as a team and thought we played our best basketball towards the end of the year. Even Coach said our team was playing with any team and competing in the A10 and had a chance to win any game.

What has it been like so far in the “Travis Ford era?”

Coach Ford is an excellent recruiter getting all these guys to come here and play. They’re very talented and we have a very exciting future ahead of us. If we can really come together as a team and play together we’ll have a chance to do some really amazing things here.

How far do you see the Billikens going this year?

{Laughs} I don’t want to say anything that might jinx us but I think we have the capability to go a long way and make the NCAA tournament if we work hard and buy into the program and do what Coach Ford and the staff has taught us. We’ll continue to do well.

What role do you see yourself in this year?

I see myself doing whatever the coaching staff and Coach Ford need. I can come in and make a shot. I feel myself as being very versatile. Being an inside and out threat I create match-up problems for other teams. If they need me to come in and defend I think my length can definitely hinder a player from trying to shoot or drive around me. Once I get my feet back I have pretty quick feet for my size.

What does your future in basketball hold?

I have two years (of eligibility) for sure left. I definitely want to exhaust my playing abilities as long as I stay healthy. I think I want to at least give the program a try somewhere overseas.

Where do you see SLU basketball going from here?

I only see the program going up from here. We got a great group of guys in right now and I feel like if we can stay together and keep the course, keep playing together, keep learning, I think the program is on its way up.

I am originally from Minnesota, currently living in Dallas, TX. I am a graduate of Saint Louis University and cover SLU Men's Basketball. Go Bills!