Joe Wells assisted at Summit for the last three seasons, all of which ended with state finals appearances. (Photo by Kris Cavin)
Joe Wells assisted at Summit for the last three seasons, all of which ended with state finals appearances. (Photo by Kris Cavin)

One of the state's top boys basketball programs has filled its head coaching vacancy.

Summit has promoted assistant Joe Wells to replace Jon Frazier, who went 215-102 in 13 seasons with the Storm, leading the team to its first state title last season.

Wells has been on the staff for the last three seasons, serving as JV head coach and varsity assistant. Wells said he will take the lessons he learned from Frazier into his first head coaching job.

“He's been a tremendous influence on me,” Wells said. “I wouldn't be in this position without him. I've been able to watch a man who's mastered the organization, the mechanisms of a program. So when this opportunity came up, I was like, 'Yeah, I'm definitely ready for this.' Hopefully I can carry on what he's built and build upon it.”

Wells was officially hired June 1 and has been coaching the Storm in summer ball. Frazier said that Wells is the right coach to carry the torch forward.

“His understanding of our community, our culture, the kids in our program, it's made the transition seamless,” Frazier said. “He's adopting a lot of the stuff we've done over the last decade, and he's putting his own fingerprints on it. The kids are really excited about having him lead the charge. All in all, I think it's just a home-run hire.”

The 6-foot-8 Wells played at North Salem (2002 graduate) and Linfield College. He coached AAU teams in Salem from 2008 to 2010, but after earning his master's degree at Willamette University, he got into banking and left basketball for about a decade.

He moved to Bend in 2020 and started coaching AAU teams again with Boss Sports Performance, which is run his friend, Kevin Boss. When Summit needed an assistant coach in 2021, Boss helped connect Wells and Frazier.

Wells assisted Frazier as Summit reached three consecutive state championship games. The Storm lost in the 6A final in 2022 and the 5A final in 2023 before winning the 5A title this year, beating Wilsonville 52-50 on a buzzer-beating alley-oop.

Frazier said Wells was instrumental in the development in two of Summit's elite players in 6-6 Caden Harris, a 2022 graduate who plays at Chico State, and 6-7 Pearson Carmichael, a senior who has signed with Boise State.

“Two of our high-level state players, he put in a ton of time and effort, especially away from practice,” Frazier said.

With his contributions in player development, game preparation, scouting and facilitating the team's culture, Wells was a key factor in Summit's success, according to Frazier.

“If there's one thing he does exceptionally well, he's just tremendous with relationships,” Frazier said. “His ability to relate to kids and create an environment in the gym, where the kids just love being, that's something he's amazing at.”

Wells said he was comfortable in his role as assistant and had no designs on leaving Summit. He admitted he was caught off-guard by Frazier's resignation.

“I had no clue it was even on the radar,” Wells said. “He called me and said, 'Hey, I'm going to retire.' I was like, 'All right, I'm ready.' I've been ready to be a head coach for a while, it just needed to be the right fit. I pinch myself often at the idea of getting my first opportunity at such a beautiful program, school and community.”

Wells takes over a team that graduated five starters and eight players who got the majority of the minutes. He will build around a nucleus of four juniors who were on the varsity roster, including 6-1 guard Rowan Blossey and 6-3 forward Kai Scalley.

“They got to practice with some pretty phenomenal basketball players last season,” Wells said. “They know what it takes. I'm lucky enough to have guys that are gym rats and love the game.”

“They have an opportunity to do something pretty special. We're a different breed of basketball team. We're going to have to do a lot of things by committee.”

Frazier believes Summit can be a playoff contender.

“There's a chance they could be one of those top eight teams that gets to state,” Frazier said. “They've got a ton of shooters.”

Frazier will remain involved in the program. He will be available to Wells as an advisor and scout, but won't be at practice every day and won't be on the bench for games.

Frazier will concentrate on developing Summit's youth program. His son, Grey, will enter the fifth grade this year.

“I'll be heavily involved on the younger side,” Frazier said.