The 7-foot Welp, who died of an apparent heart attack, played at Olympic High School in Central Kitsap after his German countryman, Detlef Schrempf, had recommended the Washington program to him.
Christian Welp, the leading scorer in Washington men’s basketball history, died in a place close to where his career in the U.S. was launched, a family friend said Monday.
Tim Burnham, a former UW football player and friend of Welp since their days at the school overlapped in the 1980s, said Welp was found Sunday by another friend who had accompanied him to Welp’s vacation home on Hood Canal in Kitsap County.
Welp, 51, died of an apparent heart attack, Burnham said, although the friend, and later paramedics, administered CPR.
The 7-foot Welp played at nearby Olympic High School, after his German countryman, Detlef Schrempf, had recommended the Washington program to him. Welp would go on to score 2,073 points and help Washington to two Pac-10 basketball titles in the mid-1980s.
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“Chris loved it over there on Hood Canal,” said Burnham, who indicated Welp had bought the property after he joined the Philadelphia 76ers in 1987, when he was selected with the 16th overall pick in the NBA draft. “He would go over there with two, three, five or six friends and just have an awesome time.”
No services have been scheduled.
Welp was No. 10 on the Pac-12 career scoring list before being passed this year by Stanford’s Chasson Randle. Welp had a three-year NBA career marred by a significant knee injury, followed by a long European stint with teams in Germany, Greece and Italy.
Denny Huston, a former assistant to Welp’s college coach at Washington, Marv Harshman, remembered Schrempf as the contemporary who helped mold Welp.
“Detlef is the one that really got him there (to the UW) for us,” Huston said. “I’ll tell you what, he kept him in line all the time as well. He was very critical of him. But in the same breath, he grew like crazy because of Detlef.”
After his basketball days, Welp worked at Burnham’s construction-supply business in Woodinville, deepening the friendship of the two former Huskies.
“He was a great friend and a great employee,” Burnham said.
Burnham remembered giving Welp a hard time once in college about how he handled a breakaway basket.
“Why didn’t you just tomahawk-dunk the thing?” Burnham asked.
“Why, it’s only worth two points,” Welp replied, which, Burnham says now, “was so Chris. He was not that flashy kind of guy.”
Burnham said he has been “inundated with Facebook, text messages and e-mails” since Welp’s death. He said Welp was “not heavy” and mindful of his diet, but had recently complained of chest discomfort and “I believe they were talking about getting him in to a doctor.”
Welp is survived by his wife, Melanie, sons, Collin and Nick, and an adult daughter, Allison, from a previous marriage.