“I mean it’s great just all the uncertainty being able to get back into the gym with the guys practicing a lot and playing more games than usual it’s just really great to be back in the gym”
Throughout most of the winter, Ben Schweiger and the rest of the Waubonsie Valley boys basketball team were uncertain a high school season would be able to happen due to COVID-19 concerns. However, in late January, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the IHSA both agreed that basketball would be able to return to competition once the state’s regions returned to Phase 4.
Once DuPage County hit that milestone in early February, Schwieger and the Warriors got to work right away and haven’t missed a beat. As the 6 foot 6 shooting guard enters his senior season, Schwieger believes that basketball has always been the sport that fits him best.
“I just feel like with basketball I can do the most with it I can be creative and even when I was like feeling sad or anything I can just go outside and shoot and it would just bring me peace.”
Schwieger began his varsity career as a sophomore for a Warrior team had many upper classmen, including Marcus Skeete, Darien Porter and Eric Cannon. That Warriors squad also won the program’s first regional title in over a decade. Ever since earning his first varsity minutes, Schwieger knew he had to be ready for whatever role the team needed.
“I think it’s just committing 100 percent to your role on the team so Sophomore year I was a spot up shooter and I committed myself to that role, junior year our seniors graduated and now there’s all that minutes and all those points that are just up in the air so I kind of had to grab those and fill those shoes and now this year it’s the same thing. We lost Marcus Skeete, Mason Marinelli and Krishan Kamal so those are just more spots that just need to be filled.”
Head Coach Jason Mead originally brought him up as a 3-point shooter but he knew Schwieger had more in his tool kit than just hitting buckets from deep.
“He gave us something that we needed. We needed a little more length off the bench when he was a Sophomore we had a very senior heavy team that and that was that was kind of just a niche role that was missing and he filled it pretty well. He did a nice job. He’s had a lot of success offensively he’s been very versatile for us defensively as he’s grown”
It wasn’t always an easy road for Schwieger. Despite averaging 16.4 points per game and being a part of the all DVC team his junior year, Schwieger was dealing with multiple injuries towards the end of the season. However that did not stop the rest of the Warriors from continuing their winning ways.
“First few games it was really tough sitting on the sidelines not being able to help my team out. But I mean I think they did an amazing job playing without me. There was a lot of talent on that team and some of that talent was overlooked and I feel like when I came out they stepped up and filled their roles and they really showed how great that team was.”
It’s not just the basketball court where the highflying senior shines. Schwieger will also continue his varsity career as a member of the Waubonsie Valley boy’s volleyball team. After having no season his junior year because of COVID-19 Schwieger looks to make one last stand his senior year.
After high school Schweiger will continue his Basketball career at Loyola- Chicago, a team that made a Cinderella run to the Final 4 during his freshman year in High School. With the Ramblers, Schwieger will also be playing alongside former Naperville North Huskie Tom Welch, while under the tutelage of head coach Porter Moser, another Naperville native.
As Schwieger finishes out his senior season, Coach Mead realizes it will be strange to no longer be coaching this standout player he’s seen blossom over the past half decade.
“Ben it’s somebody that spent a lot of time with for the last 3 years. I knew him when he was freshman. He came to an 8th grade camp; I’ve know him for 5 years basically. It’s going to be different not being around Ben.”
Reporting for Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Patrick Codo.