This week, TSL took some time to get to know Cleveland native and senior basketball standout John Weiss PO ’14. A mathematical economics major and converted baseball player, the Pomona-Pitzer center is coming off a solid junior campaign in which he played a key role on both ends of the court for the Sagehens. Weiss started all 24 games last season and finished first on the team in steals per game with 1.6, second in rebounds per game with 5.2, and fifth in points with 7.3 per game. To start off this season, Weiss scored 18 points and had a team-high nine rebounds in P-P’s 80-77 opening victory over No. 15 St. Thomas University.
TSL: How and when did you start playing basketball?
John Weiss: I think I started playing when I was eight or nine years old. I didn’t have any video games or anything when I was younger, so I’d just go outside and shoot hoops for hours. I’d throw them in one-handed until I could shoot them with two hands. I played a lot more baseball when I was younger, and then switched to basketball. All throughout high school I played baseball and was actually looking to be recruited for it in college. When I got to Pomona, I thought I might be able to play basketball so I talked to the coach, tried out, and then made the team. I’m definitely glad it worked out the way it did.
TSL: What position do you play?
JW: I play center even though I’m a little undersized for it. Usually the guys I go up against are a little taller and bigger, but I have some quickness advantages.
TSL: How tall are you?
JW: 6’6″. We’re playing Biola [University] tonight and the guy I’m going up against is 6’7″, so we’ll see how that goes.
TSL: Is there anything in particular that you like about basketball?
JW: I like the pace of it. It’s a little more upbeat than, say, baseball. I really like the team. That’s the biggest thing for me. Playing with the teammates here, it’s the closest I’ve felt with a group of guys. I think we all get along really well; we’ve all pretty much been playing together for three years. It’s just a fun experience, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
TSL: Did your family influence you in any way?
JW: I actually think they probably wanted me to play baseball. They watched me play so much baseball over the years and everyone invested so much time and energy into it. But they’re also really supportive. They come out a few times a year all the way from Cleveland to see me play, which is really nice. I think they’re also just happy to see me play.
TSL: Have you had any memorable games?
JW: Last Friday against St. Thomas was pretty impressive and the first game of the year. Also, the season opener last year against Westmont was pretty memorable. We beat Biola last year for the first time since Coach Kat [Charles Katsiaficas] has been here, which was a fun thing to be a part of. And of course all the CMS [Claremont-Mudd-Scripps] games are always really high energy. I love playing in front of those crowds.
TSL: Does the team do anything for bonding?
JW: We have an intramural softball team. We all come together in the spring after the season ends and compete in IM softball. With a baseball background, it’s especially fun for me. It kind of shows how close the team is; everyone has a lot of fun with it. We take it seriously, but not that seriously. It’s just a good time.
TSL: Are you involved with any other extra curricular activities?
JW: I’m the economics department liaison, but basketball is such a big commitment I don’t do much else.
TSL: Who do you root for and who are your favorite players?
JW: Since I’m from Cleveland, I root for all three Cleveland sports teams: Indians, Cavaliers, and Browns. My favorite player right now is probably Kyrie Irving, who plays for the Cavaliers. He’s their all-star point guard. It’s kind of difficult to be a Cleveland sports fan, we don’t really win very often.