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Young and the Restless: Weaver Flies High
In January, Basketball Times, a publication covering collegiate basketball for over 25 years, ranked Liberty's 2008 recruiting class at No. 48 in the nation.
The Basketball Times ranked its Top 50, and Liberty joined No. 26 Xavier, No. 31 Rhode Island, No. 36 Fresno State, No. 36 New Mexico, No. 36 St. Louis, No. 41 Dayton, No. 50 Hofstra and No. 50 Gonzaga as the only schools that are not a part of a BCS football power conference.
After the Basketball Times Top 50 list came out, Liberty added Jesse Sanders and Weaver to its incoming class, which would have given the Flames a higher place in the Top 50. Weaver decommitted from a verbal agreement with Ivy League member Weaver to attend Liberty, while Sanders did the same at Rice.
The honored recruiting class is now on campus and LibertyFlames.com has highlighed each freshman in this seven-part series.
Weaver (Hampton, Va.), a 6-4 guard, led his Bethel High School squad to the Virginia AAA State Championship game, where his Bruins squad fell to T.C. Williams. Weaver averaged 16.3 ppg and 8.1 rpg during Bethel's 30-2 season. During the postseason, Weaver tallied 20.2 ppg and 9.1 rpg, as Bethel lost its first and last games of the year, while recording 30 consecutive wins between setbacks.
As a senior, Weaver was a McDonald's All-America nominee, while earning all-district and all-region honors. Weaver originally verbally committed to Brown, but re-opened his recruiting search when Bears' head coach Craig Robinson left for the head coaching job at Oregon State.
Ritchie McKay's Quote Upon Signing Bill Weaver
"I am really excited that there was a player of Bill's caliber still available late," said McKay. "Liberty is very fortunate to get a student-athlete with the athletic ability and academic foundation Bill Weaver possesses. Bill comes from a very successful program at Bethel, and he will be a great representative of Liberty University."
Sitting Down with Bill Weaver
Why did you decide to attend Liberty?
I think Coach McKay is one of the best coaches in the nation. He has been compared to the likes of Coach K at Duke and North Carolina's Roy Williams and I felt playing for him could be one of the best things I could do in my basketball career. I know I will learn a lot from him and coming to this school is going to give me a chance to redefine myself.
What was it about Coach McKay that made you want to come and play for him?
When we first talked on the phone, I could tell he was a cool guy and somebody I could relate to. You can get along with him, but he means business too, when it comes to basketball. He is a coach who actually cares about his players and not trying to benefit himself. He wants to benefit his players.
You previously committed to Brown, but when they had a coaching change last spring you reopened the recruiting process, including looking at Brown as an option. What was it about Liberty that enticed you away from the Ivy League?
When I decommitted from Brown and opened my recruitment, I didn't know much about Liberty. Coach McKay and Coach [Jason} Eaker called me and explained what Liberty was all about. They told me about the Christian environment and all the opportunities that I could have here. They told me about how nice the facilities and everything are. They sold me on it.
What does it feel like to be a part of a Top 50 recruiting class?
It's an honor. A lot of kids that play collegiate basketball can't say they were a part of a Top 50 class. All these guys in this recruiting class have something special to bring to the team and I am glad I can be a part of that.
You spent some time on campus this summer going to school and playing pickup games with most of the team. This is the first time you guys have all been together. How did you feel the team jelled?
When we first got together this summer, we all tried to find our niche on the team. We all have formed together very nicely, and everybody knows how each one plays. We hang together on and off the court, which helps our team's chemistry.
How important is chemistry?
Team chemistry is one of the most important things in basketball. You can't be a team of five individuals. You need five team players as one unit. As long as you play together, you will be unstoppable.
Your high school team at Bethel won 30 straight games last season, a streak snapped in the Virginia State Championship game. What can you bring from that experience to Liberty?
I had leadership on that team and even though I am a freshman, I know I can bring those leadership qualities to this team. Having a winning personality brings competitiveness and makes not only me better, but everyone else around me better, if I go hard every day.
Thus far, how has the Liberty experience been for you?
It has been a good experience so far. Everyone is nice Liberty. You might not know someone, but there is always that one person who will go out of their way to come and talk to you, and get to know you. The facilities on campus are great and there are a lot of things to do. It's a real nice school.
In your short time in Lynchburg, have you found a favorite hangout yet?
Most of the guys on the team go Buffalo Wild Wings on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Who in the team would fit well at West Beverly Hills High on the New 90210?
David Minaya. He dresses smooth and is a smart and intellectual individual. When it comes to all that drama those shows produce, David wouldn't be afraid to get loud and keep everyone accountable, but will be there laughing and joking with them afterwards, making him the dude that wouldn't hold stupid stuff against anybody.
Behind the Young and the Restless Schedule
Aug. 21 – Seth Curry
Aug. 28 – Brolin Floyd
Sept. 4 – Carter McMasters
Sept. 11 – Jesse Sanders
Sept. 18 – Austin Smith
Sept. 25 – Johnny Stephene
Oct. 2 – Bill Weaver