Of the seven seniors on the Harvard roster for the upcoming season four spend time at either the small or power forward position, led by Wesley Saunders, Jonah Travis and Steve Moundou-Missi. With this being the case adding a small forward in the Class of 2015 was something that would benefit head coach Tommy Amaker and his program moving forward, and that goal was accomplished Friday afternoon.
6-foot-7 small forward Weisner Perez, who is from Berwyn, Illinois and attends Morton West HS, announced his decision to join the Harvard program next season. Perez is a very good student, and he chose Harvard over Ivy League foes Brown and Cornell.
So what makes this junior basketball player so in demand? “I’m third in my class,” Perez reveals of his academic success, a statement he follows with a proud smile. He allows no room for scheduling conflicts between basketball and school work because he knows the vital role his academic success plays in the offers he’s receiving, especially the role it will play in his future. “At some point in every player’s life, the ball stops bouncing,” says Perez. At sixteen, the young player knows the reality behind his stellar physical performance and that it will inevitably come to an end one day. “God forbid I get an injury, then what? I can’t put my future solely on basketball.”
Perez played for the Mac Irvin Fire program this summer, and he was also able to represent the Dominican Republic in the FIBA Americas Under-18 Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Perez averaged 9.6 points and 7.0 rebounds in five games with the Dominican Republic U18 team, helping lead the squad to a bronze medal at the event.
The bronze was the first medal in the history of the event for the Dominican Republic, which qualified for next summer’s FIBA U19 World Championships as a result.
While Harvard does lose some key pieces at the forward spots at the end of the 2014-15 season, by no means will the Crimson have an empty cupboard next year. Among the returnees are junior Agunwa Okolia, sophomore Zena Edsomwan and freshman Chris Egi. Perez has worked to improve his perimeter skill set throughout the course of his high school career, and he performed well on a Mac Irvin Fire team that included Villanova commit Jalen Brunson and Nebraska commit Ed Morrow.