Q&A

Senior Sendoff: Waller Perez

We’ve got our last sendoff, on deck. Let us see what Waller Perez has learned over his four years at UChicago.

Waller Perez, No. 10, Forward

What has been the best part about being a member of the Maroons?
 
The best part of being a member of the University of Chicago men’s basketball team has been the relationships that I was fortunate enough to develop over the years. In addition, I enjoyed being able to visit the extraordinary locations we traveled to.
 
What about of being a UChicago student?
 
I enjoyed the intellectual discourse that I would have with my friends because I believe it has helped me grow as an individual. In addition, I was exposed to people from different parts of the world which I found to be one of my favorite parts of being a UChicago student.
 
Of all the time you’ve spent playing over the last four years, what is your favorite on-court memory?
 
There are many. However, one of my favorite on-court memories was when Jake Fenlon poster-dunked an opponent. In addition, I enjoyed beating WashU who was ranked No.1 in the country my sophomore year.
 
And how about when it comes to off-the-court, with teammates?
 
Off-the-court, I enjoyed traveling to Australia and New Zealand. That was my absolute favorite experience with my teammates.
 
Is there a certain matchup you’ve always looked forward to?
 
I have always looked forward to playing against WashU, Emory, and Carnegie. To me, they were the most physical teams we competed against.
 
What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten, during your time as a Maroon?
 
I was once told by a mentor that work ethic always catches up to you. I have been a huge believer of that ever since.
 
What words of wisdom do you have for the teammates you’re leaving behind?
 
Always cherish your time as a UChicago Maroon, because time does go by faster than you think.
 
What will you miss most about UChicago, as a whole?
 
I will certainly miss being able to see my friends on the daily. I will also miss the Summer Breeze concerts that I have attended in the past years.
Looking back, is there anything you’d do differently here?
 
Nothing. My college experience was full of learning lessons and I would not exchange my experiences for other ones.

Senior Sendoff: Blaine Crawford

Another sendoff is here. This time Blaine Crawford takes a stroll down memory lane.

Blaine Crawford, No. 44, Forward

Senior Sendoff: Tyler Howard

Today, it is time for Tyler Howard to do a little reflecting on the last four years…

Tyler Howard, No. 11, Guard

 

What has been the best part about being a member of the Maroons?

Making lifelong friendships with such an amazing group of guys, and being able to travel the country (and world) with them. We had some unbelievable experiences together, that I will remember for the rest of my life.

What about of being a UChicago student?

The most rewarding aspect about being a student at UChicago is the exposure to so many brilliant people from around the world, and listening to their unique perspectives and beliefs. The discussions with my peers and faculty members have been instrumental to my growth as a person over the last four years.

Of all the time you’ve spent playing over the last four years, what is your favorite on-court memory?

My favorite on-court memory is actually a game I didn’t play in, when sophomore Noah Karras broke the school record and made 11 three’s against Case at home! It was amazing to see him step up and put the team on his back. Every time he shot a three, the entire gym thought it was going in, and it was awesome celebrating with the guys on the bench after each one.

And how about when it comes to off-the-court, with teammates?

I would say the entire Australia/New Zealand trip was the best two weeks of my life. My favorite memories from that trip always started when the song ‘Energy’ by Drake came on… it always put us in the right mindset to keep our energy up throughout the trip, even if we were exhausted!

Is there a certain matchup you’ve always looked forward to?

When I was a freshman, I loved being on WashU’s scout team because their offense was a blast and I always had the green light to shoot! Throughout my career, my favorite in-practice matchup has been with my arch-nemesis: Alex Goose Gustafson. We always matched up when we played one-on-one, and during shooting drills we kept track of our made shots to make it a competition. Even with one leg, Goose always gave me a run for my money! I also can’t forget to mention the rivalry I had my senior year with freshman Cole Schmitz. Cole was much more skilled and physically gifted than I was, so whenever we matched up, I used my veteran instinct and mental edge to gain the advantage… I’m excited to see if he uses any of the moves I taught him next season!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten, during your time as a Maroon?

There are so many incredible words of wisdom passed down from alums over the years, but I think the one that will stick with me the most is something my good friend Adam Butterfield once told me: “call everyone’s bluff.”

What words of wisdom do you have for the teammates you’re leaving behind?

Enjoy every moment with your teammates!

What will you miss most about UChicago, as a whole?

I’ll miss seeing my teammates and friends everyday, and having the freedom to decide what I do with my schedule.

Looking back, is there anything you’d do differently here?

I wouldn’t change a thing!

Any last words?

I can’t thank my parents and family enough for all their support throughout my basketball career, and my time as student. Without them, there is no way I would be where I am today.

Senior Sendoff: Alex Gustafson

As the 2016-17 seniors get ready to graduate, they take a minute to reflect back on their four years as a University of Chicago Maroon. First up? Alex Gustafson.

Alex Gustafson, No. 20, Guard

What has been the best part about being a member of the Maroons?

Definitely the lifelong friendships I’ve made with guys on the team over my entire four years. I can’t imagine being closer with such a large group of guys, and I’m extremely lucky and thankful to call them my best friends.

What about of being a UChicago student?

The learning that has taken place outside of the classroom. I’ve met such a wide variety of people who constantly push me in new ways I had never explored before coming here, and that’s been really interesting and fulfilling over the years.

Of all the time you’ve spent playing over the last four years, what is your favorite on-court memory?

One particular moment that stands out to me was my freshman year, when senior Charlie Hughes physically couldn’t help himself from throwing his hands in the air when he was getting yelled at for something trivial. So we all had to run down and back…twice. Also up there is every Goose-cut Eric Robinson and I connected on, over the years.

And how about when it comes to off-the-court, with teammates?

There are too many to choose from for this one, but if I had to narrow it down I would say our trip to New Zealand and Australia.

Is there a certain matchup you’ve always looked forward to?

I always loved watching our team try to hold the other team’s best player to below his average. That was usually pretty entertaining.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten, during your time as a Maroon?

While a lot of wisdom has been bestowed upon us by alums, what sticks out most comes from 2014 graduate Derrick Davis who constantly told me, “Never speculate – it can only lead to disappointment.”

What words of wisdom do you have for the teammates you’re leaving behind?

Try to not only push through, but also enjoy the tough days of Maroons basketball. In whatever you’re doing, try to make as many memories as possible with your teammates.

What will you miss most about UChicago, as a whole?

I’ll miss all of the spontaneity that comes with being in college, and with respect to UChicago specifically, I’ll miss the plethora of interesting people I would interact with on a day-to-day basis. This school fosters a unique environment that can’t be emulated in the real world, and I’ll likely miss that the most.

Looking back, is there anything you’d do differently here?

I wish I had gotten more plugged into the non-athletic community at UChicago. It was easy to fall into a rut of hanging out with mostly athletes, given that we spent so much time at Ratner. But I wish I had made more of an effort to get to know a more diverse group of people.

Any last words?

Just one last thank you to my family for all of their love and support over the years! Roll Roons!

Get To Know: Jake Berhorst

Who? Jake Berhorst. Guard. 6-2. 180. No. 23.

From? Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

High school? Badger.

Studying? Economics.

“Jake has a nice combination offensively between his shooting ability and ability to get to the basket. He handles the ball well and has good quickness which allows him to create for others.” -Coach Mike McGrath.

What sealed the deal on you coming to play basketball for UChicago? “The great group of guys within the program, the incredible academics, and the diverse opportunities offered through the city are three of the main things that sealed the deal on me coming to UChicago.”

What is your favorite thing about Hyde Park, so far? “My favorite thing about Hyde Park so far would have to be the food, we can go out to eat somewhere new every night if we wanted to.”

What NBA player(s) would you compare your game to? “My game can probably best be described as a mix between Peja Stojakovic and Steve Nash.”

What is your favorite meal ever? “My favorite meal ever would have to be ham-steak, corn, and potatoes (S/O Mom).” 

What class at UChicago are you most looking forward to taking?  “I am most excited to begin taking Econ classes to start settling into my major and gaining knowledge that can supplement my career.”

What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from your teammates going into your first season? “I’m not sure if I could narrow it down to one piece of advice from my teammates, but they have been extremely helpful and resourceful when it comes to any questions we might have for them.”

What television show could you binge watch forever? “Grey’s Anatomy.”

What is your favorite sneaker of all time? “Air Force Ones (S/O Ryan Shearmire).”

Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat? “SnapChat: thejakeberhorst.”

Do you have any weird pregame rituals? “A weird part about my pregame ritual is that I have never really had a set pregame ritual. I kind of just go with the flow of the day and prepare for the game as best as I can.”

Get To Know: Sam Sustacek

Who? Sam Sustacek. Center. 6-8. 215. No. 33

From? Plymouth, Minnesota.

High school? Orono.

Studying? Economics.

“Sam is an excellent passer as a post player and he is very willing to play hard and physical. Those are traits that are often hard to find in post recruits. His work ethic and competitiveness are definite strengths.” -Coach Mike McGrath.

What sealed the deal on you coming to play basketball for UChicago? “Being at a fantastic school in such a wonderful city were huge selling points for me. I also had a blast on my visits and really liked the guys and coaches.”

What is your favorite thing about Hyde Park, so far? “Harold’s Chicken Shack. Sensational.”

What NBA player(s) would you compare your game to? “Dirk Nowitzki. I have a weird shot, I’m tall and have floppy blonde hair, but I can still hoop.”

What is your favorite meal ever? “My mom’s chicken pot pie.”

 What song and/or album gets you going most before a game? “Sneakin’ by 21 Savage and Drake.”

What class at UChicago are you most looking forward to taking? “American Sign Language.”

Assemble a dream team starting five of current NBA players…

PG-Mike Conley

SG-James Harden

SF-Kawhi Leonard

PF-Blake Griffen

C-Karl Anthony-Towns.”

What is your favorite basketball moment so far in your life? “The two state tournaments I played in during high school.”

What is your favorite sneaker of all time? “Kyrie 1s.”

Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat? “Twitter and Instagram: @samsusty.”

 

Get To Know: Jordan Baum

Who? Jordan Baum. Guard. 6-3. 182. No. 24.

From? Deerfield, Illinois.

High school? Deerfield.

Studying? Economics.

“Jordan has a terrific feel for the game. He shoots well and is an excellent passer. He really sees the floor well. We are excited about his versatility.” -Coach Mike McGrath.

What sealed the deal on you coming to play basketball for UChicago?The biggest reason I chose UChicago over other schools was the complete dedication to academics while simultaneously remaining competitive year in and year out in athletics.”

What is your favorite thing about Hyde Park, so far?  “I love how there is such easy access to restaurants and stores in every direction, but at the same time Hyde Park has its own very unique vibe that is different from the downtown area.”

What NBA player(s) would you compare your game to?I don’t really know who my game would compare to, but a couple of guys have told me I play like D’Angelo Russell due to being a lefty and not being the most athletic guy on the court, but still finding ways to get things done.”

What is your favorite meal ever?My favorite meal ever is my mom’s chocolate chip pancakes because she isn’t the best cook in the world, so it makes her good meals taste that much better.”

Assemble a dream team starting five of current NBA players… 

PG: Steph Curry 

SG: Kawhi Leonard

SF: LeBron James

PF: Karl-Anthony Towns

C: Anthony Davis”

What did you want to be when you were growing up? “I wanted to be a lawyer, because I have always loved arguing with people and my mom used to tell me that if I was a lawyer I would get to do that every day for the rest of my life.”

What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from your teammates going into your first season?The best advice I’ve gotten is to make sure you take care of your work as efficiently as possible, because once the season starts the hardest thing to do is manage your time with everything going on.”

What television show could you binge watch forever? “Criminal Minds. I think I watched all 11 seasons on Netflix in under a month.”

What is your favorite sneaker of all time? “My favorite shoes ever would have to be Jordan Bred 11’s.”

Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat? “Snapchat.”

 

Get To Know: Mattia Colangelo

Who? Mattia Colangelo. Guard. 6-3. 175. No. 32.

From? Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

High school? Upper Canada College.

Studying? Economics.

“Mattia can really shoot and we love how well he elevates on his shot. He is a good jumper and will only get more athletic as he matures physically. He also has a good feel for how to play the game.” -Coach Mike McGrath.

What is your favorite sneaker of all time? My favorite basketball shoes of all time are the Kobe 4s. They are the first basketball shoes I remember lacing up and playing in and they still hold up to this day as a great shoe.” 

What sealed the deal on you coming to play basketball for UChicago? The combination of a great basketball program and outstanding academics is something that cannot be found at many other schools in the world. When also considering the proximity to the amazing city of Chicago, it was an easy decision.” 

What is your favorite thing about Hyde Park, so far? “A Chipotle and Five Guys within walking distance.” 

What NBA player(s) would you compare your game to? “Personally, I see my game as a combination of Steph Curry, Lebron James and a hint of Joel Embiid.” 

What is your favorite meal ever? “My aunt’s fried chicken and french fries has to be my favorite meal.”

What class at UChicago are you most looking forward to taking? “I’m really excited to take my first Economics class at UChicago.”

Assemble a dream team starting five of current NBA players…

PG: Steph Curry – brings unbelievable shooting and passing to any team, and creates mismatches that are unguardable 

SG: Kawhi Leonard – can defend elite point guards in order to hide Curry on someone else, and brings an elite all around game to the table

SF: Kevin Durant – one of the greatest scorers of all time and can fit in on any team 

PF: LeBron James – Probably the greatest all around player of all time, makes everyone around him much better

C: Karl Anthony Towns – This second year center can do it all on the court and is already the best center in the NBA”

What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from your teammates going into your first season? “Manage your time wisely.”

What is your favorite basketball moment so far in your life? “My high school basketball team winning a game to qualify for the provincial championship, for the first time in school history.” 

What television show could you binge watch forever? “House of Cards is my all-time favorite TV show, and I could watch it all day.” 

Get To Know: Cole Schmitz

The 2016-17 University of Chicago men’s basketball team has welcomed aboard five newcomers: Jordan Baum, Jake Berhorst, Mattia Colangelo, Cole Schmitz and Sam Sustacek. And with the Maroons season starting up this Tuesday, here is your chance to learn a little more about them.

Who? Cole Schmitz. Forward. 6-5. 195. No. 3.

From? Madison, Wisconsin.

High school? Verona.

Studying? Economics.

“Cole is very advanced physically, which may make his adjustment to college basketball a bit smoother than most. He is strong and athletic and can score in a variety of ways.” -Coach Mike McGrath.

Meet The Freshmen: Justin Jackson

And last, but certainly not least…

Justin Jackson

6-4. 205. Marietta, Georgia.

What is your favorite part of going to school at UChicago so far, and why?

Definitely living in the city of Chicago and being a part of the Hyde Park community. I’m from the suburbs and it’s been great getting a taste of the city life.

What is your favorite thing to eat, and from where?

A Big Mac from McDonald’s. It’s full of nutrients and it tastes amazing.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I would travel to Hawaii. It would be great to sit on the beach everyday, relax and maybe surf occasionally.

You can only listen to one musical artist for the next month. Who would you choose, and what body of work?

Childish Gambino, Because the Internet.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat? Why?

Snapchat. It gives you the most freedom to socialize with who you want, when you want.

Who is your current celebrity crush and why?

Sofia Richie, because who doesn’t like a Cali girl?

What show can you watch over and over again and why?

The Blacklist. It’s full of action and always keeps me intrigued.

And there you have it. Catch these guys on the court, and snapping away throughout the season…