Waubonsie Valley’s Ben Schwieger commits to Loyola

Ben Schwieger, who burst on the scene this past winter, committed to the Ramblers and coach Porter Moser on Thursday.

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Like so many prospects going through the recruiting process, Waubonsie Valley’s Ben Schwieger had a checklist.

Loyola couldn’t have possibly checked off any more boxes than it did in the recruitment of the versatile 6-6 forward. Schwieger, who burst on the scene this past winter, committed to the Ramblers and coach Porter Moser on Thursday.

Since the recruiting process began, Schwieger said Loyola was the school to beat. He admits everyone else was playing catch-up.

“I have always had a gut feeling about Loyola being the best fit for me,” Schwieger said. “They were at the top of my list throughout the process. But I did want to make sure I was 100 percent, so I took a little time. But Loyola checked off every single box for me.”

Schwieger says he found it all with Loyola, starting with the relationship he built with the coaching staff. He added that the current success of the program, a “great culture”, location and even some old family ties with Loyola helped seal it for him.

“I have a great relationship with the coaching staff,” Schwieger said. “They showed me constant love and it was completely genuine. They showed how excited they were to have a chance to coach me.

“Plus, the culture they have built there really fits me perfectly.”

Schwieger added that his grandfather was particularly pumped about his commitment. His grandfather, Jim Cronnin, is a 1962 Loyola graduate. A year later the Ramblers won the 1963 national championship.

“He was very proud and really excited about it when I told him, so having those family ties with Loyola is pretty cool,” Schwieger added.

Although Schwieger was able to make a couple of trips to the Loyola campus and check out a game this past winter, the recruiting process has been anything but normal since. The lack of official visits and face-to-face time, however, didn’t slow the process down.

Schwieger pointed out how impressed he and his family were with the very first zoom call they had with Loyola and the coaching staff.

“You could see how organized they were and the effort they put in,” Schwieger said of the first of several zoom conference calls. “It was impressive and really hit home. I think this process provided an even better opportunity to build a relationship with the coaches.”

The 45-mile trek from home to the Loyola campus was also appealing.

“Being close to home and having the opportunity for my family to see me play is an added bonus,” Schwieger said.

Although Schwieger had a ton of interest and plenty of offers, including Belmont, Elon, Southern Illinois, William & Mary, Tennessee-Chattanooga, UIC and Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he was still a bit of an under-the-radar prospect. He wasn’t highly regarded early in his career and he’s just started to blossom as a player.

Schwieger went from averaging 3.2 points as a sophomore to 16.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a junior. With outstanding athleticism, added production and a huge upside, Schwieger climbed into the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 10 prospect list over the course of his junior season.

“First, he’s a quality human with great character,” Waubonsie Valley coach Jason Mead said. “He’s earned this and deserves this. He cares more than just about how many points he scores. He cares about so many more things that matter, that help a team.”

The ceiling is enormous for a player who is just beginning to grow into his body and add to an already versatile game. A fluid athlete, Schwieger is an above-the-rim finisher who slashes to the rim off the drive and can step out and make a three-pointer with a smooth release.

Part of the delay in both his development and in being seen was that he played high school volleyball during the spring club basketball season. Then after making a name for himself this past season, the spring and summer evaluation periods were shut down.

“I have been doing volleyball since my freshman year,” Schwieger said. “Even though I wasn’t seen all that much, playing Division I basketball has been my dream. I’ve always been driven by that and am constantly working towards that.”

That dream has become a whole lot closer to reality.

“I’m really excited,” said Schwieger of the commitment and his basketball future. “I’m excited to get on campus, to be with the players and to get to know the coaches even better and work with them.”

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