Weiler Now Leads SHS
In Second Season, He’s Valley’s Top Player
Posted: February 26, 2013
PENN LAIRD – Just two seasons ago, Spotswood High School’s Hyrum Weiler had yet to play a varsity minute on the basketball court while riding the bench at a 5A school in Georgia.
No matter how hard he tried, Weiler felt like he couldn’t get what he coveted most: playing time.
“I would just come home and talk to my dad, like, ‘I just can’t do this. I’m not getting any opportunities here,’” Weiler recalled. “He talked about me moving in with my brother, but I never thought he’d let me do it.”
Then, his father, Bob, seriously offered the hopeful solution that Weiler couldn’t believe, allowing him to leave the state and move in with his then-33-year-old brother, Michael, in Rockingham County.
“I moved out of the house when he was like 3 or 4,” said Michael Weiler, the oldest of 10 children. “He was always like a nephew to me, really. I didn’t know him as well as I would’ve liked.”
He knows him now, and so do sports fans throughout the Valley District.
Overcoming shyness and the difficulties of moving away from home at an early age, Weiler has taken off this season in leading the Trailblazers (26-1) back to the Division 3 state tournament after a rebuilding year in which Weiler adjusted to a new position in a new system in a new school.
“Last year was just an awkward situation,” SHS coach Chad Edwards said. “Not only was Hyrum new, but virtually every other player was new to the varsity level.”
Like the Blazers at large, it didn’t take long for Weiler to succeed, even while transitioning from point guard to more of a versatile role as a swingman. After not even being named to the All-Valley District second-team in 2012, Weiler – who is still officially listed as a guard – this season was selected as the district’s Player of the Year and, on Monday, was named first-team All-Region III.
“When I came here, I just had a lot of raw talent, but I had never been coached before,” Weiler said. “Coach E and all the rest of the coaching staff really helped me learn how to use it in a game setting, and the biggest thing was just learning how to play with my teammates. And they had me playing everywhere.”
Weiler led the Blazers – the Valley and Region III, Division 3 champions – with 18.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game during the regular season, shooting 58 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3-point range while making 77 percent of 149 free throws. He also averaged three assists per game.
“For him to put up those numbers being a marked man at the top of everybody’s scouting report speaks volumes of his versatility and efficiency as a player,” Edwards said, later pointing out that Weiler has guarded all five positions and played every position in Spotswood’s system.
Like Marlon Organ – the last Blazer to be named district Player of the Year — Weiler arrived at SHS as a junior. Unlike Organ, who moved from Harrisonburg, he knew just one person in the entire state of Virginia. And Weiler didn’t know his brother all that well, either. He didn’t even know which school he was going to play at, initially hoping it would be Harrisonburg because his brother lived on the outskirts of the city and because HHS was bigger than the county schools. When he realized his new school would be at the smaller Spotswood, he researched it online and learned of the program’s consecutive state final four trips and Organ’s legacy.
“I’m so glad that I came to Spotswood,” said Weiler, who trained with Organ during his first week at an Eastern Mennonite University basketball camp.
One of the first things he did was get a bike and ride around Harrisonburg, searching for a place to play basketball. Once he found a court, his older brother said, Weiler would pack a lunch and a jug of water and practice for hours.
“It was hard,” Weiler said. “That first week [of SHS practices] was pretty awkward. It was hard.”
It was a story that Edwards understood better than most people.
“His personality reminded me a little bit of myself to be quite honest,” Edwards said. “Perhaps socially awkward and aloof, not a really outgoing personality. I moved when I was a child and my reaction to that was [to play] basketball, by myself. I think basketball kind of served the same purpose for Hyrum.”
Junior point guard Tucker McCoy and the Blazers accepted Weiler last year but not without some awkward moments. McCoy said during team camp at Eastern Mennonite University that Weiler barely spoke and even hung out by himself in the bathroom, where Weiler said he was able to escape social interaction for a much needed break to help curb his nervousness.
With a season under his belt, Weiler is far more outspoken as one of Spotswood’s unquestioned leaders. A Swiss Army knife for the Blazers, Weiler is praised for the versatile skills he was able to hone at SHS, in being asked to be more of a forward than a guard at times but still handling the ball and driving to the basket.
Growing up as the ninth child around older brothers, Weiler didn’t win very much at anything.
Two of his brothers were athletic, participating in track at Brigham Young University. But losing to them in various activities, Michael said, only fueled the younger Weiler to get better. Basketball was one of those things – and during a tough transition last year, at times, it was the only thing.
“I think he realized he wasn’t going to reach his potential [in Georgia], so he was willing to do whatever it took,” Michael Weiler said. “He didn’t give up. He didn’t take his situation at face value.”