BERWYN – A year ago, Weisner Perez was a big contributor for the Morton boys basketball team, but now he is the focal point of the team.
The junior forward has stepped into the role with no problem and has improved his game to fit his newfound prominence.
“What he’s improved on is his shooting,” Morton coach Tony Martinucci said. “He can still go inside and score. He’s still big, but what he improved on in the summer is his shooting. He can knock down 3-pointers now.”
His better shooting game will benefit him at the next level. While Perez is a big forward for high school, at 6-foot-6 he will probably have to play more of a small forward position that emphasizes shooting and ball handling more than a power forward.
The improved Perez is in more of a leadership role for the Mustangs now that his older brother, Waller, a leader on last year’s team, is a freshman playing for the University of Chicago. Perez’s play hasn’t gone unnoticed by college coaches. He already has an offer from Hampton and named off more than 10 other Division I schools that have shown interest.
“I lost a lot of weight,” Perez said. “I got leaner, lost about 15 pounds, got quicker and my jump shot has been getting a lot better. Every game I’m hitting at least one 3. I’m shooting mid-rangers good and my athleticism increased a lot and [I added] strength.”
Perez also is a high-achieving student, like his brother. Ivy League schools are on his list of suitors.
The college interest and improvement in his game is no surprise to Martinucci, who also noted Perez has shown quality leadership this season.
“He’s just a workaholic,” the coach said. “He’s really a gym rat.”
Morton has high expectations this season because of players like Perez and returning seniors Jarvis Cannon, Greg Carter and Antario Simon. Cannon and Carter lead the backcourt while Perez and Simon do the dirty work inside.
The emergence of Simon has helped Perez this season.
“It’s helped me a lot to have another guy help me rebound, especially because previously I was the leading rebounder last year as well as this year, too. But I didn’t have as much help last year,” Perez said. “With him buying into the team memo, that’s helped me a lot.
“There’s teams that send two people to box me out alone and he has been helping me out. He’s been playing really well.”
The way Perez has been playing this season, it might be smart to keep two people on him at all times regardless.
He had a double-double (11 points and 12 rebounds) in the Mustangs’ first round win at the Proviso West tournament. He followed that with 20 points, 11 rebounds in a 65-50 tourney victory against previously undefeated Uplift Academy on Friday.
About Weisner Perez
Jersey: No. 23