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Weise lifts weight of college choice, George School boys clinch FSL top seed

01/31/2023, 11:15pm EST
By Jared Leveson

Jared Leveson (@jared_leveson)

NEWTOWN — Dante Weise is as selfless as they come on the basketball court. 

He’s a pass-first point-guard who does all the gritty little things, who’s helped the George School clinch its first ever Friends School League regular-season title. 

The senior guard always loves giving his teammates an opportunity for success on the hardwood, but Weise finally got his when he announced his commitment to The College of St. Rose (N.Y.) on January 26. 

Dante Weise (above, in December) committed to St. Rose (N.Y.) last week. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

His road to collegiate basketball was arduous. After losing a season due to the pandemic, the Allentown (N.J) native left his hometown school and friends for more exposure, better competition, and to play under George’s head coach, Ben Luber.  

The sacrifices Weise and his family made have paid off with a full-ride scholarship and an opportunity to play at the Division II level, in the high-level Northeast-10 Conference. 

“I’m excited for what the future holds at St. Rose,” Weise said about his commitment. “They offered me about two weeks ago and (it was) something I couldn't pass up. 

“It’s a huge sigh of relief for my family because it's been a long process and to get rewarded like that, everything pays off and that feels really good.” 

“He’s the key to our team,” Luber added. “For someone else to believe in him, to offer him a full scholarship, to see the winner that he is, the person that he is, that meant a lot to me and to the family. It was emotional when he got the offer. He visited and it all made sense for him. 

“I’m happy and proud of him.”

There were times; however, that weren’t smooth for Weise and his family during his recruiting process. 

George’s floor general enrolled and re-classified at George from Allentown HS after the pandemic shrouded 2020-2021 season. He witnessed his hometown friends enjoy their senior years of high school and go on to college, while Weise drove 35 minutes each day via I-195 and Route 1 to study and play under Luber at George.

“He’s put so much into this,” Luber said about Weise. “He took a chance on George School. He lost a year during that covid stretch like a lot of kids did and he didn’t want high school to be the end (of basketball) for him.” 

The former Penn State point guard first met Weise when he was an assistant coach at Rider University (N.J.) and ran the program’s summer basketball camp. The 10-year old Weise made a positive impression on Luber and Weise’s father Rich, arranged for Dante and his older brother RJ, to work out with Luber. 

“He was a little guy,” Luber recalled. “He was a basketball junkie. His family is a basketball family. He loves the game, he loves to win, he loves to pass, he loves charges, he loves assists.”

When Luber got hired by George in 2019, Rich and him jokingly spoke about Dante playing at George. But those conversations became serious once the pandemic happened. Dante watched Luber’s first George team play, and it was an easy sell from there. 

“He wanted to be a part of it,” Luber said. “I think he saw that first team play the way we played and he wanted to play college basketball.

“It's interesting how life hands you things you’re not expecting but I love his family and they have helped me build this program here and win games, and he’s won a lot.” 

Weise and George continued their winning ways defeating Abington Friends 79-39 on Tuesday night. The Cougars secured the FSL playoff’s number one seed and Weise provided a vintage performance, recording five points, four rebounds, and 12 assists. 

Dante Weise (above, in January) and the Cougars became the first team in program history to win an FSL regular-season title. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

“It means a lot,” Weise said about George’s historic win, which clinched the first regular-season title for the program since 1993-94. 

Weise played loose and with a smile on his face. Something which didn’t always happen with the stress of recruitment bearing down on him during most of the season. 

“The stress of not knowing what's next,” Weise said, was the hardest part about his recruitment. “I would have a bad game, like versus Westtown, I didn’t play my best and it was all mental. There were times where I was like ‘I don’t know where I am going to be in five-six months.” 

However, Luber’s program has cultivated strong bonds between the players and staff. Whenever Weise felt discouraged, teammates like Xavier commit Kachi Nzeh and Luber reminded their point guard that all he needed to do was to be himself. 

“He’s been everything to me,” Weise said about his head coach. “I really leaned on him these last couple months as recruiting has heated up. I can't put into words how great he’s been for me and for the guys as a whole.”

“‘Just keep playing,’” Luber would say to Weise. “Play to win and be yourself (and have) no expectations. The right thing will fall into place.” 

The encouragement and positivity that floods through George School’’s program gave Weise the confidence to keep going. Luber always believed that someone would recognize Weise’s value. 

When Weise received an offer from St. Rose head coach Mike Perno immediately after George’s win against Bradford Christian (Mass.) at the HoopHall Classic on January 14, the emotions busted out. 

Luber announced to the squad that the 6-foot-1 guard had gotten an offer post-game in the locker room. Weise got mobbed. 

“It was awesome,” Weise said about his teammates’ reaction. “They gathered around me, pushed me, everything. It shows what George school is all about. We all love each other here. 

“Probably my best moment since I’ve been here so far.” 

But Weise wasn’t ready to make his commitment official. Division III schools like Gettysburg and Randolph-Macon (Va.) offered him roster spots and generous tuition packages, while West Chester University and Pace (N.Y.) from the Division II level expressed interest as well. But the conversations between Weise and the latter two schools never got as far as they did with St. Rose. 

Along with the scholarship offer, St. Rose invited Weise to take a visit and watch a game on January 18. He made the three-hour and ten minute trek up route I-87 to Albany (N.Y.) and things became much clearer for Weise.

St. Rose appreciated Weise for who he was and his selfless play-style. 

“I love that coaching staff,” he said. “Their pitch was that they were graduating at the point guard position and that was a huge need for them.” 

“I went up there for a game on Wednesday, looked around campus and everything and loved everything I saw. I loved the campus, loved the gym, loved the area so that was pretty much it.” 

“The coach really loves his game,” Linda Weise, Dante’s mother, added. “That was a big part of his decision, going somewhere where you’re appreciated for what he does on the court.

“We’re thrilled for him.” 

With his commitment, Weise’s head is as clear as it’s been in a while. The stress and anxiety is gone and now the senior can turn his attention toward bigger and shinier things like trophies. 

“To get (the commitment) out of the way and know where I’m going to be playing the next four years is a huge sigh of relief.

“That’s one goal off the checklist and (now) we gotta go into the playoffs and take care of business.”

By Quarter:
AFS:  8   |  13  |   4   |  14  ||  39
GS:   13  |  20  |  29  |  17  ||  79

AFS: West-Ingram 10, Baker 8, Otero 7, Ford 4, Osburne 4, Shanken 3, Green 2, Hodnett-Bell 1

GS: Bevilacqua 20, Bliss 15, Nzeh 13, Diouf 7, Mastin 7, Kipper 5, Weise 5, Melniczak 3, Withers 4 

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