Junior guard Jacob Wittig has been a key player this season for the Men’s Basketball team, averaging more than 30 minutes and 11 points per game. He was named UAA Men’s Basketball Player of the Week and earned First Team All-Academic District honors.
How did you get interested in basketball?
Sports in general have always been a big part of my family. My parents got me involved in a lot of sports when I was young and basketball has always been one of my favorites. There are videos of me playing on a toy hoop when I was only a few years old and ever since I have loved playing.
What do you enjoy most about basketball at UR?
One of my favorite things about U of R basketball is my teammates. It is really unique to have teammates from all over the country who have different experiences and stories. They are also great people and players with a similar drive for success on and off the court. I can truly say my teammates have made my college experience exponentially better. We spend a lot of time together, but I always enjoy being around them.
How have you grown as an athlete over the course of your collegiate career?
Over the past three years I have been better prepared to handle the size of the players and the speed of the game. I’ve improved a little physically, but I feel that I have grown a lot mentally. Offensively, I have improved at reading defenses and making the correct plays. On the defensive end, I have gained better knowledge of why we do what we do and how to execute on both ends of the floor. I also feel that each year I have developed more confidence which has helped me contribute more to the team.
How does it feel to be named UAA Men’s Player of the Week?
It is definitely a great honor and nice to be recognized, but this is more than an individual award. My coaches were very important in helping us gain an advantage with the scouting report, as well as helping to instill confidence in me. My teammates were also a huge piece of this — making plays and trusting in me to do the same.
What is the most challenging part of being a varsity athlete?
The most challenging part of being a varsity athlete is the time commitment and management. Our season goes for about five months, and we are lifting or playing even when we aren’t in season. When we are in season, we practice six days a week and some nights we are there for three hours. We also have many weekends where we are out of town from Thursday to Sunday. It can be very hard to put in as much time into your school work as you want, due to the time commitment to basketball. It is very important to try to stay head and manage your time as well as you can.
How does your coach help the team succeed?
Our coaches are extremely influential in the success of our team. They put in countless hours watching film, preparing for practice, putting together lifts, and so much more. During individual workouts and at practice they really help develop our individual games and make us better players. We are always extremely prepared for games because of their scouting reports and knowledge of the game.
Do you have any rituals before or during matches?
It usually depends on what time are games are, but if it is a night game I will always have a turkey sub for my pre-game meal. I usually get dressed and taped at certain times before the game. I am not too superstitious, but I do like to keep to a routine.
Who is your favorite professional athlete, and why?
Russell Wilson. I love the way he plays the game and competes with such passion, especially for being undersized. He also is a great leader for his team and highly respected by his teammates.
If you could only wear one type of shoes for the rest of your life, what kind would you choose?
I would probably have to go with my grey Nike Roshe shoes because they are really comfortable and can go with a lot of things.