September 13, 2011

Weldon gives verbal to play at Army

Head Basketball Coach Zach Spiker and his staff continue to work delinquently as they construct the Black Knights' 2012 recruiting class.

One of those important recruits who has been on the Army radar for some time took his official visit this past weekend, where he had an opportunity to see West Point and all of it's splendor.

With ideal weather, hitting picturesque campus, along with meeting with coaches and players ... not to mention taking in the Army vs. San Diego State football show down, one could only imagine what is going through the mind of a 17-18 year old high school student at that moment.

Well, let's start with 6-foot-8 center, Kyle Weldon, who had nothing but high grades relative to weekend visit. However, Weldon and his dad, Bill, who is a West Point grad (1985) were not the two that would need convincing. Weldon's mom, who joined the two Weldon men on the official visit was the deciding vote if you will ... although in reality, it would be Kyle's decision.

When Weldon spoke with on Tuesday, he did not hesitate to let it be known that he was officially a Black Knight. "I am committed to Army," says the prospect out of Clarksville (TN) Rossview High School, who went on to discuss his recent visit to the prestigious Northeast college.

"I loved it up there. That was my first visit to West Point. We went with all the coaches for dinner Thursday night at a restaurant called the Stadium near the campus."

Weldon's recruiting has been handled by Coach Spiker, who made sure that C/F prospect had a chance to feel and taste West Point beyond the bells & whistles.

"On Thursday I stayed in the hotel, but Friday night I stayed in the barracks," adds Weldon. "Friday we took a tour of the campus, met with several people, ate in the mess hall and then I watched the individual basketball workouts."

So what did Weldon think of the West Point campus and its facilities? "I love the campus and I thought it was beautiful. "All the athletic facilities were amazing and all high class."

Giving His Pledge

"I actually received a text message from my dad that following morning saying that my Mom really loved it," declares Weldon. "She was actually very against it, but over the weekend she changed her mind and loved it too."

"Before the football game, there was a tailgate that we were at and got to talk to my parents. I told her (his mom) that I was thinking about committing and that I wasn't completely sure, but pretty sure that I would."

For Weldon, he was surely beginning to feel right at home, as he and his family took in Saturday's Army-SDSU contest. During the 1st quarter he sat with his parents across from the cadets rooting section and during the 2nd quarter he joined corp and stood with the cadets on the basketball team.

But the moment of truth for the native of Tennessee came at halftime, we he made his way up to Coach Spiker's office.

"I probably reached that point (making a decision) at halftime right before we were going to coach's office," said Weldon. "I knew what was going to happen at Coach Spiker's office. They were going to have a nice little talk and ask me how I felt about everything. I figured that this is really where I want to go, I love it here so I might as well go ahead and verbally commit."

Joining Weldon were his parents, along with Assistant Coach Jimmy Allen. "At that point Coach Spiker shared how glad he was that I could make it to the visit and he ended by asking how he could get me in some black & gold," shares an obviously excited Weldon as he reflects on that special moment on Saturday afternoon.

"So that's when I told him I am verbally committing to become a Black Knight."

Weldon's decision did not come with some genuine concern from his Mom, but ultimately, it was seeing up close and personal what West Point had to offer up, along with what Spiker is building with the basketball program that won over Weldon's mom.

"She was very apprehensive initially, with the preconceived notion that many people have that everyone would be walking around with stone faced, rough and you are getting hazed all day long," says Weldon's dad, Bill. "With the current situation, she was just very concerned."

"As a grad of West Point, I was not as apprehensive, but as a parent I was somewhat apprehensive in sending my child out to a place as rigorous as West Point. But then again with hard work the rewards are great."

"It just took her going there and really understanding more in detail. We had visited before, but for her to see how well they are taken care of, because we met with the full academic staff. We met with the team advisors, the coaching staff was just phenomenal and she, along with Kyle bonded with them."

For both parents, they walked away confident that there aren't too many colleges/universities that prepare a young person for life during and after college.

"We had other tours that he didn't have like CEP, which is the Center for Enhanced Performance, to reduce stress and maintain your focus," shares the senior Weldon. "And then again, the academic advisors in how they monitor and how they mentor was very very impressed."

"She came back realizing that no place can take care of my child this way. He was adamant about where he wanted to be and she seems more excited than I am right now," laughs Weldon's dad.

Weldon maintains a 3.7 GPA and is considering majoring in engineering, but also understands the academic demands that West Point offers.

"I know it's very challenging," shares Weldon, who could play one of several positions at the next level.

"The coaches haven't describe where they want me per say, the said I could probably play anywhere except for the one spot."

So, how would Weldon describe his own defense and offensive potential? "Defensively, I would say that I'm pretty good shot blocker and offensively I'm comfortable with my back to the basket, but more comfortable facing up to the basket and making a move off the dribble," he add.

All reports suggest that Waldon best jump shot range is from 15 feet and in.

Now that he is officially committed and hence an Army football fan, Weldon was quick to point out that he was very happy with the team's performance. "Awesome football game,he says. "I thought San Diego State as going to come in an blow us out, but we out played them and it was a great game."

In addition to Army, he had offers from West Carolina, Presbyterian University, Furman, Sanford, East Carolina, Arkansas State, Lafayette.

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