Interview: IHSA and NCAA Champion Sean Wallis

Ever meet a guy who just can’t lose? Well, Sean Wallis is pretty close. He won an IHSA Basketball championship at GBN and 2 NCAA DIII championships at Wash U.  Wallis seems to win wherever he goes. The North Shore native is now weighing his options. If I had advice to give him it would be to go to Israel and have a great time. Knowing him he would probably come back with some hardware to put in his trophy case. Wallis is a really nice guy and surrounds himself with good people (he is facebook friends with my sister =)). We got a chance to speak with Wallis and below is the TGR exclusive.

 

 
INTERVIEW (Thank you to Danny Nathan for setting this up):
1) You played High School at Glenbrook North High School basketball with Jon Scheyer. What was that experience like?
I’ve actually been playing basketball with Jon since he was in fourth
grade and I was in fifth grade. Not only is he an incredible
basketball player, but he’s an awesome person too. He works harder at
his game than anyone I’ve ever met and I couldn’t be happier that he
had the year he did because no one deserves the success more than him.
I was lucky enough to get to go to Indianapolis and watch him and even
celebrate with him after they won which was an experience I’ll never
forget. High school basketball was an awesome time for me– not just
cause we won a state championship my senior year– but cause we would
play in front of sold out crowds every night.
2) Who would win one on one, you or Scheyer?
The summer going into my senior year of high school Jon and me would
go to this half court gym and play a best of seven series four nights
a week. We probably played 100 games up to 11 over the course of a few
months… and I won… approximately six or seven… So that being
said, I think he’d win if we played. I could definitely score on him
here and there, but getting a stop is a really tough thing for me to
do against him.
3) You were a part of both the 2008 and 2009 Wash U Bear Championship teams, what was that like?
It was incredible and two very different experiences. In 2008 I
actually had a season ending broken leg in the third game of the
season. In 2009 I was Most Outstanding Player in the Tournament. While
people say “oh, but it’s D3” it is the same national championship
trophy, we get the same hats and t-shirts, the same confetti raining
down, and we’re on national TV also. I can’t even begin to explain how
lucky I am to have gotten the chance to play with such awesome
teammates and win with such awesome teammates during my basketball
career.
4) Why did you decide to play ball at Wash U? Did you have a chance to play DI?
Wash U was the best combination of basketball, academics and location.
It had an undergraduate business school which I wanted and allowed me
to play in an awesome conference where I could compete for a national
championship. We fly more than a lot of DI teams as we travel to New
York, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago and Pittsburgh during the regular
season which is awesome. I had the chance to walk on at some bigger
DIs and a few smaller DIs came into the picture after the state
tournament my senior year but I knew I wanted to use my basketball to
get me to a great academic school.
5) You were recently named DIII First Team All American, what was that like? Was it the highlight of your basketball career?
The individual accolades are a real nice honor, without a doubt. It
always feel great to be recognized for the hard work that’s put in day
in and day out. But honestly the highlights of my basketball career
have been the championships I’ve won and the memories with my
teammates. There’s nothing like celebrating in a locker room or at
half court with a group of guys you spend so much time with, it is
easy to call that the state and national championships the highlight.
5) What are your plans now that your collegiate basketball career has come to an end?
I’m still up in the air. I’ve been contacted by a few agents and even
teams about the opportunity to play basketball professionally over in
Israel. It is one of the premier leagues in all of Europe but being a
Jew has its advantage as I can obtain citizenship and not be
considered an “international” player but an Israeli. So that is one
possibility, but I also am looking at different opportunities in
strategy and management consulting in the Chicago area. Hopefully I’ll
figure it out over the next month.
6) Living on the North Shore of Chicago, and we asked Colt Cabana this same question, what is your favorite Chicago Pizza?
Well this is a tough question for me. I have grown to enjoy deep dish
more and more as I’ve grown up (which is good consider when I was nine
I told Mark Malnati, the owner, I hated Lou Malnati’s pizza without
knowing who he was). Even though it isn’t very Chicagoan of me– I
have to say that by far and away my favorite pizza is Barnaby’s.
Nothing beats it.
7) You have one Bulls player ever to take the final shot in a championship game, who do you let take it John Paxson or Steve Kerr?
Funny question considering I’d kill to have either of their jobs right
now. Both hit NBA Finals game winners, Pax in Phoenix and Kerr against
Utah at a game I was at… but I’d have to say Pax just cause I grew
up going to his camps and know his son Ryan pretty well– love that
jumper.
8) Any other Jewish college basketball players TGR fans should watch out for?
There are a couple of Jewish Americans I’d love to give a shout out to
that are playing over in Israel professionally right now. Both Todd
Golden and Ben Rudin have been really helpful in showing me the way
and telling me about their experiences over there. Todd was a great
player for DI St. Mary’s (CA) and Ben was a big time DIII guard at
Middlebury.
To read more about Wallis Click HERE.
Thank you to Sean Wallis. Nice guy. See you around the burbs.
And Let Us Say…Amen.

-Jeremy Fine

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