Rich Wiebach is ready to move on

The fact: He is the great exception, Richard Wiebach is an athlete who wants to take a step back from his sport and extend his horizon in other areas.

The sport: Basketball. Why? Because swimming didn’t work out. Is that all, you ask? No.

"The guys on the team have made the difference," says Wiebach. "It’s a great group of guys and they have been my best friends throughout the five years."

Dinos Head Coach Dan van Hooren is another reason Wiebach enjoyed the sport so much.

"He is an awesome guy and gets the best out of us players," he says.

The teamwork: It has been an invaluable factor for the fifth-year forward.

"There is always somebody to pick you up," he says of his teammates’ support for each other. "You value teamwork much more when you experience it in a team like this."

The idols: Michael Jordan is his obvious choice.

"He is pretty amazing," he says. "You have to be pretty amazing, too, to make it into the NBA. For most, that dream ends right after high school, when you realize what it takes to get there."

The sympathetic player looks at international athletes like His Airness with amazement and at himself with humble understatement.

The location: Born in Vancouver, Wiebach looked around the nation for potential schools where he could put his studies first and still play high-level ball. The coach back then, Cory Russell, offered a spot on the team and a scholarship.

"U of C seemed to be better than anywhere else," he says. "It was a great decision to come here."

The past: Wiebach played five straight years on the Dinos men’s basketball team and was lucky enough to have no major injuries. Still, he went through his fair share of ups and downs–on and off the court–limping through some tough losing seasons with his team. But he always had one person to count on.

"I look up to my Dad," he muses. "He has always supported me and is the guy I turn to."

The future: "I just need a break. I think, and I want to expand my horizons."

For him, these are the only immediate things on his mind. Aside from his girlfriend, Wiebach wants to finish school next year, teach abroad and travel. He admits it may be a while before he plays ball again. Despite all the great times he’s had with the game, he’s at ease with the fact that it’s time to move on.

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