Archive for Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Baker’s leading scorer a Jayhawk

Schwerman sparks Wildcats on court while soaring for KU in classroom

February 19, 2002

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There is a basketball player that goes to Kansas University who averages nearly as many points as KU's Drew Gooden, and has had a late-season explosion comparable to that of Kirk Hinrich.

However, even the most loyal Jayhawk fan wouldn't know him if they saw him on campus.

Schwerman

Schwerman

It's not that Aaron Schwerman has more disguises than James Bond. The reason KU fans don't recognize him is because he doesn't play basketball at Kansas. Rather, the 6-foot-7 center from Beloit stars at Baker University on nights and weekends, and works on an engineering degree at KU during the days.

"Things come pretty easy for Aaron," BU coach Rick Weaver said.

It's a good thing too, as Schwerman doesn't have much free time.

"Yes, I'm really busy," Schwerman said. "But I'm pretty lucky. It's the best of both worlds."

Schwerman is one of the first players in the country under a recent NAIA rule that allows a student-athlete to play a sport at one school and work on a degree at another institution.

KU and Baker have a 3-2 program where students attend Baker for three years and KU for at least two years and receive a bachelor's degree from both schools.

Schwerman, who is working on a civil engineering degree at KU, will graduate with a degree in math this spring at Baker.

"I guess I found a way to work the system," the 22-year-old Schwerman said with a laugh.

Schwerman and BU women's player Gayla Brown both were named to Heart of America Athletic Conference all-league basketball teams Monday.

Brown, a 5-foot-10 junior from Grandview, Mo., was named the league's newcomer of the year.

The BU men's squad defeated Graceland, 83-74, in the first round of the HAAC tournament Monday night.

The Wildcats next will play at Mid-America Nazarene University in a quarterfinal game Wednesday.

While Weaver said Schwerman, a standout prep player at Beloit St. John's High, was a solid player the last three seasons for the Wildcats, "he's definitely elevated his game."

"He's really applied himself this season," said Weaver, who added Schwerman's offensive game like his schoolwork seems to come easy.

"But this season he's worked very hard on his defense and become a more complete player. He's really had a good senior season."

How good?

Well, not only does the two-time HAAC selection lead his team in points (19.0) and rebounds (6.3), but he's also in the top five of the HAAC in field-goal percentage as well as scoring.

In the last month and a half Schwerman has really been on a tear, scoring 25 or more points six times, including a 31-point effort against top-ranked Evangel. He scored another 31 in Baker's last home game, a 94-93 double-overtime loss to Benedictine where Schwerman moved into fifth on the school's all-time scoring list.

"He's very intelligent," Weaver said. "And his maturity this season has helped him to have his best year of his career."

Now Schwerman hopes his new educational pursuits will continue to shine like his game has in his final season.

"Well, there was a part of me that knew I was going to have to move on from basketball pretty soon," he said. "But another part of me wanted to keep playing. To do be able to do both, really is the best of both worlds."

Schwerman has a multitude of minors like business, physics and psychology which leaves him a little unsure of his next pursuit.

"I guess I worked the system pretty good, if something doesn't work out," Schwerman said. "But this last year has been a culmination of my dreams in both basketball and school."

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