Plenty of schools courting Weinert
Like many promising athletes across Niagara, Madalyn Weinert saw her travel basketball season come to a halt in the spring because of the COVID 19 pandemic.
“It was really tough and hard because we haven’t been able to play for so long,” the soon-to-be, 17-year-old Port Dalhousie resident said. “I love to play so it was difficult to digest that I wouldn’t be able to play for what has turned out to be seven months.”
The 5-foot-10 player has been able to resume practising with the Niagara Girls Basketball Academy Juel squad but it’s obviously not the same as a normal year.
“It’s sad that we can do all this work and potentially still not get to play at all,” the Grade 12 student at Eden said. “We are doing contact with masks on, so that is fun, but there’s only so much fun in practice.
“Playing the game is what I love to do and it’s hard knowing that the season is in danger and that I might not get to play for basically a whole year.”
The pandemic has already cost Weinert her final year of high school ball with the Eden Flyers. The Flyers were the defending Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association AA champions and last year it made it to the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations quarter-finals.
Having her final year halted is especially tough for athletes like Weinert, who have aspirations to play at the post secondary level. It was a season to solidify scholarship offers and attract even more suitors to the table.
“I have been talking to university coaches and they do have some game tape from last year but it’s tough because I have been able to improve over the past seven months and they won’t potentially be able to see that until I am there or maybe if we have a few games,” she said. “It’s hard that you have put in all the work and you may not be able to put it on display.”
Weinert, who started playing basketball in Grade 5 in the St. Catharines CYO house league, has already received plenty of scholarship interest from Ontario schools, including Brock, McMaster, Western, Carleton, Ottawa and Guelph.
Boasting a 96.6 per cent average in high school, academics will play a large role in her final decision.
“I want to go into paediatrics so that is super important to me,” she said. “Having a good team dynamic and a strong coaching staff is also important. I want to be able to look up to the people who are coaching me and interact well with my teammates.”
Weinert played travel basketball in Grades 6 to 9 with the St. Catharines CYO Rebels basketball program before joining the Niagara Juel Prep team in her Grade 10 year. She started with the Niagara Girls Basketball Academy Juel squad in Grade 11 and feels she had made good strides in her game.
“I work hard and I always try to put my full effort out there,” she said. “I want to be able to fill the stat sheet in every category and I just don’t want to be getting points. I want to be getting steals, getting blocks and helping my teammates with assists. Being able to have an impact in all those areas has been a huge thing for me.”
She has never had to worry about her compete level.
“I am quite a determined person and I think that can be seen on the court as well.”
Eden head coach Brian MacIsaac has had a front row seat to watch Weinert’s fine play and is confident she has the focus, drive and athleticism to be a significant contributor at the USPORTS level.
“Madalyn has the rare combination of competitive spirit, a will to succeed and highly developed skills that allow her to impose her will on the court.”
MacIsaac watched her take on more of a leadership role with Eden last season.
“Every day, she brings passion and focus to practice. She always works hard and often stays after practice to workout or develop her shooting.”
He describes her as a player who can score from any position on the court and gets to the free throw line often.
“She has great timing which allows her to dominate offensive rebounding and shot blocking,” he said. “It has been a true blessing to coach Madalyn.”
Weinert knows she is far from a finished product and she’s driven to take her game to the next level.
“Something I really want to work on is my off the dribble game,” she said. “I love to drive and my pull up-game isn’t necessarily the greatest. In university, I am not going to be the biggest person so on the floor and that is something that is going to be crucial for me to have success at the next level.”
She is also working at getting physically stronger to deal with competing against older players.
This is the first story in a BPSN series profiling some of Niagara’s top graduating players in various high school sports. To suggest athletes for future stories, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If possible, please provide contact info for players and their coaches.