Prep Basketball: Salisbury's Alex Weant going to Roanoke
By Mike London
SALISBURY — Sure, he had to duck under doorways, but Salisbury High graduate and Roanoke basketball recruit Alex Weant often got overlooked.
The humble, 6-foot-7, 190-pound Eagle Scout never minded. Not for a minute.
“I was playing with Darien Rankin and Romar Morris as far back as sixth grade and knew what kind of athletes they were going to be,” Weant said. “I could kind of see I was going to be a role player.”
That group rolled as it grew up.
Salisbury’s Class of 2011 won no basketball state championships, but a stellar aggregation that included Weant, Rankin, Morris, John Knox and Corey Murphy crammed trophy cases full before they accepted diplomas. Their hoops legacy is an 85-26 record that included three CCC tourney crowns, two regular-season CCC banners and four Sam Moir Christmas Classic titles.
On three good teams and one great one that went 28-2, Weant fulfilled the destiny he anticipated.
But what a role player he was.
His teammates slapped his back red after he poured in 20 points to lead the Hornets past Thomasville in the 2010 CCC tournament title game. Then he scored a career-best 24 as the Hornets beat powerful East Rutherford in a 2010 playoff game.
Quietly and efficiently, Weant scored 662 career points, placing him in the top 30 all-time at a school that’s been around a few years.
Only 37 of those points came during a tentative freshman year on the varsity, but he got tougher, more confident, more resilient and more skilled as the years flew by. The Hornets always had more exotic offensive options, but his last two seasons he was automatic for 10 points and 10 rebounds every time he stepped on the floor.
By the third grade, Weant already towered above his teacher, but he’s not just tall, he’s a good athlete. He’s not the skywalker sort of athlete Rankin is or the jet-propelled athlete Morris is, but he’s an agile, fluid guy for his size.
Maybe it was just to prove to himself he could do it, but he played wideout for the football team as a junior and caught two TD passes, one of them a 72-yarder.
Every spring, he was a skilled tennis player on fine teams— all-conference, all-county, even all-region.
“I did pretty well in sports, but I’ve felt all along my strong suit was academics,” Weant said. “That’s what I always focused on, even in high school. I knew academics could take me places basketball couldn’t.”
Weant probably is a skilled enough player to succeed on the court at the Division II level, but he believes he’s found the perfect fit at Division III Roanoke.
Heading to Roanoke on academic scholarships, Weant will have the opportunity to continue his hoops career, but basketball won’t be the all-consuming job it can become at higher levels.
Bookwork won’t have to take a backseat to basketball at Roanoke. Weant won’t be taking any courses that are layups. His goal isn’t the NBA — it’s medical school. His admirable dream career is saving lives in an ER.
“I plan a double major in chemistry and biology,” Weant said. “My first semester, I’ve got two labs. Yes, it’ll be challenging.”
How Weant was discovered by Roanoke is an interesting tale. Page Moir has been the coach at Roanoke for 20-plus years. He’s also the son of Charlie Moir, who coached for years at Virginia Tech, and the nephew of Sam Moir, who coached Catawba forever and a day.
Sam Moir, still watchful for talent, liked Weant’s play in the Christmas tournament at Catawba that is named for him and called his nephew.
The conversation began something like, “Well, there’s an unsigned 6-7 kid down here, great student, that you might want to look at.”
“Roanoke started calling right after the tournament,” Weant said. “They stayed in touch for months.”
Once Weant made the three-hour trip to visit one of the nation’s most picturesque campuses, he was sold.
“That area is scenic, gorgeous, really,” Weant said. “I’ll find time to do some hiking in those mountains.”
He may also find time to continue with tennis. His SHS teammate Lewis Young is a Roanoke tennis recruit, and Weant said he’d like to give college doubles a try.
As far as basketball, Weant has no illusions of dominating, but he’ll carve out a role.
Moir is closing in on 400 basketball wins at Roanoke with his fastbreak style, although the Maroons struggled to 12-15 last season. Roanoke competes in the rugged Old Dominion Athletic Conference, which had a trio — Virginia Wesleyan, Randolph-Macon and Eastern Mennonite — ranked in the top 25 nationally last spring.
“Yes, it’s D-III, but it’s going to be very good competition,” Weant said. “Roanoke has a stable program, and a new gym is coming — maybe by my junior year. It should be a fun ride.”