By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — Adam Weir's senior season was different than the rest. When he walked into opposing gyms, things were different than seasons past. Back when he was just another player getting off the bus.
But now he heard the whispers: "That's Adam Weir."
His star was bound to rise.
Last summer he joined a very elite fraternity of Western New York basketball players when he committed to play Division 1 basketball at Canisius College. This Winter he led Canisius High School to its third-straight Manhattan Cup and lived up to the hype every time he stepped on the court.
Weir, from the Town of Tonawanda, scored 21 points, grabbed seven rebounds and recorded two steals per game this season and is the 2013 Tonawanda News' Player of the Year.
Crusaders coach Kyle Husband has mixed emotions as Weir is set to move on to the next level.
"We're certainly excited to be able to watch him play still for another four years, but it will take me a while to get over losing him," he said. "They're all going to graduate but he's a special one in a lot of ways. As a player, I mean everyone has seen that and how good he is, but the stuff he has done off the floor — in the summer and the weight room — I'll never be able to duplicate that, or even explain it."
Weir is a well-rounded player that comes with a unique skill set, Husband said. He played the center and forward position in high school because of his height, but he sees himself as a guard at the next level.
Husband said that it's impossible to pigeonhole Weir into one position because he's such a talented all-around player.
"He's just a basketball player," Husband said. "It's going to be the same way it was here. He's going to rebound, he's going to run and he's going to score. He's going to be a great player at the next level."
Growing up, Weir was forced to learn and try to master every part of the game. He said his father, John Weir, a former North Tonawanda Lumberjack who played college ball at Morrisville College, preached the importance of being more than a one-dimensional player.
"We traveled together on the road and in the car — that's when I'd learn basketball," Weir said. "Coming home from games he would tell me what good plays I made and what bad plays. I would give my perspective and he would give his, and we would talk about the game like that. Just having someone that tells you what you did wrong and how you can do it better makes all the difference. It made me a better person and a better player."
When most youngsters were perfecting their crossover or circus shot, Weir was tirelessly repeating the fundamentals. While at St. Andrew's Country Day School, he met his first basketball coach and mentor, Mike Zera, who took a special interest in Weir because of his passion and natural abilities.
Weir worked with Zera four or five days a week from third grade until eighth grade, and as the years progressed Husband took notice when St. Andrew's played in Canisius' grade school tournament.
By the end of his freshman season, spent on the junior varsity squad, Weir was ready for the jump to varsity. He struggled at the start of his sophomore campaign as he adjusted to coming off the bench for the first time in his career.
But by the end of that season, the first of three straight league titles, Husband said Weir was already playing at an elite level.
"Sophomore year — at first I never played a game where I didn't start, and beginning of that season I wasn't starting," Weir said. "It was different and I didn't know how to react to it. I was trying to work harder and it wasn't working. Then I finally broke through and got into the lineup. It makes you work harder. If you don't have adversity you don't get better."
Handling adversity is what separates Weir from almost every high school athlete. He never gets rattled and though he plays fast and furious, he's always in control. Husband said he's the same way off the court.
"He's never rattled. He's never crazy — highs or lows," Husband said. "He's the same way in the locker room. Guys will be jumping around all around him and he's just focused. He's his own kid. He doesn't follow, he doesn't change. Everybody could be loving one thing but if it's not Adam's thing he isn't interested. It's unique for someone to know who they are at such a young age."
Weir has already started playing with his future teammates at Canisius College, and fellow Western New Yorker, Niagara Falls forward Jermaine Crumpton, will join him in Golden Griffin blue and gold next season. College basketball requires a bigger commitment in the weight room and Weir has already started working on his endurance to prepare for the quicker pace of play.
Husband said that before long every team that plays the Griffs will know the name Adam Weir, and when that time comes Weir will again be ready to shoulder the expectations. He's prepared for everything.
"I've been here 12 years now and Adam's the first one to get a Division 1 scholarship," Husband said. "He's not only going there to play, he's going to play well. That's just the start of it as far as talking about his legacy. He's one of our all-time leading scorers, Player of the year, three Manhattan Cups, All-tourney team on at least two of them — It's been a fun ride. He's someone I'm going to miss sorely."Contact sports editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports.