Nike Hoop Summit: Jesuit High School Senior Is World Select Team Stand-Out
By sarahhecht Posted in: nikehoopsummit
A 7-foot wingspan. A Jesuit High School Senior. A dual-citizen. A Nike Hoop Summit participant.
Portland native Kyle Wiltjer fits this profile. Raised in the Rose City, Wiltjer was raised on basketball. His father, Greg Wiltjer, represented Canada playing hoops in the 1984 Olympics.
The familial tie to Canada presented the opportunity for Kyle to gain dual-citizenship. The handy perk also opened up doors for his basketball career.
While mapping out the path to follow his basketball dreams Wiltjer decided to represent Canada in the Nike Hoop Summit, and in future national events. The choice boiled down to two major factors. Which path will help him reach his Olympic dreams and which path will mean more to his family. USA Basketball or Canada Basketball?
“I chose to play with team Canada because of my dad,” said Wiltjer. “I have dreams of playing in the Olympics one day so I thought my best bet would be to play with team Canada and follow in the tradition.”
The path Wiltjer chose provides him with unique experiences. Members of the World Select Team encounter challenges and lessons only found on a blended-culture team.
“The first couple days was a little struggle. My roommate, he doesn’t speak any english really,” said Wiltjer. “But I mean there’s a couple guys that speak like three languages so we’re just helping each other out so it hasn’t been too tough.”
What has been tough, and rewarding, for Wiltjer is the intensity that the international players bring. Wiltjer said of the demonstrated work ethic, “Just practicing with these guys from overseas I think they work a lot harder than us over here.”
But don’t think that’s getting Wiltjer down. Actually it’s the opposite. He thrives on the challenge presented by the world’s best youth players and he’s thrilled to gain all he can from the high-level competition.
“It’s been a lot of fun. Just playing with the best players really pushes you everyday in practice. Whenever you’re around the best it just makes you want to work harder.”
The Hoop Summit experience is just the beginning for Wiltjer. His bright future includes a prestigious college basketball program as a stop on his path. “I’m looking forward to the next journey in my life and going to the University of Kentucky so hopefully I can continue and work on my game there.”
The goal at the end of the road is shared by many participants in the Nike Hoop Summit and Wiltjer is no exception.
“My dream is to play in the NBA,” he said.
With his high-arcing jumper and superb hook shot that dream isn't far off. Keep doing what you’re doing Kyle, we’ll be seeing you soon.