His childhood dream is coming true -- but not exactly the way Kevin Oberweiser thought it would.
The recent University of Jamestown grad and standout shooter for the Jimmies signed to continue his basketball career at the pro level in Limerick, Ireland. Oberweiser will be suiting up for the Limerick Celtics this September. His original childhood dream didn't include playing overseas, but when Oberweiser was introduced to the possibility, playing internationally became a viable option.
“Once I saw some people I know go overseas, it kind of got a little more realistic I guess,” Oberweiser said.
It's not the only step Oberweiser has taken for basketball.
In December of 2017 Oberweiser was looking to transfer from Montana State University-Northern and continue his basketball and academic careers at another school. UJ head men's basketball coach Danny Neville was the one who answered the recruiting email and gave Oberweiser a shot at being a Jimmie. After standout junior and senior seasons, Neville said answering the recruiting email was the best decision, basketball-wise, he has ever made.
"He always had it, but we let him play his game, so I think he just grew from that," Neville said. "When you have it and you show it on the floor and then you also are putting the time in in the gym and you live it and breathe it ... I just think he's a great kid."
Oberweiser, an NAIA third-team All-American for UJ, said the Irish and American styles of basketball are comparable in competitiveness and style. But there are specific elements he said he needs to work on going into a new country and a higher caliber of league. With the help of coaches and trainers, Oberweiser has been able to begin preparing physically and mentally for his debut on the Celtic’s floor.
“You can tell it is a physical league,” said Oberweiser, who's watched film on the Irish Division I teams. “I think one thing I’ll need to work on is just a little bit better pace off pick and rolls and stuff like that, because it seems like they do like to attack a lot in those situations”
As UJ's premier shooter last winter, Oberweiser put up an impressive average of 19.3 points per game his senior season. His 675 points were the second-most scored in a single season in UJ history. Oberweiser also sank 127 3-pointers for a single-season school record during the 2018-19 season. Neville said he thinks Oberweiser will bring a natural leadership and other qualities that will help out the Celtics who finished fourth in the conference last season.
"He just has some intangibles you can't teach," said Neville. "Just his leadership -- there's just something about him. He's so tough and then you add all those intangibles to how good he is, his skill level. He's a one in every 10-year kind of guy."
Even though the Celtics are a step in the right direction, and he said he's excited to begin playing at a professional level, Oberweiser has his eyes set on more competitive leagues before he retires the jersey for good.
"I would definitely like to climb the ladder a little bit. It will be a good start-off league but I would definitely like to keep climbing," Oberweiser said. "Hopefully, this will allow me to do that, kind of get my foot in the door and then hopefully bounce around a little bit for a couple of years.”
Neville said he isn't sure if a trip to Ireland to watch Oberweiser play is in the cards, but he is sure all the hard work Oberweiser has put in -- first as a Jimmie and now as a Celtic -- will build a future for him in the sport of basketball.
"He earned it big time," Neville said. "He put in so much time, just staying in the summer (and) building relationships. And, he's such a competitor, man. He's a once in a lifetime competitor."
His trip across the Atlantic isn’t until September, but Oberweiser said he’s ready to go. He's excited to sightsee and explore the country, but his main focus is on the game.
“I am just excited to play again. It feels like so long since we were in Sioux Falls playing last, so it’s been a while."
As much as Oberweiser is ready to play, Neville is ready to watch his shooter make his debut in Limerick. Support and encouragement are being sent from Harold Newman Arena to the Jimmies' former standout.
“I love him,” Neville said. “Kevin's my guy. I’ll miss him."