Weaver’s first action came against Ole Miss at UD Arena Dec. 19, when he played nine minutes. Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn, Flyer News.
Sports Staff Writer
It was only two hours prior to game time on Dec. 19 when Elijah Weaver was told he was cleared to play basketball as a Dayton Flyer. Since that game, Weaver has been a staple in the Dayton lineup and has broken into the starting rotation.
“It was weird. I went from 0 to 100, literally,” Weaver said. “I’ve never been through anything like that.”
Just months prior, Weaver wasn’t even enrolled at Dayton. Instead, he was searching for a landing spot after announcing that he was transferring from the University of Southern California.
Weaver said it was a clear decision to come to UD, though. He sat in the transfer portal for less than a month before making his decision. The coaching staff made it evident that the transfer guard would be valued at Dayton.
“The coaching staff, Coach Grant and Coach Greer, called like everyday,” Weaver said. “From a developmental standpoint, they’ve [shown] what they can do over the last few years with guys like Obi (Toppin), Trey Landers and (Ryan) Mikesell.”
Make no mistake, Elijah Weaver is a talent.
As a high school star in Florida, Weaver succeeded both individually and as a member of a team. The Florida High School Basketball Player of the Year led two separate teams to titles during his time in high school, and was named to Florida Today’s Space Coast All-Decade Team in the spring of 2020. His dexterity on the court made him a 4-star recruit, ranked 37th in the country by ESPN and 45th by 247Sport.
“I don’t wanna ignore those accomplishments because they’re something I’m proud of, but I don’t let it distract me,” Weaver said.
Pressure on star high school athletes is a real thing, but Weaver didn’t let it get to him.
“The people I had around me helped me stay grounded and stay focused and just continue to get better. Be a better basketball player but be a better person too. And just to not be satisfied.”
Weaver spent two years in Southern California as a Trojan, but made the venture to the Midwest to make an impact for Dayton. Not even the lovely Ohio weather is going to get in the way of his success, although it will take a little getting used to.
“I don’t know if you can ever get used to this snow though, it’s different for sure. I’ve never lived somewhere where it even snowed a little.”
Right away, Weaver has been asked to do a lot for the team. He has invited the challenge, and has made a difference for the Flyers in a short amount of time.
“To be honest I was kinda just ready for anything. Once I became eligible, it’s up to me to work. I’m ready if you need me, where you need me.”
Weaver’s mentality has allowed him to be a major asset to Coach Anthony Grant’s squad, especially with the short bench Grant is working with.
Like everything that happened over the past year, the transition for Weaver has been unorthodox in many ways. For one, he has yet to feel the full effect of the Dayton fan base since arriving on campus. That includes playing inside an empty UD Arena.
“It feels like we’re playing scrimmages right now. We just try to play our regular game, but it feels different for sure,” Weaver said.
There is no doubt that Dayton fans will give him a genuine welcome once they are able to, but for now that has to wait. While they wait, Weaver said he is going to try to show them what he can do on the court.
The versatile point guard has aspects to his game that you don’t see very often- he’s a left-handed, 6-foot-5 guard who can play on and off the ball. He is imposing for a backcourt player, and uses his size to his advantage. At the same time, his explosiveness and quickness are the attributes that set him apart.
“I try to get after it every single night,” Weaver said. “I want to show a little more bounce this year though, for sure.”
He has true point guard instincts, but he’s shown multiple dimensions to his game. He averaged 23 points, eight rebounds and 9 assists in his senior year of high school. Since coming to Dayton, Weaver has shown glimpses of what he can do in a small window of opportunity.
Weaver has proven in the past that he has what it takes to lead a team. He’s a winner, and you can’t ignore that. Elijah Weaver is a name that Dayton fans should try to get used to now, because the transfer guard is poised to make his presence known.
“I just saw my teammates rings from last year. That’s a huge motivator,” Weaver said. “As a team and as an individual, the main goal is to just win.”