Athlete of the week: Sean Wallis

| Managing Editor

Sean Wallis, Student Life’s Male Athlete of the Week, scored a career-high 29 points against Brandeis University on Feb. 12. (Matt Mitgang | Student Life)

Sean Wallis graduated last May from the Olin Business School at Washington University with a BSBA in finance and accounting and will receive his master’s degree in finance at the end of this school year. After tearing his MCL and meniscus during the 2007-2008 season, Wallis received an extra year of eligibility and chose to play this year. The starting point guard has been on both national championship teams and is averaging 13.7 points and 7.3 assists per game this season. Wallis does not know whether he will work in the financial world or play basketball overseas next year. Wallis scored a career-high 29 points against Brandeis University on Feb. 12.

Student Life: Has your fifth year been different than the other four?
Sean Wallis: I feel obviously a year older. My teammates are pretty good at making jokes that I’m a year older than everyone else. But it’s been the same game with a lot of the same guys.

SL: Your points and assists per game are up. Have you noticed a change in your game this year?
SW: One of the things I’ve always taken pride in is doing what it takes for our team to win…I think this year I’ve had to take on a bigger scoring role. When I’m more of a distributor getting everyone involved, we’re a better team, and I think that’s started to happen in the past few weeks. I worked hard and tried to really work on my shot off the dribble coming into the season, and I think my shooting numbers are up across the board this year, which is something I’m proud of.

SL: Which is better, the bucket or the assist?
SW: I like getting the assist…I have an appreciation for point guards that make their teammates better. Sometimes that is by scoring and by taking advantage of what the teammates give you. But when you hit an open man in the corner for three or off a pick and roll with a nice bounce, I love seeing that, and I’m the first one to yell out “good pass” to my teammates when I see it.

SL: Is there an NBA or college player you admired growing up?
SW: I grew up in Chicago, so I grew up watching Michael Jordan, and everyone wants to be him. But that being said, a guy like Darren Williams—when I was in high school watching him he played for Illinois—he was someone I’d love to model the way I played around. He’s a little more physical. Someone unselfish, I kind of like that.

SL: How does the team keep the intensity up after winning two straight national championships and when you know every team will put forth its best effort against you?
SW: Winning those two championships is kind of a blessing and a curse. The fact that other teams are going to have their best games…It forces us to play at a hard level night in and night out…Hopefully we can play hard enough for that lucky bounce to go our way and put us in a good position [to win a national championship].

SL: What is your favorite thing to do off of the basketball court?
SW: I love going on vacation with my family. I’m really close with my sister and my parents and even my extended family. Spending time with them or getting to go on special trips is probably my favorite thing.